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Music found to boost office performance

Having someone else's music piped into your office space might be about as welcome as a U2 album automatically downloaded to your music collection.

But recent research suggests that most workers do perform better when listening to music, and certain genres of music are particularly well suited to certain tasks and activities.

Almost nine out of ten respondents scored their most accurate test results, and more than eight of ten completed their fastest work, when they were listening to music, according to research from Mindlab International.

Dr David Lewis of Mindlab concluded that music was 'a very powerful management tool if you want to increase not only the efficiency of your workforce but also their mental state, their emotional state'.

DJ Efficiency

Classical music was most beneficial for people dealing with mathematical problems, which was improved by 12 per cent accuracy against listening to no music at all.

Data entry tasks were completed faster by 58 per cent of respondents when listening to pop music. Pop generally sped workers up and reduced mistakes by 14 per cent.

Dance music produced similar results, making proofreading a fifth faster and spell-checking three-quarters more accurate.

Ambient music was particularly useful for people solving equations, helping them to achieve the most accurate results.

'Music is an incredibly powerful management tool in increasing the efficiency of the workforce,' Dr Lewis said.

'It can exert a highly beneficial influence over employee morale and motivation, helping enhance output and even boosting a company's bottom line.'

Acas publications and services

Acas can help you improve Employee engagement  in your organisation. The pdf icon Advisory booklet - The People Factor [937kb] sets out what it takes to create good employment relations, explaining what motivates workers and makes workplace interaction positive and productive.

Practical training is available on related areas, including tackling 'Toxic workplace cultures' and finding 'The route to successful employee engagement', listed under Staff retention.

For free, impartial advice and guidance visit Acas Helpline Online.

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