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Boost productivity at the office by using music

jenniferbuchanan2Jennifer Buchanan is not only my professional colleague and friend, but also the only music therapist I know!  If you’re wondering what a “music therapist” is, then I’m so glad you asked!!  Music therapists use music to curb stress, boost morale, and restore health, and Jennifer is a recognized leading expert on bridging the gap between academic research in the area of music medicine and the public, speaking internationally to a wide variety of education, healthcare, government, and corporate audiences.  Because this is an area that not many people are knowledgeable about yet, I was delighted when Jennifer agreed to guest on the blog.  I asked her to share some insights that would be useful to leaders everywhere, and I was thrilled when she decided to write about how to use music to boost productivity.

5 Steps to Boosting Productivity at the Office using Music

Do you feel you need a boost at work? Music may be the solution.  The music industry has proof that you should listen to music while you work. In a survey commissioned by the UK licensing organizations PPL and PRS for Music, 77 percent of surveyed businesses say playing music in the workplace increases staff morale and improves the atmosphere.  The results were greater productivity.

So how do we make music at work?

There is no easy solution to developing a productive playlist for two or more people. Like all good work procedures and strategies, it takes time and it starts with being proactive instead of re-active. Take the time to identify the diverse needs and cultures of the group you belong to. Here are five suggested guidelines or steps for helping your organization use and select music at work:

  1. Discuss the BENEFITS of playing music in your environment. Have an open dialogue about the potential benefits of music.  Discuss the research and your particular desired outcomes.
  2. Organize a forum where everyone can discuss their list of PREFERENCES.
  3. CREATE a compilation of music, music that everyone is open to – this may take several days or weeks. Don’t rush. Try to enjoy the process as much as the desired product.
  4. SET guidelines around when the music will be played (it is best if it is only specific times of day). Suggestions are first thing in the morning, lunch, end of day or only Fridays or special occasions.
  5. Use music to CONNECT with your teammates. A favourite activity is to organize one lunch a week that includes one team member’s ‘Best Top 5’ that boosts their mood.  Their music is the only music to play over that lunch.  It will be discussed and connected to.  A great way to deepen relationships quickly at work.

Remember the benefits of playing music at work are numerous but will be different for everyone. For the employer, it may be boosting efficiency, expediting projects, and working with greater enthusiasm. For the staff member, it may be sparking creativity or help for working through a barrier in a project. Keep in mind that not everyone feels more productive, creative, or inspired when listening to the music that make. They may feel distracted, stalled, or annoyed. This is the primary reason why it is important to start with an honest discussion that includes all team members and a keen facilitator.

Please share your thoughts

Well, I’m dying to hear what you think?  This is not a topic that’s ever been covered in the blog before, so I’d love to know your reactions.  Agree?  Disagree?  What have been your experiences?  Please share.

Jennifer Buchanan MBA, MTA is Past President of the Canadian Association for Music Therapists, Speaker, and Author of the highly acclaimed book Tune In: use music intentionally to curb stress, boost morale, and restore health.  Reach her at

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