Music has the ability to fill up empty spaces, building up environments in a second. Music has the power to set the tone of your mood; it can help you relax, make you want to dance, cry, or both at the same time. But in a year in which we have spent more time in front of our screens, music became the perfect distraction from our everyday tasks. But, can music make you more productive while working from home?
For years, scientists have been interested in the effect music has on the human brain and insist on the idea that listening to music can improve your productivity and cognitive function. Several studies that analyze to what extent music helps increase productivity at work and cognitive performance have been published.
The Benefits of Music While Working From Home
1. Raise Your Level of Positive Emotions
Music can stimulate multiple areas of your brain, so positive emotions arise when listening to it. You might find yourself laughing while listening to a cheerful song or dancing along to the beat of a moving rhythm. Listening to music increases dopamine, a chemical that is released from your brain when you feel happy. As a result, it can help improve your focus. Dopamine decreases pain, reduces stress, and improves immune function. But do different genres of music affect productivity at home differently?
2. Increases Productivity
Several investigations suggest that all the elements that make up a song can enhance or decrease your productivity and effectiveness at work. Therefore, they believe music should be free of lyrics to promote a high output when working from home. In contrast, others consider that whether music aids in concentrating depends on how much the person likes or dislikes the song in particular.
Hence, research on music’s effects on productivity is inconclusive. However, based on these studies, music might prove to have a positive effect on your work, therefore your productivity at home.
3. It Makes Remote Work Better
When working remotely, small details that used to trouble you at the office, such as lousy coworkers’ sound, disappear. Picture it this way; you are at home, you need to work and lack concentration, so you decide to play some music; this used to be a problem as your colleagues were constantly chatting and your boss didn’t allow headphones at the office because he thought they were a cause of distraction. But this isn’t a problem anymore!
4. Improves Performance
Do you remember the “Mozart Effect”? According to a 1993 study, scientists suggested that listening to Mozart’s Sonata for 10 minutes before taking the “spatial-temporal reasoning” (section of an IQ test that involves visualizing and manipulating images in your brain) could improve your performance. This study was rapidly spread worldwide and originated a whole industry of baby products that promised to turn children into geniuses by exposing them to Mozart’s music.
But it turns out that the Mozart Effect was fake. A 1999 paper in Nature demonstrated that cognitive tasks’ perceived improvement came from the improved mood when listening to Wolfgang Amadeus. Therefore, Mozart makes people happier, and being happy improves their performance.
Another analysis that same year, with the title “Mozart Effect – Shmozart Effect,” proved that the cognitive improvement after listening to classical music was small to non-existent. However, some experts still argue that music can offer other benefits to our brain, especially concentration, and increase our work rate.
5. Expands Creativity
Creativity is not reserved for artists and geniuses alone, and these days, creative thinking is needed in every area. One of the keys to success when working remotely is to learn how to surpass moments of demotivation, and music has proven to be one of the greatest solutions.
Since music improves cognition and enhances memory and learning, it would make sense to realize it impacts creative thinking. Mind-Wandering is activated by music and helps the imagination to start working. When we let our mind think freely about nothing specific, all creativity sensors turn on; that’s what happens when we play some music and stop steering, allowing thoughts to flow without conscious control. Therefore, listening to music when working from home may promote creative thinking in efficient and productive ways.
What Type of Music Works Best While Working from Home
There are a dozen answers to this question. Some prefer jazz music, others classical, some swear by electronic music, and some choose to be in complete silence. With the fact that there’s no actual scientific consensus in mind, it’s worth looking at the types of music that proved helpful to improve concentration.
Classical music emphasizes elegance and balance, with short melodies and contrasting moods with question-and-answer phrases. In a study, seven out of eight radiologists found that baroque music increased mood and concentration on their work. Therefore, despite the Mozart Effect’s dismissal, some still suggest that Classical Music can help people learn and focus. Composers such as Bach, Vivaldi, and Handel can be the best ones to introduce you to the classical music world.
If you have been under several periods of stress, this type of music is like medicine you take through your ears. Ambient Music is believed to accommodate people’s levels of listening attention without enforcing any sound in particular. As Brian Eno, creator of Music for Airports, says:
“It must be as ignorable as it is interesting”.Brian Eno
This tone-based music style enforces ambient sounds to create its melody, utilizing the buzz of TV or the hum of an air conditioner. This form of instrumental music may lack in beat, structure, or net composition. Brian Eno, Aphex Twin, or William Basinsky are some artists to listen to if you are interested in this type of music.
Also, Ambient Music has been proven to help people with ADHD ignore noisy environments and be able to perform tasks with more efficiency, productivity and focus.
These sounds have the power to enhance cognitive function and concentration. The sound of the wind, rustling leaves, flowing water, or rainfall can affect heart rate and alter brain connections. So, although we already knew that spending time in nature was good for our physical health, it turns out that listening to it, even if you are trapped at home while working, can set your mood and provide deep focus. People like to create different weather atmospheres and tend to prefer thunder, rainfall, or wind sounds.
But if you are just getting to know this world, you can also search in Spotify for your perfect Nature Sounds playlist, as they have around one million listeners in each of them.
Get Inspired with Music While Working From Home
One of the perks of working from home is listening to the music you like without having office interruptions. You can experiment and discover which type of music helps you be your most productive version. It may be a calm and soft melody to focus on. Or a loud, energetic piece might help you boost your energy levels. So many options that only you can know!