Why listening to music can change your workday

Do you spend your day listening to dull, repetitive soundtracks like rainstorms or box fans in an attempt to give your concentration a boost? Well, we have some great news for you...tuning into some music can actually help increase your focus and productivity at work!

Listening to music doesn’t just have proven health benefits like reducing stress and anxiety, lowering pain levels, and even improving the health of premature infants in the NICU. One study found that turning on background music at the workplace can not only increase employee's productivity levels but even worker's overall satisfaction. 1

There is a catch, though - that same study found that when background music contains lyrics, it has significant negative effects on employee’s concentration, attention spans, and overall performance. So, if you’re going to put on some music while hammering out that latest status report, it may be a good idea to ensure it’s not going to distract you by sticking to instrumental tunes and leaving the lyrics at home.

If you’re not willing to let go of those vocals, though, there’s more good news...another study found that even when employees listen to a wide variety of musical genres and artists, they still experienced many positive benefits that don’t come about when music - instrumental or not - is played. Beyond an increase in positive moods, this study found an increase in worker’s levels of inspiration, concentration, positive distraction, stress relief, and even the management of their personal space. 2

No matter what you choose to listen to, listening to music while hard at work can give you a real leg up. So, from all of us at the karuna school of happiness, happy listening!

Happiness lives here. Welcome home.


1 Shih, Yi-Nuo, Huang, Rong-Hwa, and Chiang, Hsin-Yu. ‘Background Music: Effects on Attention Performance’. 1 Jan. 2012 : 573 – 578.

2 Haake, A. B. (2011). Individual music listening in workplace settings: An exploratory survey of offices in the UK. Musicae Scientiae, 15(1), 107–129. https://doi.org/10.1177/1029864911398065