by Alex Palmer | July 05, 2012
Managers looking to boost employee productivity might consider investing in a few pairs of headphones. A new study from the research initiative MusicWorks has found that listening to music in the workplace can boost employee productivity and workplace satisfaction across a range of industries.

MusicWorks, a collaboration between UK music licensing groups PPL and PRS for Music, reached out to more than 1,000 small- and medium-business owners and learned that than three-quarters (77 percent) have found that music increases staff morale. 

Additionally 65 percent of business owners have found music makes their employees more productive, with 40 percent believing that playing music actually increases sales.

“If you pick the right music it can make your working environment so much better,” says Barney Hooper, of PRS for Music. “I can’t imagine a day without listening to the music and work would be a drag without the radio on in the background.”

The research, released on June 19, found that in certain industries, employees were even more highly impacted by music. For example, 81 percent of retailers believed music boosted staff morale, while 84 percent of owners in the hospitality business said the same. Without music, 25 percent of retailers and 33 percent of hospitality companies would actually lose business, according to these respondents.

“Music provides an effective and adaptable tool for bringing a sense of pleasure and relaxation to the work environment,” music psychologist Vicky Williamson said, in a statement.

Taking these findings into account, personal audio merchandise used as incentive rewards, including headphones, iPods, and iTunes gift cards, may offer more than just leisure-time benefits to recipients. In fact, this new research underscores the business benefits and long-term workplace satisfaction music-oriented rewards can provide.

But Hooper emphasizes that choosing the right kind of music is key. While individuals should have the freedom to listen to the music they would like to hear, it must be enjoyed by everyone.

“Heavy rock would not work in the legal department for example,” he said. “Some businesses we spoke with allow their teams to choose the music and have different genres on different days or to create their own playlists to ensure they get the right music that works for them.”