HR Strange But True!
January 24, 2008

A music professor says that playing music at work could increase productivity and lead to a happier and more motivated workforce, but it's important to pick the right music and play it at the right volume.

Richard McGregor, professor of music at University of Cumbria in the United Kingdom, says that the right level of background music can make the day seem shorter, keep spirits high, and reduce the number of stressful situations that can occur. However, choosing the wrong type of music can cause office arguments and lead to problems.

"There's clear evidence that a happy workforce is a productive one and the easiest way of raising the spirits in the office is to put on the radio or a CD," says McGregor. "But the choice of music is vital and there is a risk that if it's the wrong choice, it could be a recipe for office disaster and upset most of the office."

He tells the Scotsman that songs that would be good choices for workplaces include We Can Work It Out by The Beatles, Car Wash by Rose Royce, and Friday I'm in Love by The Cure. He says bad choices for the workplace include 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton, Fight the Power by Public Enemy, and Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now by The Smiths, the newspaper reports.

McGregor says that office workers should work to their favorite tunes to prevent stress and tension.

"Most offices operate in near silence, with the only noise being the sound of keyboards tapping and phones ringing, but this in itself puts people on edge and can make them fearful of making any noise," says McGregor. "However, the right level of background music leads to an immediate change in atmosphere and encourages creativity and relaxation amongst everyone. And with the increasing popularity of MP3 players and personal music systems, there's no reason why people in the office can't pop their headphones in and listen to their own favorite music--as long as their singing doesn't disturb everyone else of course!"

Sources: University of Cumbria and the Scotsman

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