From furniture and décor to lighting and layout, the most culture-aware companies put a lot of thought into the makeup of their offices. Colors, materials, and configurations must all work together so that the spaces employees experience look and feel just right.
But what about the sounds employees experience? Could adding music to your office environment enhance company culture and yield productivity and efficiency benefits? Research says, yes.
A study by England-based market researcher Mindlab set a series of different tasks, such as spell-checking or solving equations, in front of 26 people for five days. One group of participants listened to no music while the other groups listened to one of four music genres. In the end, nine out of 10 workers performed better while listening to music.
But it turns out that efficiency and productivity are not the only areas that blossom with a soundtrack. “Bringing music into offices helps to open up numerous, previously untapped, channels of communication.” says Tessa Marchington, founder of Music in Offices, an organization that brings music into the workplace through office choirs, instrument lessons, and music-based workshops. By making music community-focused, rather than individual and headphone-delivered, you can break down boundaries, reveal shared interested and open paths for employees, both old and new, to develop new working relationships.
There are about as many ways to incorporate music into your space as there are genres to choose from. Here are a few to get you started.
1. Play it loud
Invest in a decent pair of speakers and a music player for the office. Load it up with playlists and let it (rock and) roll.
Of course, implementing this may not be so simple. The nature of your work may not allow for this sort of broadcasting all day long and varying music tastes may pose some challenges. But each of these can be overcome. Try setting specific music times of day, say earlier in the morning or during lunch when phone calls and meetings may be fewer. Create a process by which songs are chosen or nominate a company DJ to manage the playlists. Set up a suggestion box so that anyone, from the most senior person to the newest intern, can suggest additions and introduce everyone to something new.
2. Meet for music
If playing music office-wide won’t work for your work, set aside time for colleagues to gather and talk tunes. A regular lunch or late afternoon hour to gather over shared favorites and new bands can break down walls and enhance communication just as well while respecting everyone’s need for quiet.
3. Make a show of it
Do you work among more than a handful of folks who are talented musicians in their spare time? Bevi is definitely one of those lucky teams! Showcase that in the office with a band night or talent show. Not only will the event be a fun way to gather everyone together, those who get to show off their skills and passion will feel inspired. Don’t have enough musicians on staff to make a night of it? Seek out local musicians and book them for an in-office concert.
4. Learn together
Step away from the conferences and trainings and learn something together that has nothing to do with the job at hand—a new instrument.
Ready to have a little fun with workplace music? Check out this guide revealing what kind of music to listen to based on the work you’re doing. Or browse this list of Beatles songs for improving office culture (All you need is love, Help!, and Let it Be top the list, among others!).