Your co-worker in the next cubicle is on a conference call. Another two are cursing the printer as they clear out a paper jam. A project briefing is happening in the area next to you. And you’re stressing trying to finish a project by noon. Time to unplug? Or better yet, plug in? Your headphones may present the escape you desperately need to either regain focus or drown out a too noisy or too quiet work environment.
A recent study conducted by Dr. Teresa Lesiuk, University of Miami, found that music can improve work performance by placing a person in a positive mood as melodious sounds encourage the release of dopamine. Other studies have found that listening to background music can help improve one’s efficiency of performing repetitive tasks.
Walk around Martino Flynn and you often will see employees with headphones in or hear music playing from offices. As a creative agency, I wanted to dive into the reasons behind music and tap into my fellow employees’ playlists.
Meet Martino Flynn’s Digital team.
Why do you listen to music at work?
FP: Music helps me focus. Music can help drown out distractions when I need to stay on task. It can add some energy when I need to power through a volume of tasks. Music also helps elevate my mood if it’s raining outside or if it’s been a challenging day.
LM: I listen to music at work because it motivates me—especially fast, upbeat music—and keeps me focused. The office can be noisy and with so many distractions, music helps me “tune into” what I’m doing. On the other hand, sometimes the office is too quiet, so I use it as background noise.
MD: My main reason for listening to music at work is to fill the quiet. I get fixated when mouse clicks and keystrokes are the only aural stimulation. To me, designing without a buzzing work space or some type of soundtrack feels unnatural. I need an energy and rhythm to ‘lean against’. I find it productive to have creativity (music) feeding creativity (design).
What types of music inspire Ideas That Do More?
FP: I like high-energy rock. I also like funk, music with a good groove, and vocal rock with good hooks and harmonies—music influenced by the Beatles and the Beach Boys. I’m a guitar player, so I’m partial to guitar-oriented music.
LM: If I have to pick, I would say country, since that’s pretty much all I listen to!
MD: I use music as a tool. It’s a mood-based decision when selecting tunes that will engage or produce desired outcomes. Sometimes, as a drummer, I’m listening to certain music to be inspired by the mastery of the band. Other times, I choose songs for the storytelling or lyrical characteristics. Many times (more often than I want to admit), I select music for nostalgia, bringing me back to eras, styles, and memories of my past. Usually when designing at the office, my selections may be based on the desire to set a mood or just have a certain visceral feel that helps percolate creativity—that typically means tracks that are modern retro; synth pop that has a West Coast or floaty, lush vibe.
What’s on repeat with your work playlist?