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11 Oct 2016 16:06 UTCTue 11 Oct 2016 - 4:06 pm UTC
I have many employees who listen to various things during the day. They are knowledge workers (IT Support Specialists) so they are not pressing a red button on a machine, they need to act with thought in all things they do.
I'm wondering about the productivity impact of -
1) Them listening to music while they work
2) Them listening to talk radio or podcasts while they work
3) Them listening to a video/potentially having it in a window on another screen while they work
Are they damaging their productivity by doing any of those things, and if so, how?
I also think that the work type is key, I imagine the distraction impact could be different from somebody doing something rote vs doing something that requires thought each time.
12 Oct 2016 01:37 UTCWed 12 Oct 2016 - 1:37 am UTC
From a first look, it seems like there isn't a readily generalizable answer to your question. Whether listening to music hurts or helps seems to depend on the listener, the ambient environment, the task at hand, the type of music, and perhaps some other things.
Here's a pretty good overview of some of the thinking on this topic:
How Music Affects Your Productivity
It seems quite possible that a listener could relegate some types of music to the background as they work on their task. It's harder to see that happening with talk radio. However, even there, for a certain type of worker that needs to divert themselves every few minutes in order to let a problem stew in the background a bit, having talk radio or a video to turn to might be just the ticket.
Let us know if this sort of article is helpful to you, and we'll see what more we can find.
12 Oct 2016 17:10 UTCWed 12 Oct 2016 - 5:10 pm UTC
While not definitive in their conclusions, the following articles might be helpful.
The effect of music listening on work performance
Radio in the workplace: a liminal medium between work and leisure
Effects of background music on concentration of workers
Background music: effects on attention performance
The Effect of Background Music, Speech and Silence on Office Workers' Selective Attention
The Effect of Radios on Workplace Productivity
Open-plan offices affect employees' ability to concentrate, new study finds
Workers who spend a lot of time on tasks requiring focus find them difficult to complete when too close to colleagues
12 Oct 2016 21:16 UTCWed 12 Oct 2016 - 9:16 pm UTC
David, thats basically perfect!
12 Oct 2016 21:17 UTCWed 12 Oct 2016 - 9:17 pm UTC
Just about the only thing not addressed is lyrics in music vs. talking in a podcast or radio show...any information on if podcast/radio is more distracting than lyrics in music?
Then we could basically call it closed with all the links in that first article.
13 Oct 2016 00:19 UTCThu 13 Oct 2016 - 12:19 am UTC
As always, thanks for accepting our information. Here's a bit more.
Are there studies on employees’ concentration and productivity levels with regard to listening to talk radio stations or music while working?
is by a knowledgeable author who is unaware of any studies about the impact of listening to talk radio while at work (it's a few years old, but I haven't seen any recent mentions either).
This article states that background noise -- whether music or chatter -- can be conducive to work, though volume is an important factor:
Having music on at work actually makes people MORE productive - background noise stimulates the mind -- Library-like silence is 'not good' for creativity
Lastly, the positivity or negativity of news or talk affects worker mood and can influence productivity:
Consuming Negative News Can Make You Less Effective at Work
though this report doesn't distinguish news heard at work from news heard beforehand.
Hope these help. Let me know if you need anything more.
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