Listening to music key to productivity?

The ability to get employees to 'into the zone' while working is something that many employers strive to do. Whether through desk arrangement or incentives, every business has a different approach.

However, according to a recently released study from the Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management, listening to certain kinds of music could help employees work more efficiently.

The study involved a number of participants listening to different songs and rating them on a seven-point scale to determine how dominant, determined and powerful it made them feel while working on a task. 

One song that featured at the top of the ranking was Queen's "We Will Rock You" as well as number that featured a bass-heavy background. Many of the other songs came from sports or hip-hop backgrounds.

According to the study's researchers, people should listen to empowering songs before important events such as meetings or business negotiations where they would want to feel confident and self-assured.

"Just as professional athletes might put on empowering music before they take the field to get them in a powerful state of mind … you might try [this] in certain situations where you want to be empowered," said Derek Rucker, a professor of marketing at the Kellogg School of Management.

Once researchers had established what songs were high or low power, a new set of participants put the theory to the test. In one experiment, they were shown a word fragment such as P_ _ E R, while listening to music. 

People listening to high power songs were more likely to fill in the word as 'Power', while those hearing low power songs ended up with unrelated words such as 'Paper'. 

"Because participants were instructed to complete fragments with the first word that came to mind, the study suggests that the empowering effects of music may be somewhat unconscious and automatic," researchers said.

Business owners looking to increase their overall productivity could invest in software designed to streamline services and make employees focussed on tasks for longer.

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