Think HBR

Hit Play or Mute: Music in the Workplace

Paul Siderovski
SiDCOR Chartered Accountants
I happened across this great article by serial entrepreneur Tom Popomaronis. I have always been in two minds when it comes to staff listening to music at work. And now I know why!! There are many pros and cons and it simply comes down to when and where.
Hit MUTE when it comes to learning new things at work; in this instance it’s best to turn off the music. If the music has lyrics it will impact the ability to take in what you are reading. Also music that you have never heard before will always garner much more interest than the task at hand, compromising your work focus.
However, hitting the PLAY button at work is not necessarily a bad thing. If you work in a noisy environment listening to music actually can help staff block out other excessive noise, reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed and actually help keep them calm. It
also has its advantages for those working on repetitive tasks or in repetitive jobs. As music triggers feel-good neuro-transmitters such as dopamine, staff not only feel relaxed and happy but are able to focus better and increase productivity. Popomaronis uses the example of surgeons who routinely listen to music in the operating room specifically because it relieves any stress that could compromise their focus and performance.
Music has the power to change the way you feel, make a bad day better and break up the boredom from tasks that have become too familiar. Just remember to listen to songs that you already know and switch the tunes to mute if you have something important to take in. Oh – and make sure you use headphones! Happy listening!
For further information contact SiDCOR on 1300 743 267, email or visit
Paul Siderovski2 Paul Siderovski

The founder and Managing Director of SiDCOR Chartered Accountants, has 21 years experience since starting as a chartered accountant with PricewaterhouseCoopers in 1995. Paul started Newcastle-based SiDCOR in 2002. Paul has a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Newcastle and is a Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Taxation Institute of Australia as well as the National Tax and Accountants Association.