Coworking spaces are designed to provide entrepreneurs and freelancers an environment that is calmer than a coffee shop, yet more collaborative than home. Isolation hinders creativity and dead silence just gets eerie after a while. So, in order to promote a sociable working environment, many coworking companies play music.
How do you feel about places that play music? Does music help you focus, or does it just distract you?
The Power of Music
According to NYTimes, people who listen to music while working are able to complete their tasks more quickly and come up with better ideas. Apparently, “melodious sounds” help the brain release dopamine to the reward area of our brains. Music improves peoples moods and brings them back to the present moment.
Personally, I enjoy listening to music while I work. Part of the reason is that I have what I call “monkey mind,” which means my thoughts are going 100mph all the time. So having music helps me block out those thoughts and focus on the task at hand. I’ve also found that music can block out other distracting noises like traffic, construction, or a loud coworker. Do you think music helps you focus?
The Power of Silence
On the other hand, some people find that music itself is a huge distraction. Christopher Edgar, author of Inner Productivity, claims that silence is a crucial component of completing work efficiently and enjoyably. Once we get comfortable with silence, we can concentrate on our tasks for longer.
Sometimes, depending on my mood, music just seems like another chaotic noise that I have to block out in order to get my work done. Perhaps a good dose of silence every now and then is a good idea. Do you find music just an irritating distraction? Do you think it would help if your company scheduled time blocks for complete silence?
What do you do when you hate the background music where you work? Do you put on headphones? Do you move to a quieter area? Do you scream and put up a fuss until someone changes the station?
I often put on headphones to block out noise. However, this also blocks out potential social interaction. When I have headphones on, I’m much less approachable and I also miss out on overhearing great conversations from my coworkers; they might even say something that could spark a blog post idea. But if I’m shutting out the world around me with headphones, I’m missing a lot of opportunities. How do you feel about headphones? Are they appropriate for the office, or do you consider people who use them rude?
And what is an appropriate volume for music? At so many restaurants these days, the music is so loud that you can barely talk to each other. According to Bon Appetit, loud music is not only perceived as lively and fun, but it also stimulates people to eat faster. Do you think the same is true in coworking? Will louder music make us work faster, or will it just cause a splitting headache?
What’s great about coworking is that coworkers have a lot of input about our space. If we don’t like the background music, we can discuss with our fellow coworkers and find a solution that everyone will enjoy.
So how do you feel about music at work? Do you have any music stories to share? If so, be sure to comment below!