Some places of employment seem to believe that to get the most work out of their employees, they need to eradicate every possible distraction. That also means eradicating every possible source of pleasure and enjoyment while on the job: no phones, no chatting, no music, no nothing. While it’s true that employees will then have not much else to do besides their work, it is terrible for morale. It turns out it’s also really bad for productivity.
Anyone who has ever argued with their boss about being allowed to wear headphones and jam out as they type is about type or stock shelves is about to be vindicated. Bustle reports that the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston has just released a study suggesting that music improved the work of plastic surgeons, who were invited to come operate on pig’s feet. Wait, stay with me, this is about to make sense. According to the Aesthetic Surgery Journal, the surgeons performed on two consecutive days, once without music playing as they worked, once with.
The researchers found that the average completion time of a pig foot repair (ew, why!) was 7 percent shorter when they were playing their favorite jams. More experienced surgeons decreased their work flow time as much as 10 percent. The quality of their stitches also improved. The potential gain here is less expensive surgeries, because they’re shorter overall, and happier patients who don’t have to be under anesthesia as long. Hell yeah.
Not all of us are rolling in pig feet; luckily, science has been exploring the importance of music as motivation for some time, and this is only the most recent study proving a correlation between productivity and sweet jams.
In 2014, Mindlab International conducted a study that asked 26 participants to complete tasks involving spelling, math, word problems, data entry, and abstract reasoning. When music was playing, 88 percent of them worked more accurately and 81 percent worked fastest when grooving. And Bustle says that the type of music they listened to benefited different tasks:
Classical music was good for the workers who had to focus on detail, pop music was good for boring work on a deadline, subtle ambient music was good for workers who had to solve equations, and dance music was good for checking work and problem solving more quickly.
That’s pretty much what you would guess, isn’t it? It’s almost like what we knew all along is true—listening to music at work is better than sitting in silence. Now, please let me put my headphones back in, boss.