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Do you encourage employees to listen to music while working?

Most people would assume that working in pin-drop silence is the best for productivity, but new research from Accountemps shows otherwise.

According to the survey, 71% of staff who are allowed to listen to music at work reported being at least somewhat more productive when music is playing at the office.

Gathering responses from more than 1,000 U.S. workers 18 years of age or older and employed in office environments, the survey found only 9% said employers disallowed music at work while 44% were allowed to listen to music without restrictions. The remaining 38% were allowed to listen with some restrictions - for example, wearing headphones.

Among those allowed to listen to music, 85% said they enjoy turning on the tunes at work. By age group, those between 18 to 34 appreciate music while working the most (95%), compared to those ages 35-54 (84%), and 55 and older (66%).

In terms of productivity, 71% of professionals said they are at least somewhat more productive when music is playing at the office, with pop, rock and country songs providing the biggest boost.

On the flip side, only 6% said they were somewhat less productive and 1% said they weren't productive at all. While the remaining 22% felt music had no impact on their productivity.

Michael Steinitz, executive director of Accountemps, said: "While music can be a stress reliever or source of motivation for many workers, it can be a distraction for others. Those who want to listen to music in the office need to be aware of company policies and considerate toward their colleagues."

In line with the survey findings, Accountemps shared some dos and don'ts HR can consider implementing when allowing staff to listen to music at work.


  • When listening to any type of audio at work, be respectful of your colleagues, who may not share the same tastes as you.
  • Keep the volume low enough to hear your phone ring or someone calling your name.
  • Use headphones if you work in a shared office space to avoid disrupting coworkers. When someone approaches you, be quick to respond to them.


  • Sing or hum along to your favorite tunes. Tapping your hands or feet will likely annoy colleagues, too.
  • Have music blaring when communicating with coworkers. They deserve your full attention.
  • Abuse the privilege. Consider listening to music when the office isn't busy or you're doing solo work.

Infographic / Accountemps Photo / 123RF

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