The sweet sound of business success

A survey suggests playing music at work can boost morale. But it may come at a price...

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Playing good music in your office might be the best way to improve team morale, according to a new study by a campaign group called MusicWorks. It found that 82% of us think music improves office morale, 77% think it makes them more productive, and one in three thinks it makes them less likely to take time off sick. Sounds like a winner as far as your bottom line is concerned - except that you will have to pay for the privilege...

MusicWorks' study, which is based on a survey of 2,000 people, is apparently part of a campaign to inform businesses about the benefits of music in all sorts of different environments, including workplaces. And the results do seem to be pretty marked. Take retail, for instance: apparently 90% of shoppers prefer shops with music, and nearly a quarter claim that they'd be prepared to pay an extra 5% more for goods while music is being played. That's a pretty clear commercial imperative - although we can't help feeling that these people might be a bit too easily influenced for their own good...

Of course there are some environments where you'd expect music to be a significant factor - restaurants, for example, to create the right sort of ambience, and doctors' waiting rooms, to try and relax panicking patients (both of which did indeed score highly on the survey). But it may surprise some to learn that staff are almost as positive about listening to music at work - indeed, three-quarters say they enjoy work more with good music in the background.

According to MusicWorks, the conclusion is obvious: staff morale is indubitably key to an organisation's success, and this survey shows that music is a 'different, cost effective way to boost staff morale in the workplace'.

But before you start reaching for the iPod and blasting out some tunes, it's worth remembering a couple of things. One, it may be hard to find music that's to everyone's taste - and having bad music in the background might do productivity more harm than good. There's nothing like a bit of soft rock to put some people off their spreadsheets. After all, one man’s Meatloaf is another man’s Poison.

The other issue is that it costs money. On closer inspection, it turns out that MusicWorks is the brainchild of PRS for Music and PPL, from whom you have to obtain a licence before you start playing music in your office. Of course you might well agree that it's only fair for artists to benefit, but it does mean that your business may need to do a cost-benefit analysis before you switch on that radio.

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The sweet sound of business success

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