Music in the Workplace: Is it a benefit or a distraction?

U2’s “A Beautiful Day” has been chosen as the most popular song to help Ireland’s workforce get ready for work with one in three (33%) selecting the 2000 hit as their go-to song as they set themselves up for a day at work.

Ed Sheeran has been voted the most acceptable artist to play in the workplace (51%), beating Coldplay (42%) and U2 (26%) to the top spot according to new research released by LinkedIn.

Productivity_InfographicBenefits of Workplace Music

The study shows many workers think listening to music at work helps make them be better at their jobs. Almost three-quarters of workers (78%) think music makes them more productive, while more than half (56%) of professionals who listen to music at work argue it keeps them motivated, helps them to keep calm (42%) and helps them be more creative (31%).

Advantages of Workplace Music have been listed as:

  1. Music improves mood and productivity
  2. Music helps you regain concentration at work
  3. Improves morale and work environment
  4. It helps you work faster and more efficient
  5. Help you create your own ‘work space’
  6. Music without lyrics works best
  7. Music influences your behaviour (really!)
  8. Has a significant effect on culture

Annoying Notes

The study also found that music tastes can be divisive and potentially harmful. While a third (34%) try to be considerate in their music selection, 7% are reluctant to ask their fellow colleagues to turn their music off or down – even if it’s bothering them.

Most likely to turn a workplace into a nightclub nightmare is Eminem, who was voted the least acceptable artist to have on at work (35%).

Pop music is employees’ workplace most popular, with more than half of workers (57%) selecting it as their genre of choice, but there are some surprising tastes across different industries in Ireland.

LinkedIn data identified most popular types for different industries:

right-task-v2Classical music as the most popular choice for those working in education (49%)

Electronic/dance is the most popular choice for marketing professionals (42%)

Those on the frontline of consumer demand working in retail are most likely to select Pop (66%) for their playlists.

To bring harmony to the workplace, LinkedIn offers following advice:

Consider music as part of your professional brand:

  • Just as music plays a role in forming people’s social identity, it contributes yourself professionally and make sure your music tastes, and attitudes towards others, reflects it

Check your workplace’s music policy:

  • While headphones are generally favoured, some workplaces ban them as it’s considered anti-social

Learn what helps you focus:

  • Listening to songs with lyrics while writing can be distracting but instrumental music can help you to mask a noisy environment and improve focus and concentration.

When working on something complicated, look for music to keep you calm.

While working on repetitive tasks, stimulating music could motivate you to finish it faster

Be considerate of your colleagues:


  • Music in the workplace is divisive: some love it, some hate it. Be mindful that everyone has different opinions on songs, genres and artists and some prefer silence.

Visit this infographic to find what’s best for your work listening.

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