Why Music and Productivity (Should) Go Hand in Hand…

Take a walk through FleishmanHillard’s Bryanston offices and you’ll find headphones and plenty of them – generally attached in one way or another to people’s ears. This does not signify, as one might assume, that somebody up top keeps hiring antisocial hermits but is actually, according to a recent study, a sure sign of employees who are dedicated to keeping productivity levels high in the workplace.

This particular study spoke to 1 000 small and medium sized business owners and found that music boosted staff moral with some companies stating that, without music, they would actually lose business. This is not to say all businesses should play music (say some random full-of-itself radio station) through speaker systems to all staff. People are different and don’t all enjoy the same type of music. But it would serve businesses well to at least allow staffers access to headphones, iPods and the like because music makes people happy and happy staffers are productive staffers.

Another study speaks to music allowing staff to escape the annoyance factor in open plan office environments. We all have (or have had) at least one person sitting near us who doesn’t have an “inside” voice and is not adverse to sharing the full details of every phone conversation they’ve ever had at any given point of the day (“I tell you, Myrna, I saw the face of Jesus in that clot”). Then there are colleagues who want to talk to you about everything. And don’t get me started on the pen clickers, the les miserables and the “I know you’ve seen 75 000 already but look at this photo of my baby! Look at it!!!!” parentals.

In an industry like PR where writing and conceptualising and thinking are important to being successful, plugging in the ol’ headphones are an amazing mechanism for bringing focus back into your game (although I once had a colleague who threw an eraser at me once in an effort to get me to remove my headphones and listen to her yammer on about some or other domestic issue – that only happened once).

In days of yore, the technology portfolio was a particularly active fighter for the right(er) to party and enthusiastically pursued what we dubbed FH 80s Fridays (and a Twitter hash tag that sadly never gained fame). After a long week, we found Fridays to be the most difficult days to raise the enthusiasm needed to produce awesome stuff for our clients and I’m sure we’re not special there. Everyone struggles. And not always only on Fridays.

But music always lifted our spirits and spurred our heels into doing something, anything, important to round the week off properly.

Need help kicking off, try these mood uplifters next time you’re feeling flat (and feel free to send suggestions to @gooeylishus).

  1. Deniece Williams – Let’s Hear it for the boy
  2. Kanye (with Jamie Foxx) – Golddigger
  3. Brickz – Sweety my Baby
  4. Panic! At the Disco – The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide Is Press Coverage or I write Sins not Tragedies
  5. RHCP – Hump de bump
  6. Fall out Boy – Thnks fr th mmrs
  7. Madonna – Music
  8. Daft Punk – Around the World
  9. Fuzigish – Monique
  10. Mapaputsi – Izinja
  11. System of a Down – Chop Suey
  12. Timbaland – The Way I Are
  13. Southern Culture on the Skids – Camel Walk
  14. Coolio – 1, 2, 3, 4
  15. Eddie Grant – Romancing the Stone


Written by Andrea Slater