How music can boost your at-home productivity

We recently explored the effects of music on workplace productivity, weighing up the age-old office dispute (‘music on or music off?’) and discovered that more music can actually mean fewer distractions.


So what about when you’re working from the solitude of your own home? Does music still have the same impact on your productivity?

To understand the true effect of music on stay-at-home productivity, especially for recruiters working from home, we’ve rounded up the key considerations you need to take into account before pressing play.

Background Music Can Improve Enjoyment

There’s no doubt music can have a positive effect on tasks we simply don’t love doing, whether it’s cleaning the house or working through repetitive tasks at our desks, music seems to make it just that little bit more bearable.

But how effective music is for productivity is dependent on how immersive the task at hand is — or rather, how much a task demands of you creatively.

The Science Behind Background Music

A research study conducted by Applied Ergonomics suggests if the work you’re completing is distinguished by smaller, repetitive, and simple tasks, music can be beneficial in improving output.

The study reported that when observing the effects of background music, it was said ‘music is effective in raising efficiency in this type of work even in competition with unfavourable conditions produced by machine noise.’ The report continued to explain the results showed ‘strong support to the contention that economic benefits can accrue from the use of music.’

In an exploration of the effects of tiring and repetitive tasks on the brain, QZ concluded that ‘when you listen to music you enjoy, the brain releases the neurotransmitter dopamine, which makes you feel good, and reduces stress and anxiety.’

The value of this is crucial, particularly when you consider the increased chance of loneliness and added pressures (such as difficulties with work-life balance) created by a significant percentage of the population currently calling their homes the office.

Ultimately, if we’re happier, remaining motivated while we get through repetitive tasks – and any added pressures – is naturally easier.

More Music, Fewer Distractions

While it’s true the office has its own array of distractions, for many of us, working from home means a brand-new set of challenges. Whether that’s working around your family, housemates, pets or even the fridge – cultivating a productive space at home can be a problem.

A study conducted by Dr. Teresa Leisiuk – a professor in Music Therapy and Systematic Musicology – found that ‘narrative responses revealed the value of music listening for positive mood change and enhanced perception on design while working,’ with the study showing that music allowed the subjects to complete the tasks more quickly and more creatively, with an improved mood.

Mood, again, is a key contributor, meaning that music can allow those with more introverted personality types, or those who prefer working without distractions, to work at their best regardless of the environment.

Different Music, Different Effects

Not at music is made equal and not all tracks have the effect we want them to and that’s because music encompasses a range of different beats, genres, and tempos.

So if you’re using music to boost productivity, choosing the right tracks is crucial.

The Value of Ambience

Studies conducted b the Journal of Consumer Research and Acoustical Society of America found the ambience to be correlated to our reception of certain sounds. The first found that volume plays a vital part in productivity, with moderate noise levels getting us in the zone and too much noise contributing to a lack of focus.

The second, however, cited the value of ‘natural’ sounds in meeting the standards and criteria for speech privacy – revealing these sounds enhanced cognitive function, optimised the ability to concentrate, and increased overall worker satisfaction.

The Impact of Lyrics on Productivity

What’s interesting is that, unlike acoustic sounds, songs with lyrics vary in their impact on productivity. For example, music with lyrics can have significant benefits for completing physical tasks but the opposite is true for intensive, thought-driven tasks.


A study by professors at the University of Turku found concluded 48% of participants listed speaking or singing as the most distracting noise but for creative tasks, Lesiuk found that lyrics can actually help output.

Discovering Music That Works For You

When weighing up what music works best, studies show that music you’re familiar with can be really beneficial as it allows you to focus on the task at hand rather than trying to focus on the new sounds you’re hearing.

Songs & Sounds to Recruit To

For a recruiter, the day is generally made up of searching for candidates and leads, as well as engaging with candidates and hiring managers.

Whilst familiar music with lyrics may be useful while searching and formatting CVs, music without lyrics would be significantly better while writing emails or engaging in any intensive tasks.

Music as a Productivity Solution

Although music may not always be the most popular solution in the race for better productivity, studies have generally all given a big thumbs up to the effect of classical music, with one particular study by the American Roentgen Ray Society finding Baroque-period songs to have a great effect on productivity (no surprises there).

All in all, given the right choice of song, matched with the right task, adding a little more music to your workday could improve your mood and ultimately, boost your results.

Maximising your Productivity

Looking for more productivity tools? Find out more about getting the most out of your CRM and candidate database here.

TL;DR Key Takeaways

  • Music can positively impact on the productivity of recruiters working from home by improving enjoyment and reducing stress and anxiety.
  • If you are engaged in smaller, repetitive and simple tasks, background music can be beneficial in improving output.
  • Music can allow you to work at your best, regardless of the environment and the type of personality you have.
  • The right choice of music can improve your mood and ultimately boost your results.
  • Familiar music with lyrics may be useful while searching and formatting CVs, while music without lyrics would be significantly better while writing emails or engaging in any intensive tasks.
  • Different types of music can have different effects, with lyrics sometimes having a positive impact on creative tasks but not for intensive, thought-driven tasks.
  • Natural sounds can enhance cognitive function, optimize the ability to concentrate, and increase overall worker satisfaction.
  • Moderate noise levels get people in the zone, while too much noise contributes to a lack of focus.
  • Classical music, particularly Baroque-period songs, has been found to be particularly effective for improving productivity.