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Plant, warehouse and distribution work requires focus, attention to detail and an eye for safety. Some managers believe this means work should be done in silence. However, engagement, morale and productivity can increase when people listen to music. Since wearing headphones can be dangerous in a labour environment, many leaders wonder if playing music over speakers would actually help or hinder productivity in the workplace.

The Pros and Cons of Playing Music at Work

There are several reasons why people enjoy listening to music during the workday:

  • Helps pass the time.
  • Fosters more focus on work.
  • Drowns out co-workers.
  • Makes mundane tasks more enjoyable.

However, there are some potential drawbacks to playing music over speakers:

  • Employees might not hear each other.
  • Could make it difficult to catch a co-worker’s attention.
  • Some music could be a potential distraction.

It’s difficult to weigh the pros against the cons in a warehouse or plant environment, especially when it comes to safety. However, research has shown that music can boost productivity in the workplace. According to one study, 73% of warehouse workers report higher productivity when music was playing in the background and 65% of businesses agree with that assessment.

According to a doctor from the Mayo Clinic, 15-30 minutes of listening to music can help workers improve concentration. Focus and concentration are especially important in a general labour environment where safety is a concern. This becomes even more critical at the end of a shift when workers are feeling tired and starting to think about heading home. Music could help employees stay energized and focused on the tasks at hand.

Music Style Matters in the Workplace

These facts are encouraging, but the type of music played can impact results. According to Cambridge Sound Management, speech is the worst distraction to employees, and music with lyrics can hinder productivity rather than help it.

Therefore, the best type of music to play are styles that lack lyrics like classical, jazz, instrumental, movie and TV scores, video game soundtracks, naturescapes and even white noise.  An added bonus of playing music without lyrics is it reduces the chances of someone being potentially offended by lyrics in popular songs and genres.

Choosing to play music in the workplace could actually help a team focus and boost productivity. Managers who want to try it out could test several types of music over a few weeks and gauge results.

Are You Looking for Productive Warehouse or Plant Staff?

Music can help boost productivity, but only when you hire productive, skilled workers. If you are looking to improve the hiring process for your warehouse, distribution center or plant, contact the experts at Employment Professionals Canada today.


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