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The debate on music in the workplace is a lively work-in-progress. As we survey the conversation, we are observing that new generations of workers and evolving trends in workplace design are dictating the direction the discussion is taking.

In the past few years, more and more businesses are turning towards open office plans. And as current commentary shows, the response is a varied one. While open floor plans may foster communication and collaboration, they can also leave employees feeling exposed. With a new generation in the workplace, headphones are ubiquitous, and provide tangible evidence of a popular solution to open space.

Headphones serve their purpose in two ways: they simultaneously block out the white noise in an office while enforcing a personal message that you need some peace and quiet from the office chit-chat and buzz. But once the headphones are on (or the pods are in), what music do you listen to? Does the music that you choose serve a purpose beyond cordoning off personal space?

Science is on the fence on the topic. But many articles and studies are beginning to support the idea that productivity playlists may actually work. In this Elemental article, three professionals suggest different ways music can bump up the success of your workday. Ambient instrumental music may boost productivity, familiar repetitive music may boost memory, and simply put, listening to music at work is fun. Happy employees are productive employees.

Other studies agree. In a LinkedIn article including a highly informative infographic, they shared that 61% of employees listen to music at work to make them happier and more productive, and that 90% of those workers performer better when doing so. Music stimulates emotion and memory, and lyrics activate brain areas that process language.

Whether you choose ambient, pop, rock or country music, music ultimately succeeds in boosting employee morale by giving workers the opportunity to personalize their daily environment.

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