Music in the Workplace Research Project

Background and purpose

Rapid technological development in playback equipment means that it is now possible for people in a wide variety of work environments to listen to recorded music. Whereas other aspects of the working environment, such as lighting and heating, have been studied, the auditory environment has seldom been investigated. Previous research has focused on music played over loudspeakers, such as in factories, and retail environments and has shown that music can have both positive and negative consequences for productivity and well-being. Given that individualized listening in workplaces is now increasingly common, how is music used at work, and what benefits and drawbacks does it entail?

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Current Study

An online survey was conducted to provide data on the extent and type of self-directed music listening in the UK, to indicate how music is incorporated into working life in different occupations, to identify self-reported functions of music for employees, and to provide exploratory data on the relationship between music listening and subjective well-being. The survey provides insight onto the extent and type of music listening in contemporary workplaces and deepens understanding of its functions. A summary of preliminary results are available to download using the righthand link. A report of this research is currently the most read paper in the peer review journal Musicae Scientiae:

Haake, A.B. (2011) Individual music listening in workplace settings: an exploratory survey of offices in the UK. Musicae Scientiae, 15 (1), 107-129.


Dr Nicola Dibben
Anneli Beronius Haake

Other related projects

Anneli Beronius Haake has carried out a series of studies of individual music listening in computer-based office environments. Her work investigates the effects of self-selected individual music listening on work performance and well-being, highlighting the external considerations and internal needs that impact on music listening. Her work explores how music can be implemented into office environments in a way that minimizes potentially negative effects of individual music listening (distraction from tasks, feelings of social exclusion) and enhance the positive effects (relaxation, mood management, feelings of well-being, feelings of energy concentration etc).