A new study has surveyed 2000 UK employees and analysed Spotify data to reveal the relationship workers, including manual labourers and construction labourers, have with music while working.
Commissioned by Towergate Liability Insurance, the study shows 1 in 2 people listen to music more often since lockdowns began with UK employees believing it positively impacts their office lives.
Looking across different industries, the survey featured employees in construction, property, design, creative arts, engineering, manufacturing, finance, banking, accountancy, and healthcare.
Benefits of listening to music at work: mental health, focus and boredom
Over half (54%) of those surveyed said listening to music at work improves their mental health and happiness, 56% stated it improves their mood and two-thirds said it helps them focus and get work done quicker. Additionally, 43% believe that music helps reduce boredom with the benefits impacting more men (44%) than women (42%).
Genre and the way we listen differs across industries
Pop music was found to be the favourite genre across all industries, followed by rock and classical music. This is with the exception of construction where employees favour rock music.
The only industry where workers claim listening to music out loud is their preferred method was healthcare, with all other industries preferring to play music through personal headphones.
Younger generations benefit most from listening to music
Younger generations are shown to appreciate the benefits of music the most, with 95% of 18–24-year-olds saying listening to music helps them focus and work faster. This is in comparison to 67% of 35-44 years olds who said the same.
Music has the greatest motivational impact on 25-35-year-olds (25%) followed by over 55s (12%).
Rock music is construction workers motivational favourite
Towergate’s analysis explored playlists on Spotify specifically for those in the construction and building industry to find the top genres, artists and songs that help them get through their workdays on construction sites.
The analysis found that rock music was by far the favourite, with 981 appearances, followed by metal with 358, while the top five artists are all rock bands:
- AC/DC: 84 appearances
- The Rolling Stones: 63 appearances
- Led Zeppelin: 63 appearances
- Red Hot Chili Peppers: 60 appearances
- Metallica: 50 appearances
Previous research by the Office for National Statistics has found that mental health problems are prevalent in the construction industry. With 65% of those in construction and property saying that listening to music at work helps improve their mood, and 27% saying it impacts their happiness, music can play a role in combating mental health issues.
The survey provides evidence that a shift in the awareness of clean and safe workplaces will be at the forefront of employee concerns, as 70% of those surveyed said they would be more likely to ask future employers about their health and hygiene policies and implementation before accepting future jobs.
“Music and work have always been intertwined,” says Alison Wild, Head of Marketing at Towergate SME. “Most people enjoy listening to the music of some kind, it’s perfectly natural to feel that music must have some sort of positive impact on our work”
Alison continues, “Music has many benefits in the workplace, it helps us make the day go quicker, makes us feel good, improves the working environment, motivates us, and therefore helps us get through with otherwise boring tasks.
”Music has always created a sense of togetherness, that’s why many workers turn to it during a crisis. Music can help boost your productivity by putting you in a better mood, combatting stress and anxiety, while we are all working from home. From the survey we conducted, we found that 48% of the public listen to more music while working now than before the pandemic. Furthermore, when questioned, 54% of respondents accredited music for making them feel happier and having a positive effect on their mental health while on the job.”