To Rock or Not to Rock: Music and iPods at Work

As of January 2008, over 140 million iPods have been sold. With the portability of mp3 players, employees are more frequently bringing them into the workplace. Workers with internet access can even stream music files at their computer. Research shows that 80% of technical and creative workers listen to music at least 20% of their work time. While some employers find iPods a distraction, many are discovering they can be a valuable workplace tool. Here are a few tips employees should keep in mind when listening to music while on the job.

Choose the right genre.
For increased productivity, think about song selection. Poor song choices can cause you to lose focus or impact your mood. Choose music with easy beats and light melodies, such as classical music or modern music that’s light on lyrics, to increase concentration. The steady beat will help you focus and keep pace with work. According to a study published in the Neuroscience of Behavior and Physiology journal, rock music can have a similar effect as classical music and improve a person’s ability to recognize visual images, such as letters and numbers.

Be courteous to others.
Blaring music can annoy co-workers and can lead to tension if they become disgruntled and complain to management. To avoid disturbing others, turn the volume of your stereo down or use headphones. Even when using headphones, it’s important to have the volume low enough to allow co-workers to get your attention. Keep in mind that drumming, dancing, or singing along to songs can be a distraction as well.

Do not download music.
Downloading music on the internet from work can be a very sticky situation. While some services provide totally legal methods of download, many people attempt to download free music through other websites from work. This can unintentionally infect your computer’s network with a virus. It can also make your employer face copyright issues if you illegally download songs. It would be best not to download music online at all. There are various alternatives to downloading music. Streaming radio or streaming audio web sites, such as, allow you to listen to music through your computer without the security risks connected to downloads. Check your workplace policy on streaming music though, because many places forbid it since it takes up bandwidth. You can always bring a CD or mp3 player if that is OK with company policy.

Whether you want to increase productivity or block out distractions by listening to music at work, it’s important to be courteous to others. So, remember these tips the next time you turn on your radio or plug in your iPod.

Do you think iPods are a distraction or helpful at your workplace? Do you or your co-workers listen to music at the office?


  1. Michael Henreckson

    I have to admit that I’ve never worked in a cube world, so it hasn’t been a big deal. Most the time there’s relatively good stuff playing on the radio for everyone to listen to at my current job, so it’s not too big of an issue. When I’m working or studying on my own at home, it is nice to be able to listen to music.

  2. logan

    Thanks for the informative post. I dread things like this sometimes. It’s rather confusing. What I do is just run my computer through a computer check up at one of those free websites

  3. iPod Repair

    Good article and comments. I love downloading podcasts to my iPod and making playlists because it is convenient; I can listen to them at anytime.

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