Work Playlists: What’s the Best Music to Listen to at Work?

in business insights, business music

writing in notebook next to laptop

Whether you commute to the office or work from home, listening to the best work playlist can significantly improve your mood, concentration, and motivation levels. However, if you’re indecisive, deciding which music to listen to at work can take forever. In these cases, pre-designed work playlists are ideal.

With a set of predetermined work playlists, relaxing music for the workplace is just a click away on a quiet afternoon. On busy days, energetic music for work is quickly accessible. If you’re looking for inspiration for your work music playlist, you’ve come to the right place.

You may be working from your home office or in a huge shared environment; either way, we’ve decided to share some inspirational work playlist ideas.  Read on if you’re looking to find some good business music to listen to at work.

First, let’s look at some science-backed work playlist ideas that are said to boost productivity:

people playing violins

Classical Music

One of the most famous scientific studies relating to productivity and music discusses the ‘Mozart Effect.’ This study discovered that listening to Mozart can help enhance abstract reasoning ability even for a brief period each day, and that Mozart's piano sonatas in particular induced a subjectively relaxing state.

The study worked with 36 students split into three groups. The first group listened to a selection of Mozart tracks, the second a relaxation tape, and the third was subjected to ten minutes of silence.

Once the listening activity had finished, all 36 participants took the same test. The ‘Mozart’ group averaged an eight-to-nine point IQ increase compared to the other two groups. Ever since this experiment took place, the ‘Mozart Effect’ has been contested by many.

However, researchers have gone on to explore the links between motivation and classical music. It seems that the general consensus from several scientific studies is that classical music aids concentration and relaxation. Therefore, you may want to add Mozart to your playlist for work.

woman sitting in the grass and looking at the sky

Sounds of Nature

According to sound-field analysis and psychophysical data published in The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, adding natural sounds to your work playlists could improve cognitive functioning, increase satisfaction levels, and optimize your concentration.

Some examples might include: Waves breaking against rocks, streams trickling, birds singing, and other natural sounds.

The latest home assistant technologies like Alexa and Google Home have introduced ambient sound features to help people focus and relax. Maybe it’s time you brought the outdoors into your office?

playing ukulele

Instrumental Tracks

According to CNET, listening to music while you work or study can increase productivity.  Many studies have shown that instrumental music, in particular, can improve cognitive performance. Instrumental music is preferred as music with lyrics can be distracting. 

However, there are various theories on this matter. As such, we recommend experimenting with work playlists that contain both instrumental tracks and songs with lyrics. See how motivated you feel when listening to both types of music and adjust the playlist accordingly.

game console and controllers

Video Game Soundtracks

Video game soundtracks can completely transform the atmosphere of your office in several ways. However, before you decide which soundtrack to play, you’ll have to determine if you want to be energized or relaxed.

If you’re the type of person who gets pumped and concentrates while listening to high-octane, energetic music, tracks from games like ‘Wipeout’ would be ideal for your work playlists.

Alternatively, if you concentrate better when listening to calming sounds, serene soundtracks from games like ‘Journey’ could do the trick. Every year, hundreds of video games are released. So, there’s a soundtrack out there to suit everybody’s ears.

Think about it: Video games are designed with focus in mind; the player must pay the game their full attention as they navigate the on-screen world. As a result, the music composition for video games is very strategic, with modern soundtracks reflecting incredible cinematic scores instead of basic sound effects.

Although studies around concentration and video game music have found mixed results, One study found that ‘Zelda’ players performed much better with the music and sound effects turned on compared to those who played in silence.

sign displaying "you got this"

Songs That Get You Pumped-Up

In 2014, a group of researchers set out to answer the question: Does listening to a particular type of music make us feel more in control or powerful?

They created a study that monitored how music could influence motivation and behavior. Primarily, they played several songs for participants and asked them, on a scale of one to seven - how dominant, determined, and powerful they felt after listening to each song.

The top three ‘high-power’ tracks were: 

  • ‘In Da Club’ by 50 Cent
  • ‘Get Ready for This’ by Unlimited
  • ‘We Will Rock You’ by Queen

To calculate how music can influence behavior, participants were asked to listen to a track and then decide whether they would like to go second or first in a debate. The results showed that those who listened to a high-power’ playlist were twice as eager to go first than those who didn’t.

If you want to feel empowered, be sure to add some high-power tracks to your work playlists.

woman smiling next to smiley face balloon

Feel-Good Songs

We’ve all got one! Is there one track that puts a smile on your face, no matter the circumstances?

One of the best remedies for lack of productivity is a good dose of feel-good music. We’re talking about the type that makes you want to dance like nobody’s watching.

Scientifically speaking, music can stimulate the same part of the brain as mouthwatering food and other physical pleasures.

For example, researchers at McGill University discovered that participants taking an opioid-production-blocker didn’t respond as positively to their favorite songs as they would under normal circumstances.

This tells us that our brains are trained to produce ‘feel-good’ chemicals when we hear our favorite music. Although feel-good songs differ from person-to-person, some favorites include: 

  • ‘I Got You (I Feel Good)’ by James Brown
  • ‘Good Vibrations’ by Beach Boys
  • ‘Here Comes the Sun’ by The Beatles

Why not speak to your colleagues and create the ultimate feel-good work playlist today?

movie sign on building

Movie and TV Favorites

Sometimes, there’s nothing like our favorite movie soundtrack to make us feel great. Again, in a shared office, everyone will have different tastes. However, if your team can agree on a decade in which they all enjoy some film and TV classics, then you’ve got an excellent start to your playlist.

Top movie soundtracks include: 

  • ‘Pretty in Pink’
  • ‘Purple Rain’
  • ‘Help!’

Some movie scores are great for setting an ambient atmosphere in the office. Why not ask everyone on your team to write down their favorite movie and compile a mega work playlist with something to cheer up everyone?

headphones laying on a table

Binaural Beats

For some people, the jury’s out when it comes to listening to binaural beats. However, many people find that listening to this type of music helps them to relax and focus.

Binaural beat advocates recommend listening to binaural audio recordings to treat stress, anxiety, and other related disorders.

For the brain to detect a binaural beat, tones need to be recorded at frequencies lower than 1,000 hertz. The binaural beat is the name given to the frequency difference between waves that enter the right and left ear.

If your office staff want to optimize their concentration levels, why not create work playlists with several binaural beat tracks and give them a try?

man playing acoustic guitar

Reggae Classics

Nothing says relax better than a chilled out reggae playlist. So, if you’ve had a busy week and want to wind things down on a Friday afternoon, why not fire up some Bob Marley, Toots and the Maytals, and other classic reggae stars on your work playlist.

Top reggae songs include: 

  • ‘Stir It Up’ by Bob Marley & the Wailers
  •  ‘Pressure Drop’ by Toots & the Maytals
  •  ‘The Harder They Come’ by Jimmy Cliff

Reggae music can help to boost the positive atmosphere in your office, especially when you’re working to a tight deadline or things are getting manic.

playing electric guitar

Mellow Classics

Some days, you and your team just need to mellow out to complete the tasks ahead. When creating a mellow classics playlist, artists like Fleetwood Mac, Frank Sinatra, Etta James, and Otis Redding can help set the mood in your office. 

Keep your playlist varied, and don’t forget to send out an email asking each team member to name their favorite mellow classic song. 

Recommended mellow classics include: 

  • ‘Yesterday’ by The Beatles
  • ‘Dreams’ by Fleetwood Mac
  • ‘Have You Ever Seen the Rain’ by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Create Your Work Playlists with Cloud Cover Music 

Are you ready to start compiling unique work playlists to set the mood and tone for your office or store in 2021?

Try Cloud Cover Music FREE for 14-Days and see for yourself what incredible changes music can bring to your business. Do you have multiple offices? Control the music in all of your business locations from one easy-to-use dashboard using our bespoke streaming software. 

We feature a low cost, reliable way to play music for your business or at your offices. Every subscription features the necessary licensing fees, so you can rest easy knowing artists and songwriters are appropriately paid as you listen to your music.