News From Terre Haute, Indiana


November 18, 2012

BUSINESS CENTS: Music: Is it the soul of the work environment?

Just the other day, I read an article discussing how music has influenced our work environment since the 1940s. Since around the early 1940s, music began appearing in department stores to increase the moods of shoppers and to create a pleasant and relaxing shopping environment for them. The hope was to have the shopper increase their total purchase price. Guess what everyone: It worked! Today, with the open office concept and collaborative work environment, many people use music in a variety of ways.

For example, Indiana State University, the ISBDC, Terre Haute Tech and Tech Haute are hosting Startup Weekend in February. During the event, there will be a lot of high energy music playing to increase participation, the energy level, innovation and productivity among groups forging their business ideas into reality. Another example is exercise. If you exercise to faster music, what happens? When you reflect back, you realize you actually work out harder when the music is faster. Now, how does that impact business, you ask?

In regard to business, here are a few ways it influences the work space. As I mentioned, collaborative spaces are ever more present at work. In order for individuals to have time to themselves, work on projects and tasks as well as kick-start their brains, there must be music. Music enables us to recall data quickly and it also triggers memories. Music can also take the edge off of work and makes you realize that what you are doing is actually very important. Finally, you can learn more about those around you by understanding and appreciating what they listen to. Everyone has such a different taste when it comes to music; consider what this musical influence can tell you about working more cohesively with your colleagues.

Remember these things about music:

1. Music will help you focus be recalling data and triggering important memories.

2. Music will help you engage people better but also permit you to have that “just me” time at work to complete tasks.

3. Music will help energize you, especially if you feel that a task is boring.

4. Music will tell you information about the tastes of your colleagues.

Music has been part of our work culture for nearly a century; be sure to use it to increase productivity and employee satisfaction.

Heather (Penney) Strohm is the regional director for Indiana State University’s Indiana Small Business Development Center.

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