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11 November 2019

New research from Scala Radio indicates that half of UK employees listen to music at work

Scala Radio has uncovered that half of UK employees listen to music whilst at work. With an estimated 32.75 million UK workers currently in employment*, millions of people across the country are slipping on headphones in the office in a bid to concentrate more or block out colleague’s chit-chat.

The findings from a poll of 2,000 employed Brits reveal that more than a quarter of us use music to block out fellow employee’s noise, while in contrast a tenth do so to avoid silence if their colleagues aren’t in.

The research also found that more than a third of those polled work harder and two in five get more done when listening to music. Almost half – 47 per cent – said they feel less stressed and more than a third said their productivity improves with background melodies.

The survey was commissioned by the new classical entertainment station Scala Radio, after an increasing amount of listeners had been getting in touch to share how and where they were listening to the digital station.

Scala Radio presenter, Simon Mayo explains, “I always ask listeners to message in if they are working from home or ‘WFH’. Soon our Scala listeners had created a whole glossary of acronyms – from the SLAWs (Secretly Listening At Work) to the SLUGs (Scala Listener Underground) to those that are simply ‘WFHIMP’ or ‘Working From Home In My Pants’. There’s clearly a vast number of folk that seek out music to go with their working day, and with our mix of classical music aimed at modern listeners, I’m delighted that so many are choosing Scala Radio for that.”

The study found that of those who listen to music at work, six in 10 are based in an office and 49 per cent of respondents either always or sometimes work from home. More than two thirds of those who work from home would ‘struggle’ to concentrate without having music on, suggesting the sound fills the void of working alone.

A quarter of home-based workers listen to classical music and 37 per cent admitted they find it easier to hear instrumental-only songs. One in four workers opt for R&B to soundtrack their day, while almost three in 10 choose rock.

A quarter of those polled via OnePoll even said music is encouraged in their workplace and 24 per cent feel it keeps them more alert and awake. Almost a third of employees have communal music played in their offices but 36 per cent prefer to keep themselves to themselves with their personal selection.

The results coincide with an experiment where four office workers were given a 600 word task to complete to see how music affected their productivity compared to a silent room.

It found that when music was played, the workers completed the task three minutes faster.

Commenting on the results, psychologist Dr Becky Spelman said: “Music has a really powerful impact on the brain, it affects mood and mental and physical performance.

“Many people find that listening to certain types of instrumental music can help them with their productivity levels.

“The music can function as a sort of “white noise”, cancelling out potentially distracting ambient noise. Provided the music has a calm, regular beat, it can actually help us to stay calm, reducing our stress, slowing our heartrate, and moderating our pulse.

“This makes it easier for us to focus on the task at hand rather than entering into “flight or fight” mode, in which it can be very difficult to think clearly because of our elevated levels of adrenaline and cortisol.”

Watch the full experiment here.

*Source: Office for National statistics, employment in the UK: July 2019



For further information, please contact:

Cat Martin – Communications Director, Bauer Media | 07932 746363

Amelia O’Shea – Communications Manager, Bauer Media (Radio) | 07718 489342

About Scala Radio

Scala Radio is a brand-new entertainment radio station that breaks the mould of classical music in the UK. Presenters include Simon Mayo, Angellica Bell, Chris Rogers and musical innovator Goldie. The station plays familiar masters from Mozart and Holst to surprising new works from living composers Karl Jenkins, Rebecca Dale, Thom Yorke (Radiohead), film scores and musicals plus music performed by bright young artists like Sheku Kanneh-Mason. Scala Radio is for those that love classical music and lead a modern life.

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