Could music be the key to modernising your business and attracting new talent?

When we think of law firms, accountants, insurers, along with other professional sectors, we often think of them as being very traditional and conventional places to work.

Of course, there are some firms who are bucking this trend by being creative and innovative with their workspaces and brand image, but if your business is not one of those, how could you start to modernise it to entice today’s university graduates to come and work for you?

Employee wellbeing is the buzz word on every HR department’s lips these days, and rightly so. With workplace stress and absence being at a ten-year high1, and many professional sectors being in the top eight of the most stressful jobs2, we look at one way you could ease the pressure on your workforce by simply changing the environment they work in.

Working 9-5 

In September this year we conducted a survey of 1000 UK adults3 who are currently working within the professional services sectors. This included legal, financial, HR, IT and Government roles, and the results showed us that music has a real impact on how we feel at work.

It has been proven that music has the ability to improve concentration, particularly when working on something which may be repetitive or require focus4, and our survey backed this up with 72% of people who listen to music at work agreeing that it helps them to concentrate.

Interestingly, of those surveyed who don’t currently have music in their workplace, over 50% said that they still listen to music, only via their headphones, showing that professionals are possibly still using music to concentrate, block out external office noise, and improve their wellbeing at work.

You may be worried about getting the right ‘mix’ of music to cater to everyone’s taste, here at PPL PRS we are mindful that we have an eclectic mix of staff, and their music choices reflect that. We use each day to share playlists of different genres and celebrations. For example, we have Throwback Thursday where anything from the 80s to 00s is played, throughout October we have been celebrating with a Black History Month playlist, and on Fridays we get ready for the weekend with plenty of feel-good tracks.

If this seems a little too time consuming, there is always the radio. Our survey showed that nearly 70% of those workplaces that currently play music are doing so through the radio. Latest Rajar figures show that 88% of the UK population listen to the radio each week, and 14% of that figure listen at work/elsewhere.5

Long before CDs and streaming came along, the radio was used in factories and offices to help with productivity, with a special programme – Music While You Work – being broadcast twice a day by the BBC for over 27 years.6

Moving on Up

Now, back to that buzzword – wellbeing. In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic employee wellbeing became the top priority for many businesses as staff continued to work from home and mental health issues were increasing. Moving into 2023, and BAU returning, wellbeing is starting to see a decline in importance7, but should you be letting that slip? When asked if music helps to alleviate stress and anxiety in the workplace and creates a calmer environment, a resounding 88% of workers in the professional services sector agreed.

Obviously, music is not the only key to creating a harmonious and happy workplace, The Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development have also created a fact sheet on other ways to improve employee wellbeing and are keen for wellbeing to remain a boardroom priority.

We mentioned earlier that professional service sectors are often seen as traditional and perhaps quite conventional places to work. Many are housed in older, or historical buildings where creating a more modern, creative workspace is not always an option. You can, however, improve employee engagement and retention by considering modernising the furniture, ensuring that desks are not only functional but also create flowing workspaces and calm areas that are paper and clutter free.

If you are not able to paint walls with calm and inviting colour palettes, you could consider installing wall art to add colour and interest to plain walls.

How about adding some plant life?  Did you know that adding plants to an office space can improve the air quality, reduce stress, increase productivity, and boost energy levels?8  All whilst making an otherwise bland or drab office look colourful and modern.

Music has a part to play in creating a modern, upbeat workplace too. Whilst there is obviously a need for quiet in some areas of professional workspaces, our survey found that over 75% of people felt that their office felt more modern and up to date due to the music that was played. Once again getting that balance right is key when playing music in a professional setting.

As well as time and effort, we put a great deal of investment into getting our client areas just right. The relatively low cost of accessing the full repertoire of licensed music is definitely worth it. The repetitive, and dare I say annoying, tones of piped “elevator music” would ruin the comforting feel we have tried to create.” – Hamlins LLP, London

When it comes to music, building a link between your business and employees, creating loyalty and brand engagement we found that over 70% of respondents feel more engaged with their business when music is played. On top of that, if an employee was to look for a new role, over 80% of people said they would prefer to work somewhere that played music.

Today’s job hunters are not only looking for a career with training and prospects. They are looking for a place where they can enjoy their job, where they feel valued and cared for. Improving and modernising your working environment is key to becoming an employer of choice. Focusing on wellbeing and those all-important benefits such as hybrid working, decor and music in the workplace could be the edge that you have over your competitors when it comes to recruiting the next leaders in your business.




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