Britain is a nation of ‘desk jockeys’ – with half of employees listening to music while they work.
A study of 2,000 employed Brits found many slip on headphones as soon as they sit down in a bid to concentrate more – or block out colleague’s chit-chat.
A third even think they work harder when listening to music, while two in five get more done.
Almost half (47 per cent) also claim to feeling less stressed with background melodies and more than a third said their productivity improves.
But the study, commissioned by Scala Radio, found that while more than a quarter use music to block out their colleagues’ noise, a tenth do so to avoid silence.
The results come after an experiment saw four office workers given a 600-word task to complete to see how music affects their productivity compared to being in a silent room.
It found that when music was played, workers completed the task three minutes faster than they did with no background tunes.
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.”
The study also found that of those who listen to music at work, six in 10 are based in an office, with 49 per cent either always or sometimes working from home.
More than two thirds of those who work from home would ‘struggle’ to concentrate without having music on.
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.
Overall, 71 per cent of Brits who work at home listen to melodies throughout their day.
Half play music to help pass the time, four in 10 like to fill the silence of being the only one in their home office, and a further 28 per cent feel less alone.
In comparison, 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 music selection.
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.
Scala Radio’s Simon Mayo added: “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.”