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Have You Found Your ‘Goldilocks Zone’?

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Have You Found Your ‘Goldilocks Zone’?

For many organisations, establishing just the right working conditions for happy employees, optimum performance and creative output is a tough task.

This is where ambient noise and background music can help.

Research has shown that a ‘Goldilocks Zone’ exists where just the right amount of background noise can trigger our minds to think more creatively and work more effectively. Public spaces are a perfect example. This article by 99U explains how the right amount of ambient noise, particularly in certain environments can enhance creative thinking.

‘Studies found that those exposed to a moderate level of ambient noise significantly out-performed those in the other groups.’


‘Settings like coffee shops contain the right level of ambient noise that just so happens to trigger our minds to think more creatively. A paper published late last year in the Journal of Consumer Research, argues that the ideal work environment for creative projects should contain a little bit of background noise.

Regardless of what method you choose, the trick is to make sure you’re exposed to only a moderate level of background noise. Let your mind wander, but not too far, and take advantage of the creative boost of distracted focus.’

The diverse benefits of music

Alongside that brilliant boost to creative thinking, researchers also believe in a number of additional advantages to background music being playing whilst at work. These range from enhanced contact, coordination, and cooperation with others to combatting stress, strengthening empathy and increasing cultural cohesion.

When it comes to such benefits, a client of ours, PPL shares some fascinating findings. PPL licence recorded music played in public or at work, and are the global leaders in international collections. In the last 10 years, they’ve collected over £160 million in global royalties for their performer and record company members.

According to PPL

77% of businesses say playing music in the workplace increases employee morale whilst 81% of people work more accurately as a result.


PPL point to research commissioned by MusicWorks to support such claims. “The MusicWorks experiment revealed a positive correlation between music and productivity – overall it showed that when listening to music, 9 out of 10 people performed better. Music is an incredibly powerful management tool in increasing the efficiency of a workforce. It can exert a highly beneficial influence over employee morale and motivation, helping enhance output and even boosting a company’s bottom line.”

Christine Geissmar, Operations Director at PPL commented, “The results of this experiment are a clear indication of the value music can add to the workplace. Music is a key tool to business success.”

Interesting alternatives

It’s not only coffee shops and music providing the perfect level of ambient sound. We’ve been hearing some rather creative examples including the Detroit Police Dispatch (thanks for the suggestion @DanSlee) or the white noise provided by the app Simply Noise to block out those distractions.

So whether you’re interested in the emotional advantages, the clear connection between ambient noise and creativity or the performance enhancing powers, the benefits explored above should be music to your ears!

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