Listening practices


To cite or reference this content, please use the following reference:

Haake, A. B. (2010). Music listening in offices: Balancing internal needs and external considerations (Doctoral thesis, University of Sheffield, Sheffield) accessed from


At a glance

Music listened to

  • Nearly 30 style categories
  • The most frequently mentioned genre was classical music, followed by rock and pop music. Other commonly stated styles were indie and dance
  • Music listening at work mirrors general listening trends outside the workplace


Activities carried out concurrently

Respondents reported doing different activities while listening to music. Out of these, the most commonly occurring activities were

  • “Driving/travelling”
  • “Doing routine tasks”
  • “Word processing tasks”


Time spent listening

  • Respondents listened for 36% of their working week on average, but with some listening hardly at all and some listening almost all the time


Social environment

Respondents reported being alone more often when listening to music at work. Listening alone also included listening by oneself in the presence of other people (e.g., using headphones in an open-plan office), as this was specified in the survey. People who found their jobs stressful seemed more often to listen alone rather than in the company of colleagues. It does suggest that stressed employees listen to music at work and that music can be beneficial for alleviating stress.


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