While working from home can be an attractive option for some, not all employees look forward to it due to the less than optimal working environment at home. This is true, for example, for parents with young children who have to multitask to meet the needs of their chidlren and job.
For those who have no dedicated workspace at home, the frequent distractions, noise and technical problems with the computer and Internet can be stressful, and stress, when it accumulates, can have an adverse effect on their mental health.
Here's a possible solution: music.
Experts have said that music is therapeutic and can boost efficiency and creativity levels and create more enthusiasm among workers and expedite completion of projects.
According to a December 2013 report by United Kingdom-based Cochrane, an international research organisation, music interventions have been used for many years to reduce anxiety and distress and improve physiological responses such as heart rate and respiratory rate in medical patients.
Mohd Zaki Sarpan, psychology officer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, suggests that individuals working from home listen to music while at work. Music, he said, is known for its therapeutic effects which can help employees to remain productive as it improve their concentration. It can also help them to manage their stress better.
"Music can boost productivity and cognitive performance among adults, as well as reduce their anxiety level and make them feel more motivated, ” he said.
He added that music is known to help children and adults to learn to cope with a crisis and to express their feelings and emotions.
On the genre of music to play while at work, Mohd Zaki said this would depend on individual preferences.
"The important thing to know is that music can influence a person’s emotional state. If we listen to a sad song, we end up feeling depressed but when we listen to a fast number, we feel energised.
"Basically, each person has his or her personal favourites when it comes to music and they will know what type of music to choose should they want to just relax or focus better on their work.
"Some people like to listen to the sound of water flowing or birds tweeting, or listen to music featuring the sounds of nature as it makes them feel calm and peaceful, ” he said.
Playing musical instruments
Those who lack the motivation when working from home should choose to play songs with positive lyrics that can boost their morale.
Mohd Zaki said even listening to instrumental music while studying or working can help to improve their concentration and understanding.
Playing musical instruments too can have a calming effect on people who feel stressed due to work or family pressures.
"After a hard day at work, one can unwind and de-stress by playing our favourite instrument... it can be the piano, guitar or violin or any other instrument, ” he said, adding that families can even start their own mini band and enjoy themselves by performing together.
For those who cannot afford to buy an instrument, they can use their smartphones to download applications for instruments such as piano, guitar and violin.
Those who have trouble sleeping at night can also benefit from the therapeutic effects of music, said Mohd Zaki who recommended that they play instrumental music to overcome their insomnia.
He said studies have shown that insomnia can cause stress and affect one’s emotions.
"There are several theories as to the therapeutic effects of music on insomnia and sleeping difficulties. Certain types of music are said to have the ability to lull one to sleep but other types can stimulate the mind, ” he said, adding that people with insomnia must use the trial and error method to see what suits them best.
This is because the emotional response to instrumental music or songs differs from person to person.
"For some people, certain songs or music can evoke memories from the past which will make it more difficult for them to fall asleep. This is why it is important that they select the right music or song to lull them to sleep, ” he added. - Bernama