Music for the soul: How you can beat the January blues

Andrew Hunter

Ah, January.

The month many claim to be the most depressing of the entire year, and which has the single most depressing day in its midst – Blue Monday, a day you’re probably glad to have seen the back of.

Created by Cardiff University Professor, Dr Cliff Arnall, the date of Blue Monday is calculated based on an equation which assesses the UK weather, personal debt, and levels of motivation across the country. He concludes that the third Monday of January – four days ago – is the day where Brits are at their lowest.

This low mood can also affect your work life. In fact, a recent survey by Investors in People showed that a quarter of all UK workers feel fed up with their career at this time of year.

So, given that the festive fun is over, the January sniffles have most likely set in, and payday feels an age away, we figured staff across the country may well be in need of cheering up.

There are plenty of things you can do to give yourself a today – book a holiday, go for a run, get a dog, treat yourself to a nice lunch.

But we think there’s something blindingly obvious that many people overlook. Our solution? Music.

Inspired by academic research showing that listening to top tunes is scientifically proven to boost our mood, we’ve been wondering if the solution could be as simple as dancing our way through the gloomy season.

And productivity rates are also reported to be improved by a jolly tune.

Another study, by Teresa Lesiuk at the Frost School of Music, found that IT specialists who listened to music not only completed tasks more quickly, but came up with better ideas than those who didn’t.

Some employers are already jumping on the musical bandwagon in a big way.

If you were to go knocking on the doors of any of London’s top technology companies, you’d almost certainly find an office Spotify playlist.

We’ve also noticed that UK police forces paid a whopping £660,952 for music licences so that staff could listen to music in offices in the past year, according to a Freedom of Information request (not made by me, I should hasten to add).

However, plenty of employers aren’t yet using music as a motivator to attract January jobseekers, with only 23 job ads on Adzuna mentioning radio or music playing in the office this winter.

Culture is seen as important though, with 11,467 ads mention a busy, lively or noisy office, and only 157 ads citing a quiet or calm office as a selling point, proving once again that Brits love buzz. And a boogie, judging by the reaction of the Adzuna team to our Friday afternoon music policy.

To celebrate the season, we’ve canvassed some of London’s best companies for their top “feel good” office music recommendations. Here are some songs that will instantly put you in a good mood and brighten up your day.

If you’re looking for some oldies, you could go for Twist & Shout by the Beatles or Good Vibrations by the Beach Boys. If you want the 80s, how about Should I Stay or Should I Go by The Clash, or Walking on Sunshine by Katrina & The Waves? And then the millennials in the office might like a bit of Happy by Pharrell Williams, or Lose Yourself by Eminem.

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