Can Watching TV While Working Benefit Your Productivity?

Which type of worker are you — the one who works better in a peaceful silence or the one that enjoys working with a little bit of background noise? 

Turns out that more than half of employees in the U.S. are putting on TV shows during work hours. In fact, survey data show that remote workers spend approximately 5 hours watching television while doing their daily tasks.

In this article, together we’ll explore why putting on a TV show while doing your work can actually increase your productivity, as well as take a look at some of the best broadcasts you can put on as background noise.

What’s the science behind TV noise and productivity?

Sure, it can seem like a silly thought at first because in schools we’ve always been taught that we can only focus in silence. But research has shown that having the right amount of background noise can significantly help you with generating creative ideas and increasing your productivity levels.

This is related to the phenomenon called stochastic resonance. It was first investigated on animals to see how their sensory signals can be enhanced by noise and how can noise improve behavior in different animals.

Likewise, research in humans showed how we tend to respond to different sound manipulations — and it was concluded that a certain level of noise allows people to feel, hear and even see better, therefore increasing our performance. But we have to keep in mind that too much noise can have the exact opposite effect, degrading our productivity.

A man sitting in front of TV screens showing white noise

Source: Pexels

What type of TV programs should you use as background noise?

With that being said, your work efficiency won’t boost if you decide to turn on the TV and then watch your favourite shows — that just won’t accomplish your tasks. But sometimes music can also be somewhat distracting for many of us, that’s why turning on your TV as background noise might be the best solution for you.

But, just like with certain types of music, not every TV broadcast can benefit your productivity, so let’s have a look at some of the best TV channels to put on for your micro distraction, shall we?

Replay your favourite TV shows

For this one to work, you have to choose a TV show or series that you’ve already watched multiple times before, therefore you already know the plot of the series and wouldn’t want to turn your head to the TV and watch them.

TV shows like “The Simpsons”, “The Office”, or “Friends” could be some of the best options — you might find not only a sense of nostalgia but comfort as well, hearing the voices of everybody’s favourite characters.

Don’t put on a show that you’ve been waiting to watch but haven’t yet! That will for sure distract you, and you won’t achieve anything — you will neither see the long-awaited series nor complete your tasks. Save that for your evening “me-time”!

Turn on a news channel

Another program you can put on as background noise for both in the office and at home is the news channel. 

If you’re the type of person that likes to keep yourself in the loop of what’s going on around the world, the best time to catch up with the important events is the morning, as you sip your breakfast coffee.

After that, the majority of the news broadcasted during the day is essentially rehashes of what’s already been broadcast in the early morning. Throughout the day, there will be updates and perhaps some local breaking news. However, for the most part, it’s just new thoughts and angles on the same issues.

The trick is to turn the sound down low, so you get the same background chattering vibe as if you were in a cafe.

Turn to some cooking channel

Another great broadcast you can put on your TV while you’re working is a cooking show. If you like to go to a cafe to work on your papers, food networks might work the best for you as it creates a similar feeling as if you were in a cafe.

Sounds of boiling water, pan clanking, water running from a faucet, frying and chopping mixed with a constantly talking, yet suiting voice make the perfect modest background sound that’s not distracting at all.

And it even has more bonuses — you might subliminally get some great ideas for your evening dinner along the way!

A woman standing in a kitchen cooking

Source: Pexels

You can even put on a weather channel

This works very similarly to the news channel — once you’ve got the hint of what the weather is going to be throughout the day in the morning news, you won’t feel the need to pay special attention to the broadcast.

Using the weather channel somewhere in the background on a low volume allows you to concentrate on your work while hearing voices in the background repeating the forecast or meteorological facts.

It’s easy to let information fade into the background when it’s about something you don’t necessarily care about or need to pay attention to.

The only suitable time for an infomercial channel

Let’s face it — who enjoys watching all the Top-Shop-type of commercials? It is super annoying when they interrupt the show we’re watching, leaving us on a cliffhanger. So most of us have already learned to “blackout” when the commercial breaks start.

But did you know that there are even separate channels dedicated to those long infomercials? Now is the time to use your ability to fade your attention away from it, using the voices from the infomercials as your background noise for increasing your work efficiency.

Just turn on the channel, turn down the volume, and watch the magic happen, as you automatically shift your focus from listening to the broadcast to your tasks!

Keep in mind — background noises might not work for you

If you find yourself struggling even more when you turn on the TV, the alternative, you can also try out, is putting on suitable background music. In fact, we’ve made a whole separate blog article on different types of music for different tasks, so feel free to check it out as well!

But maybe you learn that all types of sounds make you distracted, especially if you’re trying to accomplish some verbal tasks — then silence may be the best option for you!

Though, it is important that you test all the possible ways of boosting your productivity if you find yourself struggling by doing the same exact routine again and again. 

LUXAFOR HELPS PEOPLE TO ACHIEVE THEIR GREATEST PRODUCTIVITY LEVELS WITH A WIDE VARIETY OF OFFICE PRODUCTS. LET’S BE PRODUCTIVE TOGETHER!

Do you want to build and maintain new habits? Get your free PDF version of the Don't Break The Chain calendar and start today!

Do you want to build and maintain new habits? Get your free PDF version of the Don't Break The Chain calendar and start today!

Author's Bio

Jessica Chapman is a writing editor from Chicago who enjoys traveling. She works with Australian Writings, and if you need programming assignment help, she is the best person you can ask. She is also into politics and sports.

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