From classical to hip-hop, here are the best songs to listen to at work

Robert Kneschke /

When it comes to shutting out the world and getting focused on your work, a good soundtrack can make all the difference. Whether that means studying to Mozart or doing your taxes to Miles Davis, everyone needs good music to fill the space between thoughts. Studies have shown that music increases productivity and mood, and makes repetitive tasks more enjoyable. But many people don’t know where to start when it comes to putting together that perfect work playlist — or they simply don’t have the time.

That’s why we did it for you! Here are eight playlists sure to make your work more productive and enjoyable, each in a different genre. No matter what kind of music you like, you’re sure to find something here to suit your needs.

Baroque Classical

Ornately constructed compositions by Bach, Mozart, Vivaldi, and others empower the senses, allowing listeners a clarity of mind that isn’t provided by other styles of music. In fact, a study involving eight radiologists has shown the positive side of listening to classical music, indicating that the genre could help improve mood, diagnostic accuracy, and personal interactions.


With ornate harmonies that often sit atop a pulsating rhythmic base, jazz can provide workers who do repetitive tasks with the perfect backdrop. An extremely interactive and conversational genre, jazz is perfect for those who like to listen a little deeper while they work, though it may prove distracting to those who need more open mental space to process their thoughts.


The perfect style for those looking for background sounds that won’t distract, ambient electronica such as Brian Eno’s famed Music For Airports provides a welcome, no-frills sonic retreat. Designed to help relax the mind and let it roam, the genre is perfect for those who are attempting to come up with some deep insight, and is especially handy for students who are hard at work on final exams.

Classic Rock

Some of the best music for hands-on workers, hits from the ’60s and ‘70s allow listeners to rock out, while distracting them from the dirty job at hand. With heavy grooves, hook-driven jams, and rocking guitar solos, there’s nothing better than a little rock to get folks through another day at the office — or the garage.


While it may not quite jibe perfectly with the most buttoned-down offices, there are plenty of workplaces where a healthy dose of hip-hop will fit right in, and even help you get some work done. Whether you’re working on a massive amount of code and blasting your headphones, or jamming out in a coffee shop or bar, here are four-and-a-half hours of rhymes, both new and old, to fuel your work fire.


Beautiful acoustic-based songs that serenade you as you work, these singer-songwriter selections are sure to propel you steadily through even the hardest rough patches. They are perfect for any job that requires slow, thoughtful progress, and pair well with a morning cup of coffee.


Classic soul hits have a way of raising spirits and keeping things feeling warm in your life, with groovy bass and drum lines that will keep your workflow smooth for hours on end. Hit play, and prepare to be bobbing your head for the rest of the work day — just don’t sing along too loud.

Classic Country

Gentle and rambling, the sounds of classic country will keep your work day moseying along at a steady, thoughtful pace, with classic ballads about love, nature, and beer that have warmed the spirits of generations. Whether your fixing up your old pickup truck or programming a new app, there’s something soothing about the vintage sounds of the South.