#4: Mixtapes for your workplace

A thoughtful approach on how to better integrate music into your workplace, in three parts


At Civilla, we are fascinated by how music influences the mood of our space. Consider for a moment how effectively music changes your emotions and energy level within a few seconds of your favorite song. As humans, our physiological state can shift dramatically based on what we hear around us.

Music is perhaps the most powerful device we have to influence emotions in a professional environment, whether it be in the reception area, meeting rooms, or at personal desks. Here’s a thoughtful approach on how to better integrate music into your workplace, in three parts.

1) Determine the feeling you want to evoke

Effective use of music will depend on your clarity about how others ought to feel during any given moment. Should your teammates feel energized? Might the afternoon be a playful one? Does your staff need to spend some time feeling focused? Any musical selection ought to help evoke these emotions.

2) Pick your playlist

To start, here are 3 playlists we’ve created for the workplace, depending on your mood:

  • High Energy Grooves: Pick up and sustain the energy and activity in a room. Perfect for a team that has already aligned around an activity and is ready to start cranking. Listen to our High Energy Grooves playlist on Spotify.

  • Playful Hits: Bring out the playful and dynamic creativity of your team. Perfect for less serious moments in the week, like cleaning up your work space, or for the late afternoon when everyone is searching for their second wind. Listen to our Playful Hits playlist on Spotify.

  • Reflective Moments: Slow down the energy and encourage moments of reflection or focus. Perfect for creating space to search inward or connect thoughtfully with others. Listen to our Reflective Moments playlist on Spotify.

3) Enable everybody to be the conductor.

Find ways to decentralize the responsibility of choosing music by engaging the tastes and creativity of the entire team. At Civilla, we have paired wireless Sonos speakers with Spotify in order to enable everyone on our team to change the volume, add new music to our playlists, or control the music from their phones.

A final take-away

Music alone cannot be responsible for shaping the mood in a workplace setting. Still, it is an underutilized resource that can be fun and effective for those who try it. Find ways to dial in the right music and it will play a supporting role to the important work you’re tackling as a team and organization.

Happy listening!

— Adam + the team

Our Workplace Mixtapes

Enjoy these playlists we’ve curated just for you:

High Energy Grooves 
Playful Hits
Reflective Moments

This month’s Check-In was adapted from a short instructional article I published at the Stanford d.school to help teachers leverage music more intentionally in the classroom. Shout out to Scott Doorley for his curation of some of the best music around (which we will forever pillage) and Scott Witthoft for his ongoing influence on our thinking about space and sound.

Adam Selzer