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Why a 15-minute music quiz makes my day more productive

Greg Devine


Yellow vintage radio on yellow background. 3d illustration

I personally think the Radio 2 music quiz is brilliant. I still remember my first week at Novus Marketing Solutions/ITK…I was slightly nervous, and though it wasn’t the first workplace I’d been part of, it was my first time in an office environment (at least for the digital sector).

I found myself working amid a room full of people very different to myself who, back then, I didn’t know anything about. I’ve always been taught that first impressions are incredibly important, and this was no different just because I was on placement.

That first morning was relatively straightforward. I had the obligatory health and safety documents to complete, and I spent the first hour or so setting up relative accounts on the computer in order to do my work. Then the morning break came.

We didn’t all gather around the water cooler, and the office didn’t empty as people rushed outside for a nicotine hit. No, everyone in the office dropped everything to listen to Pop Master. What a brilliant opportunity this was to break the ice! It turns out that, as an office, we take the quiz quite seriously (printing out the official score sheets and everything!). We’re competitive and everyone strives to achieve a decent collective score. When I got a question correct, I instantly felt like I was part of the team. The quiz effectively forced me to come out of my shell and work collaboratively.

A couple of months down the line, and I couldn’t imagine not suspending work at 10:30am. After the morning rush, it’s the perfect time of day to recharge; it gives us all the opportunity to stop, make a brew, unwind for a short time, then get going again. Without it, I don’t think my day would be as productive. Some mornings can feel quite disorganised; people are coming in and out at different times, and I can often start my day not knowing exactly what I’m required to do. By the time Pop Master starts, I’ve got a plan of action and made a start on my tasks.

Carefree diverse office workers having fun during work break, employees coworkers feeling free laughing playing together

Carefree diverse office workers having fun during work break, employees coworkers feeling free laughing playing together

The collaborative quiz and musical interlude seem to stimulate a different part of my mind and they really help with my imagination. I feel so much more refreshed after Pop Master. Using my memory instead of my ingenuity to complete the quiz, in my opinion, feels like the creative side of my brain gets a little break and the chance to wake up. It almost feels like a mini reset.

Going back to a task after this interval also means that I can look at it from a different angle to before. This means, whilst I may not continue with my original idea, the finished piece of work will be of a better standard. I’ve tried to find some ideology or scientific insights to back up my theory, but I can’t find anything on this topic—not that it really matters. Even if this effect is purely a placebo, it works for me, and that’s the important thing.

One thing science can prove is the benefits that come from having a drink during this short break. Our bodies need to be well-hydrated to work effectively; if you don’t keep up your fluid intake, you could stunt your creativity. Studies have shown that even mild dehydration can cause much lower brain function. In multiple studies, participants reported feeling increasingly drowsy; they also claimed they felt unhappy, and tasks confused them more easily.

This is why I believe Pop Master is so integral to our office environment at Novus Marketing Solutions/ITK. It brings us all together, it gives us all a much-needed recharge, and it’s also a good bit of fun in the morning. It may not work across all environments, but for us, as a company, Pop Master enhances the already great environment we work in.

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