Breaking The Sound Barrier – Headphones At Work

Headphones at work

We’ve all had that moment in the workplace where the overwhelming noise, or lack of, becomes an irritant. Most people can’t simply pack up their workspace and move to somewhere quieter, but many choose to simply plug in some headphones and play something that appeases them.

The reason for the increasing use of headphones can be linked to the rise of open place offices. While before, employees could get a break from the noise or constant talking by having walls that separated their cubicle from others, now employees are constantly exposed to a bombardment of noise from all areas.

As such, it can become too much for many people and lead to lower productivity levels, which many try to combat by simply putting headphones in. There is no legal or health and safety regulations that ban personal headphones in the workplace however, so it can often be up to the business to decide to regulate their use.

Headphones Can Help To Improve Productivity

Listening to music, or podcasts, may not be to everyone’s taste in the workplace. But there are plenty of studies that back up the claim that music can help employees to concentrate on their work, which is why many places often have a radio playing. Silence can often be as distracting as too much noise!

Younger workers are perhaps more likely to listen to music with headphones than their older compatriots. This makes sense when you consider that many millennials have literally grown up listening to music that is easily accessible on hand. A study in 2016 found that millennials were found to listen to 75% more music daily.

How Can Workplaces Cope With Headphones?

While it may be a way to avoid distraction for those who use them, the use of headphones can prove to be an annoyance for many people in the workplace. This is because the use of headphones can drown out unwanted noise, but it also can make people unaware of what is happening around them or when their attention is needed.

If the task is something that listening to music will not cause any major issues, then managers can perhaps devise a way to catch someone’s attention. This may be something as simple as gesturing to catch the person’s attention, or even using an email or instant messaging to let them know that you would like to talk to them verbally.

It’s important that workplaces deal with the issue carefully, as not being allowing workers to find their own ways to cope with noise in the office can lead to lower levels of productivity. But at the same time, workers need to make sure that they co-operate with their colleagues to make sure that they are not isolating themselves.

Do you like to use headphones will you’re working in the office? What are your thoughts on this, should employees be allowed to use them or not? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Sarah Jubb

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