Listen to music at work? How not to annoy your co-workers

WASHINGTON — Most companies allow office workers to listen to music while they do their work — only 9 percent have strict policies against it, according to an Accountemps survey — and for those who do, it helps with motivation but it can also be an annoyance for co-workers.

Headphones put office workers in their own zone, and makes them less aware of what is going on around them. It can make it a challenge to easily get their attention.

Accountemps advises keeping headphone volumes at a reasonable level so workers are still aware of office activity, especially if working in a collaborative setting.

And don’t be annoying.

“Don’t sing out loud, hum or follow along with the tunes that you’re listing to, don’t play the music so loud that others can hear what you’re listening to, and don’t abuse the privilege,” Trey Barnette at Accountemps told WTOP.

And save the air guitar and desk drumming for home.

Why do workers want to listen to music while working?

Is this the survey?

“For the most part, people in the survey said it does motivate them and inspire them to do more work,” Barnette said.

“It makes them more focused. Some said it reduces the levels of anxiety and depression and people said it blocks out distractions,” he said.

It is not Mozart or Bach that’s motivating music-listening office workers. Pop, rock and country top the list.

Accountemps surveyed more than 1,000 employees who are working in an office environment.

It doesn’t always have the desired effect, with 6 percent of those surveyed admitting that listening to music at the office makes them less productive.

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to engage in conversation about this article and others.

© 2018 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

Federal News Network Logo

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up