HR Grapevine - Why are more staff wearing headphones at work?

An extract from another interesting article from Jade Burke at HR Grapevine regarding Productivity. 

It’s no surprise to see so many employees using their headphones to listen to music to help assist with concentration in the office.

Listening to music is a popular tool sought to maintain productivity, as Workthere recently discovered that 24% of office-based HR and recruitment workers say that the addition of music can increase their overall productivity.

As more and more business opt for an open-plan office, workers can sometimes feel the need to block out distractions and build their imaginary personal cubical by using their set of headphones.

For example, in 2012 Sue Shellenbarger wrote in The Wall Street Journal: “The trend toward open office design, with low or no partitions and lots of glass walls, can increase distractions and has made headphones more popular.

“Projected 2012 unit sales of headphones and earphones are up 41% since 2008, the Consumer Electronics Association says, and many of those new purchases will wind up at the office.”

An open-plan office can make it difficult for employees to switch off and focus on their tasks, with the constant buzz of other things going on, such as visitors arriving, phones ringing and general office chit-chat; headphones help cut that out and help to create some privacy.

What can HR do to help?

If your company uses an open-plan office try not to ban the usage of headphones throughout the working day. As research has suggested, the use of headphones can in fact improve concentration, so it is worth ensuring that your HR policy allows them, so employees aren’t afraid to ‘plug-in’.

Alternatively, consider introducing break-out rooms or pods where workers can move to if they feel they need some time to shut out the office ‘noise’ to help them finish a task or come up with some creative ideas.

According to Quartz, Joe Munoz CTO at URWelcome Technologies, said: “Open offices are less than ideal creative spaces. I do my best work home alone in the peace and quiet.” It’s therefore crucial that HR make suitable changes within the office to cater to everyone’s needs.

With the increasing developments in tech, it has never been easier for employees to work remotely or from home. Offering this benefit up to once a week will allow staff to save intense tasks when they are working on a remote basis, when they will be able to block out distractions and work in an environment that they favour.

HR Grapevine - Why are more staff wearing headphones at work?.