Radios In The Workplace

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about radio stations:

Can one listen to radio stations at work?

Signed, Wondering

Dear Wondering:

We have several questions in our archives about the use of radios or other music at work. Most workplaces have rules about music, and those usually involve requirements about not disturbing others, not distracting from work, not creating a safety problem or other issues related to the type of work and the work setting. One opinion is that work is for work and not for entertainment. If someone says they don’t really hear the music, then they don’t need it. If they like to listen to the music and the ads and the talking by the announcer, then they are being distracted from work, even if just a little bit.Another opinion is that for work can be made more enjoyable with background music. And, it can be pointed out that most stores have music in the background, so why not offices or other settings?

The counter view is that office work usually involves specific focus on computers, filing, scientific work or whatever. And other settings may require focus on safety requirements or the ability to clearly hear everything in the area. So, the bottom line is that the nature of the work and the impact on those around the listener are the key factors to consider. Ear buds aren’t the answer because they tend to shut the listener off from the rest of the office interaction.

If this is being argued in your workplace, make an effort to look at every viewpoint. Keep your focus on what will have the best or worst effect on work and the ability of everyone to concentrate as they need.Also, keep the reality of work expectations in mind. Few people would have turned down the job if they had been told they couldn’t listen to the radio after they were hired. Most people have plenty of hours in the day away from work to listen to music if that is something they enjoy. If work seems boring without music, maybe putting more into the work is the answer! Best wishes as you and your workplace decide about this issue.

Tina Lewis Rowe