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to think that people should not wear headphones and listen to music in the office

(179 Posts)
Jewels234 Sat 19-Jul-14 12:17:52

I work in a very large open plan office, where we sit in individual teams.

More and more people are putting in headphones and listening to music all day...and it's driving me insane! You can hear the 'tsk tsk tsk' noise of their music (I really don't want to be the grumpy one who asks them to turn it down). And if you need to ask a question you look like a complete idiot repeating their name until they realise they are being spoken to.

I know I can't change it...and probably am BU, but it feels unprofessional and unsociable. Also, hearing faint music constantly is so irritating. I can't beat do I join them?

Vintagejazz Mon 21-Jul-14 12:37:29

I have no problem with people listening to music with headphones. I used to work in a room where one of the girls just listened to music on her speakers. She got highly indignant when I asked for it to be switched off and very grudgingly agreed to turn it down. Mind you, she was also one of those people who listens to all her phone messages on speaker, has her mobile set to a very loud ringing tone and speaks very loudly herself on the phone.
I eventually got moved to a different room!

OfaFrenchMind Mon 21-Jul-14 10:22:05

I work in an open space with lovely but sometimes loud people. Headphones are necessary! Plus The music can really get me going when working on models and templates. Give me a rhythm and a headspace to completely focus. If somebody wants to talk to me, they can touch my shoulder or send me a quick internal msn message.

PenelopeLane Mon 21-Jul-14 02:58:16

My money's on the guy who "didn't hear the alarm" just thinking it was a drill and not wanting to get up from his desk ...

OddFodd Sun 20-Jul-14 22:24:28

Really? Someone couldn't hear your fire alarm because their music was so loud? Really?

I agree with pp - you need to review your procedures.

GnomeDePlume Sun 20-Jul-14 22:21:06

Exactly Petula, our fire wardens are not expected to amble out, chatting, with everyone else.

I think that you should be reviewing your fire policy WeAllHaveWings. It is irrelevant that the person had on headphones. He could just as easily have been hard of hearing. Your office's poor approach to fire alarms is the problem.

PetulaGordino Sun 20-Jul-14 21:59:07

do your fire wardens not sweep after? ours check the loos etc and leave last.

WeAllHaveWings Sun 20-Jul-14 21:53:42

Fire alarm went off, everyone gets up and starts walking out, chatting as you do (when there's no visible flames) didn't notice this guy wasn't coming as he's around a pillar a bit from us and we weren't paying attention. Guy who had earphones in isnt part of our team, thought we were all getting up to go to a meeting. Fire alarm is a standard siren alarm.

Fire wardens did role call outside and it was then noticed someone was missing.

randall "Bit heavy-handed to throw the baby out with the bath water." hmm yeah - It would ONLY be one person who died if it had been a real fire.

OddFodd Sun 20-Jul-14 21:47:47

Obviously there is music playing through the headphones - Bach usually from what I can hear. It's very quiet though and he can hear you talk to him while it plays

OddFodd Sun 20-Jul-14 21:45:09

I forgot to mention this earlier - DS has sensory processing disorder and dyspraxia and one of the therapies his occupational therapist uses with him is wearing headphones while he concentrates - particularly on things he finds especially difficult. It's a very well-tested theory.

Many of us seek sensory input to help us concentrate - it's why we doodle, jiggle a leg or click a pen in meetings. That sensory input helps us concentrate on what we're listening to. Obviously, that doesn't apply to everyone but to dismiss it as having fun on the company's time is really quite an ignorant attitude I'm afraid.

PenelopeLane Sun 20-Jul-14 21:44:29

I agree with Star that ear plugs are far worse than headphones!

IAmNotDarling Sun 20-Jul-14 20:15:41

I work in a very highly technical professional job where I have to concentrate in order to process what I'm doing. I sit surrounded by people who need to talk to do their jobs.

I'm in an open plan office with no means of escape. Low music helps me tune out of what is going on around me.

I'm happy, my work is happy and the people around me don't have to worry about disturbing me. Solution all around.

For those of you who think this is ridiculous - music had been shown to increase concentration levels.

If I work with any of you I'm the cheerful one in the corner - say my name and I'll take out my earphones and talk to you.

LoveBeingInTheSun Sun 20-Jul-14 18:01:49

I now work in an office where some do this, many because of the noise distraction of others. I have a couple of times and it does help. Even done it with the same song on repeat

GnomeDePlume Sun 20-Jul-14 17:58:08

The problem with the fire alarm is that the fire warden for the office didnt notice that someone was still sat at their desk.

Unless of course the management were using this as an excuse for banning headphones. Of course management wouldnt pull a stunt like that would they?

Andrewofgg Sun 20-Jul-14 17:52:47

In any case if the fire-alarm rings and somebody does not notice you pull the headphones or earplugs out and shake them.

RandallFloyd Sun 20-Jul-14 17:26:31

How loud would your headphones need to be to drown out a fire alarm?!
I'd say that was more of an issue with the fire alarm personally.

Or maybe an issue with that person somehow not noticing every single other person had left the building.
I'm presuming all the other people with earphones in managed to hear it, if s/he was the only one left at their desk.

Bit heavy-handed to throw the baby out with the bath water.

YouAreMyFavouriteWasteOfTime Sun 20-Jul-14 17:00:55

star - I think sticking anything in your ears at work is a fairly negative statement about your coworkers.

the whole 'it helps me concentrate argument' sounds very execusie!

WeAllHaveWings Sun 20-Jul-14 16:32:35

Never liked them in an office environment as they are extremely antisocial and put people in the position of having to ask others to turn down.

I had someone sitting close to me and we would almost daily have the same conversation - can you turn it down please - how's that? - I can still hear it - how's that then? - nope still can hear it - really? - yes - how's that? - repeat......

Personally would preferably a radio but respect that others don't like music whie working.

Earphones have recently be banned in our workplace because someone was left sitting oblivious at their desk during a fire drill. I have heard other workpLaces have banned for h&s reasons too.

stardusty5 Sun 20-Jul-14 16:25:05

Youaremy - i think that earplugs may come across more as a PA statement against your noisy colleagues than headphones, especially in a smaller office.

With headphones, if asked you can always say that music helps you to concentrate rather than simply saying that you are irritated by them.

Catmint Sun 20-Jul-14 16:21:40

My team listen to things on their headphones when they really need to focus in on a piece of work. It's fine with me as their performance is very good, and they don't wear them when the tasks aren't suited.

YouAreMyFavouriteWasteOfTime Sun 20-Jul-14 16:20:19

also if the problem is noisy colleagues, the solution is ear plugs. I have a pair which are really comfortable and cost about £15.

superbagpuss Sun 20-Jul-14 16:19:31

I'm generation y, just

I has music during coursework, exam revision for GCSE, a levels, degree and professional qualifications - when doing something long and manual it stops me going insane, getting bored and time wasting or getting distracted by other people

I only have one ear in, so if someone calls me I can hear

I get approx one phone call a month, but work in a busy open plan office

being able to listen to music while doing my job is one of the few things that keep me sane, but I make sure I'm not bothering anyone else around me

stardusty5 Sun 20-Jul-14 16:18:54

I have recently started wearing headphones in the office as I work with a woman who commentates everything she is doing. "Ooh what's this email here..... Mmm right yep, no problem, now where's my diary, just pop that down there....." I like her a lot but it does my head in.

GnomeDePlume Sun 20-Jul-14 16:12:08

I think is down to management & teams themselves to find a good balance on

I agree. At some point I am going to have to put my big girl pants on and explain to my boss that the reason I want to wear headphones is that she is the problem. Tutting and sighing at every noise louder than a whisper when she is trying to concentrate. Then twittering when she is just pretending to be busy.

Alternatively I could stab her with my biro and bury her body in the stationery cupboard.

hollycomputer Sun 20-Jul-14 16:10:43

I often listen to music on headphones in the office when I need to concentrate or the voice of the annoying woman near me grates too much. My headphones are noise cancelling so no-one else can hear, plus I keep it at a level that if someone spoke to me, I'd be able to hear.

slightlyglitterstained Sun 20-Jul-14 16:06:02

Agreed that it can discourage communication, which is really not a good thing. I think that IMs can help that though, plus (in my area) encouraging people to pair on work, and being very clear that nobody is uninterruptible, because that harms the team's progress for the sake of one individual (if someone is always interrupted because they're the only person who knows X, well it's damn well time they passed that knowledge on and we'll support them to do so). It's something I think is down to management & teams themselves to find a good balance on.

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