Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Headphone Tuneage at Work?


Peripheral vision. Subliminal hearing. Serendipitous encounters with co-workers.

Here is an article from the Harvard Business Review that points out the dangers of seeming to stay on task at an office, but cutting yourself off in the process from chit-chat, ambiance, intangibles, body language and so on around you. Plugging in your headphones and zoning out can prevent you from interacting with other people.


Here's a repost from one of the career blogs I follow. Interesting comment on this blog page: an adult with Asberger's says that listening in to all irrelevant office chit-chat can be highly distracting to the point of destroying his concentration.

Should you plug in at work? I guess it depends on the office you're in, what kind of task you're doing, and other factors--such as whether the person sitting one door down will be annoyed by your music, no matter how low you play it.

If there is the slightest possibility you'll miss some kind of cue to learn, interact, participate, respond, you'll want to suffer without the tuneage, at least if you're new, uncertain, or not entirely certain. You would never want to plug in while waiting for an interview, for example, no matter how relaxing it might feel to you--that would be sending the wrong message. If your co-workers and immediate supervisors don't seem music-and-tech oriented, you might want to avoid being the lone zone-out. You might seem to be implying that you'd rather be at Margaritaville with Jimmy Buffet than at work... and your boss might see fit to give you a permanent vacation.

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