Listening to Music at Work: How to Avoid Annoying Others

Listening to music at work

Albert Einstein once said, “If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music.”

Listening to music at work can help you focus instead of getting frustrated as you approach that next financial reporting deadline. “Thinking in music” can also help you come up with new ideas on the job because it sparks innovation, as it seems to have done for Einstein.

The question isn’t so much whether you listen to music at work, but how. And what do your coworkers think about the activity?

10 Tips for Listening to Music at Work

As you don your earbuds or headphones, keep these quick tips in mind:

  • Keep the volume low so only you can hear your tunes.
  • Take off your headphones from time to time to give your ears a break and let others know you’re available.
  • Make sure you're not rocking out so hard you can't hear the phone ring or someone calling your name.
  • Avoid songs with explicit lyrics, just in case others can overhear.
  • Save the air guitar and desktop drumming for home.
  • Find a better way to ask for a raise than by serenading your boss.
  • Don't distract your colleagues by singing, humming or lip syncing.
  • Only listen to online stations if it’s OK with your company’s IT team.
  • Create several playlists so you can match your music to your mood.
  • Above all, control your groove and keep the dancing to a minimum.

Perhaps more than anything, listening to music at work can give you a shot in the arm as powerful as any espresso.

Good music not enough?

If the music can't get you through the workday, that COULD be a sign you need a job that's a better fit.


Check Our Current Job Listings


Need some music to get pumped?

Check out these songs the next time you’re looking for some musical inspiration.

“We Will Rock You” by Queen


“Firework” by Katy Perry


“Let’s Get it Started” by Black Eyed Peas


“Out of the Woods” by Taylor Swift


“Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor


Editor's note: This post was originally published in February 2014 and has been updated to reflect current information.