In The Groove. The Headphone Worker Phenomenon

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House Headphone Rules
House Headphone Rules

Go to any office today and chances are you will find people beavering away with headphones on. And Working from home, headphones seem to be a must just to keep out the household background noise of dogs barking, kids fighting and if you live on a highway like me, rumbling trucks and Harley’s cruising past. But what about in the office or co-working space, are they necessary?

I was recently at Spacecubed and noticed that nearly all the occupants had their headphones on, and Spacecubed even goes so far as to have a headphones usage poster on their wall(see the feature picture).

So what’s with all this headphone wearing? What are they listening to? What are the benefits? Are there any downsides?  I set out to do some research.

Firstly, why are so many people doing it? The obvious is to listen to whatever is coming out of them. But maybe they are also blocking out external noises. What else could be the benefits. Maybe its a form of ‘do not disturb’ sign? Maybe it’s like wearing your own private office. A cone of silence sometimes?

So what are people listening to? Here’s a few responses I got.

  • Grooveshark, streaming music service with almost every song you can think of, free.
  • Stereo Mood, curated music and ambient sounds to get you into any mood.
  • iTunes Radio, well it’s built into a fair proportion of smart phones so why not.

If you are looking for a more comprehensive list check out this CNet review.

The types of audio listened to was equally diverse, podcasts, educational audio, language training, nothing at all(silence) and a whole host of music from pop to rap, screamo to transcendo(ok, I made that one up). On the downside, a couple of managers and co-workers I spoke to said it was sometimes annoying when you went to talk to someone, and they had small in-ear headphones on, or were hiding them under hair, and you were talking away to them and they had no idea you were even there.

So why do you wear headphones when your working? What do you listen to and from where? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.