Management by singing: the power of the office choir

Employees who sing together work better

Michael Fitzgerald By Michael Fitzgerald

And on the seventh day, God ended his work which he had made, and he rested….What does work make you think of? Certainly not rest and refreshment. It’s called work, after all.

Singing for their supper (Reuters)

From Britain comes a group that is trying to change how we look at the office. Music in Offices aims to use music to improve the workplace. It encourages workers to play music during the workday, and also to sing. One of its main goals is to get British office workers to form choirs.

Tessa Marchington, creator of Music in Offices,  wrote in the Spectator that “we have witnessed striking improvements in how companies interact with their customers – and, more importantly, in how employees interact with each other and with their communities.”

Such improvements come from singing’s effect on the brain, she said. It releases ‘happy chemicals’ like oxytocin and serotonin. “If we can get London to sing, I think the mental well-being of people in the city will be far better,” Marchington wrote.

One firm that participates told The Guardian that an office choir has certainly improved how people think about work.

“Music in Offices has been one of the most interesting and impact full morale-boosters I have experienced in 20 years with the firm,” Ben Resch, a partner at Deloitte, one of the world’s largest professional services companies, told The Guardian. He said more than 80 per cent of employees who sang reported a more positive attitude towards their work.

The Guardian noted that “Where once upon a time choral singing was a popular pastime which people would seek by strolling down to their local town hall, church or community centre, unsociable working hours, commutes and the pressures of recession leave little time for such activities in modern life.”

The Seven Dwarfs famously whistled while they worked. Maybe office workers can sing and turn work into a place that lifts the spirit as well pays the bills.

Hear the Deloitte choir in action:

 

  • Djeendjeen

    I’ve also read about the health benefits of “forest bathing” that is popular in Japan — shinrin-yoku. Can you investigate? http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17903349

    • mariabalinska

      Hi Djeendjeen, thanks for the suggestion. Forest bathing is well worth a closer look. The research is pretty persuasive – stress levels lowered, immune system boosted, anger reduced and so on. Have a read of our piece and let us know what you think. http://bit.ly/Iho3Sn