Are AirPods good or bad for office culture? Small business owners share their views

UK newswire, Newspage, asked a selection of business owners, from HRs and marketers to mortgage brokers and IFAs, whether wearing AirPods in the office is anti-social, hindering creativity and team work, or is essential to help staff concentrate. They share their views below:

John Lamerton, Author and Lifestyle Business owner at Big Ideas… for Small Businesses, stated “Small businesses thrive on creativity. Staff shrinking into their own worlds wearing headphones kills the sharing of ideas and innovation. The only time I would advise the use of headphones is for the purpose of deep work, namely when avoiding interruptions and distractions are key to the work. I’ve written all my books with white noise playing in my ears for this exact reason.”

Ben Foster, CEO at The SEO Works, stated “Wearing headphones in the office should be an entirely personal decision. With lots of background noise and discussion in many offices, wearing headphones can often help staff concentrate on a piece of work. People have commented that when they need to get into “grindset” mode, blocking external distractions with headphones helps with focus. It also signals to others that interruptions aren’t desirable at that point in time. As long as people aren’t wearing them all day long, then I don’t believe they are anti-social.”

 
 

Scott Gallacher, Director at Rowley Turton, stated “In today’s bustling office environments, employers must understand their staff’s needs and cultivate a supportive atmosphere for maximum productivity. Acknowledging the benefits of wearing headphones, particularly in noisy office settings, we have granted permission for our employees to use them to enhance concentration. As long as our staff members demonstrate their competence and consistently meet the required work standards, we emphasize accommodating their comfort and respecting their personal music preferences, whether Beethoven or Beyoncé. Our primary focus remains on fostering an environment that promotes optimal performance while valuing individual work styles and choices.”

Riz Malik, Founder & Director at R3 Mortgages, stated “My noise-cancelling headphones are an essential component of my work process, especially when I am researching cases. Everyone has their own way to be most productive, and when you are engaged in an independent project, it’s key that you can adjust your environment to one that best enhances your productivity.”

Gindy Mathoon, Senior Mortgage Broker at Create Finance, stated “We promote the use of headphones in the office. A lot of the new headphones used by our staff have noise cancellation, which allows the team to concentrate whilst on a call and block out any background noise and distraction. We also promote walking away from the office during the working day and listening to music, which is great for mental health.”

 
 

Emmi Kavander, CEO & Founder at Kavanders & Co., stated “When an employer, for whatever reason, doesn’t provide employees with their own space for working, it must acceptable for employees to create their own space for their minds through headphones.”

Sarah Newland, Head of Operations at Meraki House, stated “We think it’s narrow-minded to assume that everyone works in the same way. Every job role has different criteria as well just like every individual has different personal requirements. Would it be inappropriate for a front-of-house staff member to wear headphones? Yes, probably. But if an individual in the creative department who needs to get their head down for a few hours needs music to concentrate, that should always be their choice. Someone else in the account management department might need complete silence to put a proposal together. Create a culture where you get the best from your team by treating them as individuals and you’ll get the best from them for the benefit of growth in your business.”

Craig Webb, Company Owner at Webb Marketing, stated “The allure of headphones is compelling. They’ve been my companions for engaging podcasts and focus-boosting binaural beats. However, I oppose their place in the workplace. Regrettably, they’ve become inadvertent barriers, broadcasting a “do not disturb” signal. Recalling my days as a hotel manager, I would often see housekeeping staff donning them. While I’m an advocate for multi-tasking and efficiency, the unprofessional aesthetic and potential distraction cannot be overlooked. At work, our primary commitment should be to the task at hand. Headphones, unfortunately, create a divide, potentially compromising work quality. It’s crucial to encourage a workspace where human interaction and undivided attention are valued.”

 
 

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