Is there something inherently antisocial about wearing headphones?
It can be hard not to feel that way — or maybe we’re just imagining it. Most of us have put on a pair of headphones at one time or another to drown out the outside world and concentrate on something important.
However, Millennials seem to take this to a new level. Older generations may resent this trend and feel they’ve become part of the background noise being drowned out — but that’s not really the case. More and more, Millennials are merely turning to music to make their workdays more pleasant, because they can efficiently multi-task. But why is it so effective?
The New Modern Office Can Be A Noisy Place
Think you’ve soundproofed your office properly? Think again. Even reasonably calm offices can play host to loud noises, disruptions and a multitude of other unwelcome intrusions — none of which are good things when employees need to buckle down and focus during crunch time. Is it any wonder so many Millennials turn to headphones?
According to Digital Music News, the millennial generation listens to 75.1% more music on a daily basis than Baby Boomers. Indeed, this was the generation that heralded fundamental changes in how we listen to music in the first place, moving some of us from 8 track’s, records, and CDs to MP3s and now to unlimited streaming. Music has been important to every generation that came before, but Millennials are particularly captivated with it.
Interestingly, the Millennial obsession with music has resulted in what appears to be stronger emotional engagement, with Millennials listening to the same music for longer, as compared to our hit-hopping parents and grandparents, whose selections generally spent far less time on the sales charts than music does now under Millennial stewardship.
For Millennials, it makes sense an inherently stressful environment like a busy office benefits from the inclusion of something that tugs on their emotions and keeps their minds focused.
Managing Millennials and Their Music Mania
Don’t take it personally. Millennials love music and escapism — but they also love doing a great job on work that matters. If music helps them fulfill that mission, don’t begrudge them their tunes.
But if you’re a Millennial reading this, don’t bury your ears in your music and tune us back out — remember just one thing: making yourself available for conversation is one of the most important ways to open doors and stay connected to fellow office mates.
And like it or not, there’s still enough of an unconscious stigma about wearing headphones at work. Folks might assume you’re too busy for conversation or have chosen to make yourself unavailable. You might miss out on opportunities for new experiences, new friends and new work opportunities.
So, listen to music until your heart sings — but do it tactfully. Recognize your time is not only your own and the sonic wall you put up might sometimes get in the way of real human experiences.
Sherri Elliott-Yeary, CEO of Generational Guru, is an award-winning speaker, professional business consultant, and published author who energetically engages international audiences with her practical strategies for attracting, growing, and retaining top talent and loyal customers from every generation. Sherri brings over twenty years of hands-on experience to support you in designing generational solutions that address:
Cross-Generational Leadership Challenges
Generational Blind Spots in Sales
Effective Recruitment and Retention
Marketing to Millennials
For more information, please contact Sherri via email at email@example.com or text/call her at 469-971-3663.