Why Office Singing May Be the Next Yoga
Don't worry if it's not good enough for anyone else to hear, just sing. You'll feel better.
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If you confine your singing to the shower, you may be missing out on one of the best opportunities to bond with your team. New research carried out by psychologists at the University of Oxford showed singing together is a powerful bonding behavior for adults.
The study, published in the journal Open Science, watched how strangers' relationships progressed over several months of several courses including creative writing, crafting and singing. Of the seven courses the participants engaged in, the singers bonded faster.
"Singing is found in all human societies and can be performed to some extent by the vast majority of people," said lead researcher Dr. Eiluned Pearce, in a release. In addition to strengthening social cohesion, singing has also been shown to ease stress. While many companies are embracing lunchtime yoga to promote employee health and mental well-being, some say the office choir may be the next big thing in employee wellness.
A bonding activity
Andrew McCrea, account executive at the Los Angeles-based public relations firm, PMBC Group, says office karaoke nights have helped the company's employees bond more deeply. Karaoke nights were originally done when the company brought on new team members as a way to introduce the team to one another but they soon realized singing together helped develop a sense of unity year round. "You learn to be vulnerable around your colleagues and develop a sense of trust," he says.
Related: Your Workplace Stress Is Killing You
Let creativity loose
Singing helps people loosen their inhibitions. "When everyone is distracted by the fun, no one is worried about looking foolish or what their co-workers might think of them," says McCrea. This translates into the workplace becoming a judgment-free zone, giving greater latitude for people to put forth "out there" ideas without worry of being judged. "Singing in front of one another has allowed us to truly create an office culture where no idea is stupid or bad, which has led to a ton of light bulb moments," says McCrea.
Lindsay Lapchuk, public relations manager at the Toronto-based company FreshBooks, says the company choir has helped increase inter-department cooperation. "Sharing passions brings people together from across the company," says Lapchuk. This translates into sharing of ideas across teams and promoting a cohesive company culture.
Reap the benefits of stepping out of your comfort zone
Letting loose at the office helps people be better at their jobs by experiencing the benefit of stepping out of their comfort zone. "It's important to develop and nurture a beginner's mindset," says Lapchuk. Getting out of your comfort zone promotes greater innovation, be more creative and allow yourself to see things in a new way.