A dose of song in a spare meeting room during lunch is the latest entrant in an array of methods being tried by companies to help employees feel part of a community.
Launched in 2010, Britain’s Office Choir of the Year competition now attracts more than 1000 singers from 40 companies, including multinational banks, law firms and consultancies. Deloitte took the top prize in 2017.
There’s yet to be a comparable program in Australia, but there is a growing interest in workplace choirs, from participants and also from organisations who see the benefits it brings.
Research conducted by Oxford University’s Experimental Psychology department in 2015 found that of a number of adults partaking in different education programs, it was the singers who bonded fastest.
“The difference between the singers and the non-singers appeared right at the start of the study,” research leader Dr Eiluned Pearce said.
“In the first month, people in the singing classes became much closer to each other over the course of a single class than those in the other classes did. Singing broke the ice better than other activities.”
Music, it seems, is a great leveller, energising staff and bringing people together from disparate parts of an organisation. It also provides an opportunity for people who are less inclined to join corporate sports events or fitness challenges to still feel included in the workplace community.