Are you allowed to listen to music in your lab? The question was posed on NSH’s Histology Professionals Facebook page, generating over 100 comments. For the most part, histologists seem to be all for it, yet there are still some workplaces that do not allow it. There are plenty of legitimate concerns that prevent labs from letting their techs rock out, an obvious one being safety; always a concern in the histology laboratory. Awareness of surroundings, being able to hear a fire alarm, paying attention to the machines, is a primary reason many hospitals disapprove.
Another common concern is the social dynamic of the workplace. Headphones can discourage talking, (which for many headphone advocates is precisely the point!), but it can also create a culture of isolated work. A communal radio on the other hand can inspire its own workplace divisions, with disagreement over genre, volume, and explicit lyrics.
That being said, the majority of histologists and their higher ups have compromised, settling for headphones with one earbud in or a speaker at a low volume at your workstation, allowing for music, without complete obliviousness. Those that choose a radio, set standards for what is appropriate to listen to, and rotate who chooses the station.
The majority of labs, and many studies on music in the workplace, have found that having something to listen to resulted in higher productivity and reduced the monotony of routine tasks. If you are looking for some workplace listening suggestions, without the complications of music taste, check out these science podcasts that your whole lab can get behind:
· Science Friday: A live podcast Friday’s from 2-4PM covering a variety of science topics
Comment your thoughts on music in the lab (and any podcast listening suggestions!) below!