TBS Muse

Singing: The New Office Yoga (Time to Resign?)

Thanks to a new UK study (and the Japanese), singing is the next great way to increase office productivity.


Office yoga, your time in the sun is over. According to a scientific study, interoffice singing is the new thing.

Lead researcher Dr. Eiluned Pearce (hailing from Oxford University) purported the findings of the study, claiming that greater bonding is gained through singing, that vulnerability manifests itself through trust. Dr. Pearce goes on to state, “Singing is found in all human societies and can be performed to some extent by the vast majority of people.”

Andrew McCrea, an executive at public relations firm PMBC Group, is an unabashed fan of the theory. He claims that regular karaoke evenings have stripped back the layer of pretense and boundaries within the workplace, birthing a creative utopia. Or, as he put it, “When everyone is distracted by the fun, no one is worried about looking foolish or what their co-workers might think of them. 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.”

The key to the theory is the rupturing of comfort zones, but doing so in a respectful manner. Or at least a similar level of performance. As a guideline and not a rule, let us turn to the kings of productivity (and karaoke engineers), the Japanese, who predictably have a set of rules to accompany your performance:

  1. You don’t need to sing well. Don’t get hung up on trying to actually hit the right notes. It’s all about having fun with your friends and choosing songs everybody likes.
  2. Don’t hog the mic. This is considered rude and annoying. Even if nobody’s calling up the next tune, pretend to look for songs in the menu or sip your drink. This is the Japanese practice of yuzuru (譲る – surrender; in this case, letting others go first).
  3. Don’t join in unless invited. Instead, wait until somebody hands you the mic.
  4. There’s no such thing as being too drunk to sing.

If you’re seeking an easy (and not exactly painless) way to increase productivity, attach your flock to a microphone stand and apply a power ballad. But know that you’d probably have to go first. And to those, the self-appointed jukeboxes of the office, continue to keep needling management for that karaoke night, armed with the knowledge that you may be on the fast track to greater things.

All thanks to your butchering of “Don’t Stop Believin’.”

If this is all a bit too much for you though, you could start the new year with a brand new job! But after hearing that some job interviews are involving questions such as, “If you were shrunk to the size of a pencil and put in a blender, how would you get out?” maybe a sing-a-long isn’t the worst thing to happen to us at work.

We asked some of the The Big Smoke’s staffers what are the weirdest questions they have ever been asked in an interview and the top three horrific questions were:

  1. “If you had to choose between going to the hospital for a burst appendix or meeting a deadline, which would you choose?”
  2. “Why exactly did you choose to answer this advertisement and accept our offer for an interview?” (Was that a trick question? I wanted to continue being able to pay my rent ….)
  3. “Would you date your manager, and, if you did, would you quit your job to preserve the relationship?” (Um, no.)


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