It’s a well-known fact that music has the ability to bring people together – whether it’s bonding over the nostalgia of an old favourite song, or sharing the energy of a live performance, people feel connected to others through music.
It’s a great opportunity to look at the role of music in the workplace, and how we can use music to build strong communities within our organisations. Strong communities in turn can lead to shared values, attitudes and beliefs, which are the backbone of company culture.
Here are some things to try
If you’re dealing with zoom (or teams or meets or webex) fatigue like everyone else in the world, here’s an interesting way to make meetings more fun and engaging. At the start (or end) of every large team meeting (such as all hands) spend five minutes on a musical game, activity or sing-along. They not only help reset attention spans by getting people up and moving, but fun, silly songs can help people get over inhibitions and work better together.
One of the biggest challenges of working from home is making up for the lost camaraderie that exists in a physical workspace. How do we get people to feel part of a team that they don’t meet or interact with outside of endless meetings? As an activity, teams can create their own musical playlists (on apps like Spotify or YouTube), and use these playlists to show their team spirit or even share their moods. Team Playlists are a great way for people to collaborate outside of regular work, and find commonalities. You can keep adding to playlists, or create new playlists every month. Knowing that your colleagues are listening to the same playlist can help create a sense of connection even if you aren’t listening at the same time. Share playlists across teams too, and see what different groups come up with.
Virtual Live concerts
In the good old days of 2019 and before, large companies would often hold concerts on campus, and invite popular acts to perform for employees. Many companies have continued to do this in the virtual format, with great results. Many popular bands are willing to have private virtual concerts for companies and their employees, and this shared high energy experience where people get to interact with the artists creates a great bond between employees.
While working from home, the line between work and home life gets blurry, and many people struggle to find time for themselves. One way to help team members pursue their non-work interests (and still build community) is by organising group music classes for employees to take together. They could even be scheduled at a particular time in the evening to signal the end of the workday, and to transition people back into some semblance of work life balance.
Find the musical talent within your organization! The last Friday of every month can have some time set aside for performances from in-house bands and solo acts. If you don’t know who has hidden talents, you could have open mic evenings or karaoke evenings, and create a platform for your own performers.
If you have in-house talent, try to form a company band that can regularly perform for company events. If you have a lot of talent, have multiple bands and regular concerts!
Family friendly events
Since everyone is working from home, try organising family friendly events like virtual concerts and music classes, and encourage team members to bring their families. Making families a part of fun and happy shared experiences through work only strengthens employees’ positive associations with the company.