Office Melodies: Listening to Music at Work

by Katie Goodell


How are the cool kids listening to music these days?

Well, I suppose I shouldn’t speak for all the cool kids, but let me tell you how we Pivoteers in the Portland office are jamming out lately. Here’s a quick guide to help you more enjoyably listen to music while you’re at the office – a step up from whistling while you work.

Of course there are certain jobs or tasks in which listening to music while you work is near impossible, and others where music adds to morale and productivity. And of course there are certain people who can’t handle background music playing while others can’t stand silence and can’t feel relaxed or productive until songs are turned on. If you work in a shared office space like many of us at Pivot Portland, you quickly learn which coworkers need tunes and who needs their peace and quiet. So be a coworker you’d like to have and be conscientious of your desk mates!

First, speaking of being considerate of our coworkers, get some good headphones. Or turn down the volume. I know your music is the best, but if you’re in a shared office space (or even your own office with thin walls), there’s no reason to broadcast a cappella Christmas favorites (in March) or Katy Perry’s new album (anytime) to your coworkers. The headphones that came with your smartphone are okay… but if you can set your headphones down on your desk and still hear the lyrics of the song, either your music is too loud or you might need to invest in more higher quality headphones. It’s for the sake of your lovely coworkers.

Next, how will we find what we want to listen to? We’ve moved beyond the radio, past our CD players (some of our new computers don’t even have CD drives built in anymore) and are settled in the world of digitally streaming music. While it is impressive that you have the complete U2 collection in your iTunes (even those live albums!), it’s probably not appropriate to have your entire iTunes library on your work computer. Try out some digital music libraries, like GrooveShark (introduced to me during my first month at Pivot by Mr. Erik Doescher),, or (the Pivot Portland favorite) Spotify. Many radio stations offer a digital live feed in addition to their airwave presence. Try Monica Santi’s favorite All-Classical Portland for relaxing non-lyrical music. Beware: streaming music can take up company bandwidth, so check with your network administrator to make sure it’s alright.

The next step will only work if your coworkers are as cool as mine are. Every so often, headphones are annoying and make me feel closed off from the world, and shoot – maybe it’s Friday afternoon and I just want to listen to loud music and bob my head along. We need music played loud for all to hear! At Pivot, we’ve taken a liking to the speaker quality of the 27-inch Mac monitors (thanks design team!) and a Spotify app called SoundDrop. Their tagline is “Listen to music you love with people you like.” The app lets different users add songs to one common playlist and then we can play it aloud – like taking turns being the DJ. Great way to collaborate, hear some new music, and learn more about your coworkers in the process!  If you use SoundDrop as an app on Spotify or want to try it out, tune into our channel: Pivot PDX.

Finally, we’ve compiled a playlist about work and play that you can enjoy while you’re doing one of the above. Take a look at these Portland Pivoteers’ selections.  Happy listening!

Alixandra Bowman (Project Manager) – “Takin’ Care of Business” by Bachman Turner Overdrive
Steve Boespflug (Research Director) – “Finest Worksong” by R.E.M.
Monica Santi (Senior Marketing Consultant) – “9 to 5” by Dolly Parton
Jessica Lyon (Graphic Designer) – “Overkill” by Men At Work
Katie Goodell (Marketing Coordinator) – “Don’t Gotta Work it Out” by Fitz and the Tantrums
Ian Doescher (Director of Nonprofit Marketing) – “I Go To Work” by Kool Moe Dee
Rachel Getsinger (Senior Designer) – “Drinks After Work” by Toby Keith
Mark Fordice (Principal) – “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straights, “We Can Work It Out” by The Beatles, “Manic Monday” by The Bangles

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  1. Nambot Music says:

    Great post, thanks for sharing. 🙂

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