If you wear headphones at work you may feel they drown out distractions and help you focus. But headphones — whether you’re listening to music or not — also isolate you from your work environment and that can have negative consequences. When you’re cut off from the informal conversations going on around you, you miss out on the opportunity to contribute to meaningful discussions about work and form bonds with your colleagues. The more you participate in the ambient, informal life of the office, the more committed you’ll be to the work of the company. If you need intense focus, wear your headphones every once in a while. But don’t make it a habit.
Adapted from “Workers, Take Off Your Headphones” by Anne Kreamer.