The holidays are here, and for many employees it means the same short list of holiday songs played on repeat loop all day long, for weeks on end. Now some psychologists are warning that all this repetitious, 24/7 holiday musical cheer could be hurting employees' mental health!
Holiday music can put customers in the right buying mindset, but too much holiday music exposure can send employees right up the wall. It's easy to see why many employee could feel a bit at loose ends by mid-December. They are a captive audience to the same old holiday songs, played all day long, over and over again, for up to two months.
Pipedown, a British group that seeks more silence in public, estimates that some store employees will hear "Jingle Bells" blaring over the workplace speakers up to 300 times before Christmas Day. Do you hear what I hear, indeed.
Where can employees go to escape another round of "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"? They can't leave the sales floor, and they can't get their festive co-worker to stop humming Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" for the twentieth time today, either.
So frustrated employees do the next best thing: They go their happy place! Consider this article in Britain's The Daily Mail:
But staff, who have to listen to the songs over and over again throughout their shifts, have to 'tune out', says clinical psychologist Linda Blair. "Music goes right to our emotions immediately and it bypasses rationality," she told Sky News.
"People working in the shops at Christmas have to tune out Christmas music because if they don't, it really does stop you from being able to focus on anything else."
Her concern for workers - who have no choice but to endure hours of Jingle Bells and All I want For Christmas Is You - is one that is also shared by the union USDAW.
They said: "We ask employers to consider the staff who have to listen to Christmas music all day, because playing the same songs repeatedly can become very irritating and distracting."
I've known a few people who will be leaving the room (or changing the station, ahem) by December 15 whenever Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmas Time" starts playing, because they just can't take it anymore. It was fine for awhile, but now...not so much. The mood is right, the spirit's up, we're here tonight, and I've had enough! TURN IT OFF!
Instead of a box of holiday chocolates, employers can give employees what they really want this holiday season: a big box store of quiet! It's the gift that keeps on giving, because if employees are in good spirits, then they might be more likely to feel the spirit of the holiday season.
Another idea: why not mix in a heavy dose of non-holiday music between the random holiday songs? A ratio of five non-holiday songs to one holiday song is about right. This way, stores can work in a few holiday selections, customers will like the holiday songs that come on, and employees won't have to tune out completely. There's just enough cheer for everyone involved.
Moderation is the key. And with that, this blog post is a wrap with a big bow on top.