Singing with fellow employees reduces work stress, research suggests

Psychologists urge companies and other organisations to encourage participation in staff singing groups.

The seven dwarfs had the right idea as they cheerfully sang “heigh-ho” on their way to work in Walt Disney’s classic adaptation of Snow White, according to psychologists.

Singing with work mates reduces stress and makes employees feel more supported by their colleagues, research suggests.

Scientists studied a total of 58 people working in a variety of organisations who attended choir sessions at their workplace.

Participants also completed questionnaires measuring their work-related demands, control and support.

Team member Joanna Foster, from the University of Leicester, said: “Previous research has found that group singing can improve physical and mental health. Our study investigated whether singing with colleagues in a workplace choir can reduce workplace stress and enhance feelings of support.

“We found that participants felt less stressed about their work and more socially connected after singing. In fact, they gained more support from the choir than from other social interactions at work.

“Overall, there was a 96% reduction in work-related stress and an 86% reduction in feelings of social isolation.”

The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the British Psychological Society’s Division of Occupational Psychology in Chester.

Ms Foster added: “Singing is fun and free, or relatively cheap if organised by a third-party provider.

“Organisations should seriously consider encouraging their staff to regularly participate in singing groups to improve well-being, engagement and potentially job performance.”

Walt Disney’s 1937 movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first full length animated feature film. It featured a number of well-known songs, including  “heigh-ho”.

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