With the holidays approaching, music is everywhere. And if hitting the high notes in the privacy of your shower each morning raises your spirits for the day ahead, it stands to reason that singing in a workplace choir over your lunch hour can create the same sense of well-being.

The concept may have grown out of the popularity of television shows like Glee, American Idol or The X Factor. Popular British documentary program The Choir, which first aired in 2006, took on workplaces in its 2012 series, Sing While You Work, where companies such as Royal Mail Group Ltd., the Manchester Airports Group and Severn Trent Water competed for the title of best workplace choir.

Read: Metrolinx staff come together through holiday carolling program at Union Station

In Toronto, Daveed Goldman and Nobu Adilman founded Choir! Choir! Choir! in 2011 as a weekly drop-in singing session. “It’s kind of simple, but the best things always are. Singing is good for your health,” says Adilman. “It can connect you to yourself and, in a choir setting, to others around you. You instantly and, without realizing it, let go of a lot of baggage, temporarily losing yourself in the moment. It can be very relaxing and, in that state, you can gain a ton of perspective.”

Andy Guthrie, director of the Workplace Choir Co. Ltd. in Britain, notes group singing produces “happiness hormones,” as well as a reduction in the stress hormone cortisol. “It’s a time when people from all levels within an organization can come together, develop a new skill, get to know their colleagues better and see them in a different light,” says Guthrie. “Working together towards a common performance goal often means going out of your comfort zone, but a supportive environment overcomes this and develops the feeling of unity.”

Last year, Guthrie received a call from the manager of a workplace choir made up of cabin crew members at Gatwick Airport who said one of the staff had taken time off work for stress following an assault by a passenger. “She was not well at all and, after two weeks, the manager had spoken to her and there was little improvement,” he says. “We suggested that she come along to the choir practice anyway, even if she wasn’t at work. She did so and she was back at work the next day.”

Read: Why you should be forcing workplace colleagues to socialize more

The Workplace Choir Co. works with a number of British employers to bring choirs into their offices, including travel company TUI Group, public service union Unison and the University of Warwick. “If increased loyalty, well-being and engagement is important to an organization, the benefits are obvious,” says Guthrie, referring to what’s in it for the employer.

“Good employers tend to enjoy a healthy workforce,” says Adilman. “It’s in their best interests to create a healthy work environment, which isn’t all about bottom lines and quarterly targets. Investing in people’s well-being is always the way to go.”

Adilman and Goldman also lead corporate team-building sessions across North America where they show employee participants how being vulnerable leads to greater achievements, both personally and professionally. “We tell the Choir! Choir! Choir! story, we break down how two schluffs created a massive community builder and we get people on their feet to show them what happens when you let down your guard and sing,” says Adilman. “We’ve done it for all kinds of industries, from banking to tech.”

Read: Trust, involvement and developing staff the keys to boosting employee engagement

Copyright © 2022 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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