HRSINGAPORE Community Discussions

Working Attitude - Update 2 (Replies)


Hi HR Practitioners,

I have a manager who is always on headphones listening to music during working hour and I told him that he not suppose to do so but he mentioned there is no policy state that he cannot use headphone during working hour. Please advise whether we have to state all terms in policy and how should I handle this employee like give him the warning letter?




In the first place, why is there a need for this manager to NOT be on headphones? Safety concern (e.g. manufacturing/ factory environment)? If safety is a concern then perhaps you can include this into the employee handbook and also paste/ hang posters around the office regarding no usage of headphones during working hours.

As long as it does not affect the person's work performance and doesn't hinder in him/ her answering phone calls directed to him/ her, then I don't think HR should even be telling him/her not to use headphones. This is just a matter of personal preference and it sounds so autocratic to control to such an extent.

Some people just work better listening to music and I think it's also quite considerate that he/ she is listening to music via headphones rather than blasting music in the office which may affect other colleagues.




If the management agrees, HR can issue an email to remind employees not to use headphones at work.




Have you highlighted this issue to his Supervisor/HOD to handle him? Or report to your top management’s attention? You could add it in the Employee’s Handbook or Procedure.




You may find articles on studies that proves staff who are allowed to listen to music at work are more productive. This manager uses the headphone, in my opinion, as it makes him focus more on his work, and also not to disturb the other staff. I would suggest to take the time to talk him one-to-one as a person and listen to his reasons. Staff appreciates that.

However, if this affects staff performance or operationally it is not safe, or if it is against the company's image/culture for staff to be seen with a headphone while at work, you may justify this with the Manager. A no headphone policy via Memo to all staff can also be issued by HR, preferably with valid justifications. I believe most staff will understand and will comply.

A warning letter can be considered after the memo has been issued.




I would suggest that you speak to his Manager and get them to have the conversion. Not everything has to be stated in handbook, at times is common sense.




You can list down on Employee responsibilities in the handbook 

for requirement of attendance, negligence of duty like playing computer games during office hour, dress code, care of company tools which includes listening to music which we don’t. 

No necessary for warning letter. 




As move towards new age, things to consider for such small gadget:

-productivity (work performance)
-safety (moving conveyers)
-affecting other cubicles/ influence
-secure image (like uniform forces)

Professional image belongs to oneself. Some youngster’s just could not work without music. I am amazed that one told me he used the ear piece to block the nearby sever frequency, did not on the music!



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