The British Psychological Society recently highlighted research completed by the University of Leicester which found that company choirs bring a huge boost to employees’ health. The study suggests that people who participate in workplace choirs feel less stressed by their work and more supported by their colleagues.
In Ireland in 2018, the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, in conjunction with University of Limerick, surveyed over 900 singers, aged 18 to 90 and produced a report called ‘Sing Yourself Better’. They found the key benefits of singing in a choir were increased social connection, improved respiratory health, cognitive stimulation, improved mental health and transcendence from everyday worries and pain.
Of course, a choir is also a lot of fun and that’s how Three’s Workplace Choir began. Every year, the organisation brought employees together to sing Christmas carols for charity and the initiative proved so popular that employees asked to continue it year-round.
The choir is employee-led and is open to everyone in the organisation, regardless of their musical background. They have sung at several company events and conferences, carolling in Powerscourt Shopping Centre in aid of Three’s charity partner Jigsaw, performing at the Grad Ireland Fair in the RDS and will soon take to the stage at the Grad Ireland Awards in the Mansion House. They also made it to the final of the Workplace Choir of the Year competition in 2018 and recently featured on RTE Radio 1’s ‘The Business’ discussing the impact that the choir has had on Three employees.
Meeting every Friday at lunchtime to practise has brought people together from across the business and has generated a strong sense of community. For employees who work in a fast-paced environment, who may have families and other commitments outside of work, it is a space to de-stress and give themselves some head space.
“For the employees taking part, there’s sense of community,” said choir member Janis. “You’re getting to know a whole new group of colleagues and bonding over a shared interest. We’ve seen it have a real impact on the self-confidence of those involved, it improves their communications skills and gives people great enjoyment in the workplace.”
“Also, Three works with the mental health charity Jigsaw so it’s really important that we have programmes to support the mental wellbeing of our employees. Choral singing is proven to relax people, reduce stress and improve overall wellbeing.”