Should You Implement An iPod Policy In Your Workplace?

It is estimated that approximately one-third of employees listen to music at work using an iPod, MP3 player, or other portable music device. Employees claim that listening to music improves their job satisfaction and productivity, so it may be beneficial to allow workers to use their iPods, etc., in the office. However, if you do so, your company needs to have a policy that addresses the potential negative effects that iPods and other portable music devices could have on communication, performance, safety, and security.

  • Communications can break down between managers and employees, and among co-workers, because of the difficulty in getting an employee’s attention while he/she is listening to music through headphones. This sends the message, “Unless you have something really important to tell me, don’t bother me.”

  • If an employee plays an iPod or other portable music device through computer speakers, co-workers near that employee can find it disruptive, hampering their ability to concentrate.

  • Safety is a concern because employees wearing headphones may miss alarms, warning signals, or shouts by co-workers informing them of potential harm.

  • The ease of transferring files from a computer to these devices opens up networks to potential viruses and security breaches. Because iPods and other portable music devices have the capability to store files other than music, employees can easily record proprietary information, such as personnel records, customer data, or trade secrets, and then take it with them when they leave the premises.


The Company permits employees to bring iPods, MP3 players, and other portable music devices to work. However, it expects employees to adhere to the following guidelines to ensure their proper and safe use.

Employees may listen to music through headphones, but the volume level must be kept low so that it does not block out voices or disturb co-workers. Employees who abuse this privilege will be prohibited from listening to their iPod or other portable music device during working hours. Use will be restricted to breaks and lunch hours.

Employees are prohibited from walking around the office, attending internal meetings, or meeting with clients while listening to their iPod or other portable music device and wearing headphones in their ears.

When discussing work-related matters with a manager, supervisor, or any other employee of the Company, no matter how brief the exchange is, employees must remove their headphones.

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Use of the Company’s computers to download music onto employees’ iPod or other portable music device is strictly prohibited.

Employees are strictly prohibited from downloading onto their iPod or other portable music device any confidential or proprietary information from Company computers.

Company-issued iPods for training and communication purposes may not be used to download personal music or videos. They must be returned immediately to the Company upon employees’ voluntary or involuntary termination.

Listening to an iPod or other portable music device through headphones while driving a Company-issued motor vehicle is strictly prohibited. Similarly, the Company prohibits employees from listening to a Company-supplied iPod or other portable music device through headphones while driving either a personal or Company vehicle.