It has become a world wide social trend for people to wear headphones almost everywhere they go. People use them to help relax – tuning out the world while they walk down the street, shop at the grocery story and commute on the train.

Some workers even claim that by wearing headphones, they are actually more productive at work – tuning out office noise and helping them to focus and concentrate better.

The sales of headphones has risen every year – meaning this tuning out trend is continuing to take off, but the problem is that many office managers and colleagues find it annoying and unprofessional trying to talk to those wearing ear buds or headphones at their desk makes them feel that they are not fully paying attention and look distracted.

Here are a few etiquette tips for those professionals that wish to use headphones at work –

1~ Know When to Tune In. Music is an excellent way to get us away from the stresses of life and help us relax. This is a great thing if you are working out or going for an evening stroll with the dog, but probably not the best idea when you have a major project to work on at the office. Instead of plugging your headphones into your computer and zoning out constantly, wait until all major work has been completed. You need to be fully aware of your surroundings at the office on busy days – so leave the headphones in the desk drawer during these days.

2~ Control the Volume. Instead of quickly being known as the rudest person at the office for never hearing colleagues when they are trying to talk to you, either only wear one ear bud for light sound or simply keep the volume down on your music. This way you are still able to relax with your tunes but can also hear when people need your assistance.

3~ Don’t Wear Headphones Away From Your Desk. Whether you are walking to the bathroom, the vending machine or the copy room, always remove your headphones when you leave your desk. By keeping the headset on all of the time isolates you from other co-workers. Even though you are at the office to work and not socialize, it shows proper etiquette and respect to fellow colleagues to always leave your headphones at your desk.

4~ Always Choose Personal Conservation. Never make music a higher priority than colleagues. If someone comes into your office, or stops at your desk for a quick question, quickly remove your headphones for the conversation. Don’t keep one in while talking to others. Make it a priority to remove both ear buds and turn off the music completely so that people know that you are giving them your full attention.

With many offices not having rules about headphone use, it is up to you, as an individual, to use proper etiquette about your music use at work.

Always remember the reason that you are at the office and the fact that you want to impress and represent professionalism all of the time.