Singing with an office choir can help relieve stress at work, according to new research.

The study by the University of Leicester found 96% of people in workplace choirs felt less stressed by their jobs.

Choirs also help combat loneliness, the research revealed, as 86% of singers felt less socially isolated.

The researchers quizzed employees in a range of organisations about their work demands, mood and socialising.

One in six were under high strain from their job, but the majority felt less stressed and isolated after attending a choir session.

Previous studies have found that one in three employees find their work unmanageable. Other research has found that singing releases feel-good endorphins similar to those released by exercise.

BACP counsellor Louise Tyler, of Personal Resilience, based in Altrincham, works with employees who have been referred to her through their companies.

Feel valued

She said: "We know singing is therapeutic, but workplace choirs mean that employees are recognised as individuals; as humans, not just robots who come to the office to do a job every day. Choirs help create a team environment, a family feeling, a sense of community at work. People want to feel valued at work and a choir can help in that area.”

She added that there are many other things companies can do to help reduce stress in the workplace.

“My experiences of working with clients on workplace stress has told me that employees are happier and less stressed when they are treated as adults. There shouldn’t be a patriarchal culture, with the managers acting as parents telling employees what to do all the time.

“The top companies are the ones that trust their workforce, give them flexibility on hours when they need it, allow them to work from home if their child is sick.

Supportive culture

“People need to feel part of a team where they are respected as individuals and recognised. It helps when there is a supportive and appreciative culture.

“The little extra things that companies can do – whether that’s family days or a choir – help make people want to come to work.  

“Singing and being part of a choir is therapeutic in itself. But in a workplace this indicates the positive culture of a company as well.”

To contact a counsellor about workplace stress, search our Therapist directory.