One in five workers are tuning into their iPods and turning away from their colleagues, according to research.
The survey, commissioned by design company Woods Bagot, also found that just under a quarter of employees used their MP3 music player for up to three hours a day in the office, resulting in three out of 10 bosses banning the devices from their offices.
Martin Edwards, head of employment law at legal practice Mace & Jones, said employers were well within their rights to clamp down on iPod use to prevent workers slacking or ignoring colleagues.
“The fear is that iPod-use is driving a wedge between older members of staff and younger workers,” he said.
“Moreover it can be a serious distraction to the person listening to the music, isolating them from their colleagues and the essential cut and thrust of the office. It is simply not healthy for an office if people are tuning out of their surroundings.
“There is a real concern that listening to music can interrupt concentration and lead to less productive workers,” he said.