Strategies to reduce background noise while working from home
Sometimes, it’s not until you have to jump on a call that you realise how noisy the world actually is. Even those sounds that you may otherwise find soothing – a chorus of birds or the splatter of rain – become as insufferable as nails on a chalkboard when you’re running your co-workers through your latest report via Microsoft Teams. Fortunately, no matter where you live or what kind of space you have, there are some ways to get some peace and quiet. You may not always be able to kill the sound at its source, but it’s possible to reflect, suppress or absorb noises. Let’s explore your soundproofing options.
Choose the most quiet area
This first tip might be the most obvious, but it’s worth stressing: pick a room that is the hardest-to-reach for ambient noise. There are some sounds you have complete control over, like the air conditioner or refrigerator, and sounds you can’t do anything about such as dogs barking in the street or the hum of traffic. Once you’ve switched off all noise-generating appliances, isolate yourself in the room farthest away from the hustle and bustle, then close the windows and doors.
Use décor to keep noise away
The right home decor can add an extra layer of protection against intrusive noises. Sound waves bounce off hard surfaces, creating an echo in the room, while soft surfaces absorb sound. So it makes sense to invest in upholstered furniture as these are made with sound-absorbing fabrics like suede, microfibre, chenille or corduroy. Covering the floors with a thick carpet will do a good job dampening footsteps throughout the house. Likewise, hanging thick curtains in front of the windows and tapestries on your walls will help quiet things down.
Choose a less disruptive time
If a noisy environment is an ongoing issue – for example, you live on a busy main road or the construction of a new building is happening across the street – try to schedule your meeting outside of normal work hours. Noise pollution is at the lowest during early morning or evening, so if your co-workers are able to accommodate you, set your meeting for these less disruptive periods.
Turn on mute
The mute function is a feature many users do not take advantage of when there are several sounds reverberating in the background. The rule here is that if it’s not your turn to speak or if you’ll only be listening in throughout the meeting, mute your microphone. When you have to say something, just deactivate the mute button, but be sure to mute it again.
Invest in a good pair of headphones
If you’re relying on your laptop speakers for audio, you may not get the best experience.
When you’re speaking into the screen, the sound waves reflect down to the speakers, creating a distorted sound. The speakers also easily pick up environmental noise, so not only will participants have to deal with your voice at a cringeworthy level but also those pesky little sounds in the background. Getting a good quality conference headset will not only ensure clear audio, but help drown out unwanted noise.
Working from home has become easier than ever. All you need is a stable internet connection, a good, working laptop, the accompanying gadgets and accessories, and an environment that allows you to be your most productive self. Through three remote working packages, Nashua now offers you the essential technology such as laptops, software, and conference headsets. The rest is up to you. We hope that these tips will help you find or create a place to focus.