Working from home can be great particularly if you have a family and has some advantages, like the comforts of your home.
However, depending on the noise in your surrounding, you might need to prepare yourself in some ways that you can still be productive and get your focus on working at home.
If you want to work at home but deal with noise, there are ways to deal with it. Here are a few helpful strategies that can make working at home less stressful.
Is it possible to work at home with noise?
It’s possible to work at home with noise, but you’ll need to know a few things.
First, you’ll need to know what kind of work you do. If it’s analytical or creative in nature, then noise will probably be more disruptive.
If it’s more logistical or clerical in nature (like data entry), then the noise may not affect your work as much.
Second, you’ll need to know your own tolerance for noise:
- are you able to let noises like cars driving by just blend into the background?
- Or does every word from an adjacent conversation jump out at you like a red flag?
Third, you’ll need to know how to manage your workspace so that distractions are minimized and so that there is a defined space in which you can set aside the business of daily life and really focus on your work tasks.
Noise at Home
Noise is a common problem in any household. Whether you live in a big city or the countryside, there are plenty of reasons why your home might be noisy.
Here are some of the most common types of noise you can expect to encounter:
- Noisy appliances (dishwasher, dryer, etc.)
- Loud family members (children, roommates)
- Noisy pets (dogs, cats)
- Noisy neighbors (parties)
- Noisy street traffic
Wear headphones sometimes to buffer the noise
This is a popular technique and for good reason! By wearing headphones, you not only block out a lot of the noise around you, but you can also fill your ears with music or white noise to help keep you focused and on track.
Even if you’re not listening to music when wearing your headphones, they can still create an audio barrier between you and the outside world.
Plus, they make it easier to focus on one task at a time rather than being distracted by everything else going on in your space. Bonus points if they have noise-canceling capabilities.
But really, there’s nothing wrong with using earplugs! They will dampen the sound of any noise and help you focus on those more important tasks at hand.
Use white noise
Common advice is to work in the quietest room possible. But there’s a hack to this: use white noise.
White noise is a sound that drowns out other, less desirable sounds by disguising them and making them less noticeable.
It can soothe or relax us as well, as it covers up other noises we may not want to focus on.
You can create your own white noise
- by turning on any fan you have in the house or apartment
- putting on a podcast or music with no lyrics that you don’t mind listening to but also won’t distract you
- just turn on the TV and tune it to a channel you’re not actually interested in watching, for example, sports.
Dealing with pets and children
If you have pets, you may find that they are a frequent source of distraction.
In some cases, such distractions can be handled by simply training your pets to be quiet on command, or keeping them in another room when it is time for work.
Barking sound when you are Zoom conference is not the best.
If you have kids at home all day, talk to them about this
It’s important to talk to them about how to manage distracting noise and what the best ways will be for everyone. Here are some things you can go over together:
- When it’s time for Mom or Dad (or both) to work.
- Where your workspace will be. If that’s not possible, maybe there is a space they won’t go in?
- What kinds of noises they should try and avoid during work hours.
- How long you’ll need it quiet before starting a new project or doing other work stuff (like answering emails).
- What kind of rewards there are for keeping the noise down during those times or helping keep the place tidy enough for everyone to get their work done without running into each other.
If their playroom is located far enough away from your office, the noise level could be greatly reduced.
- keep children busy with easy activities like drawing or coloring books.
- You could also hire a babysitter to keep an eye on them while you work but only if you don’t mind paying someone else around $15 per hour.
Work from home with noisy neighbors
Neighbors and Street traffic noise, you don’t have any control over it. We can only try to mitigate.
It’s totally normal to have noisy neighbors when you’re working from home, especially if you live in an apartment. They can be hard to avoid.
Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to minimize the nuisance caused by noisy neighbors.
- Try talking to your neighbor about the noise issue. Be polite and respectful, don’t start off by attacking them for being loud or inconsiderate. Instead, start off on the right foot with a friendly tone and see if they’re open to changing their habits.
- Move to another room in your apartment where the noise isn’t as bad.
- Consider making repairs and insulating the walls from noise.
Make a game out of it
Use the noise as a challenge. Challenge yourself to focus on your work, not the noise.
You can even give yourself a time limit. Say you have to complete this task in 30 minutes or less, with the distraction in place. (Try not to make it impossible, though.)
Then use that timer to get down to business and accomplish what needs to be done!
If your task requires audio, then this tip might just help you out.
If whatever you’re working on can be easily used or incorporated into background noise, then of course do it!
Working while listening to music or an audiobook is one way of using noise as a tool instead of a distraction.
A good way to practice multitasking is by having something play quietly in the background while attempting another task.
Just Start 🚀 apply those strategies that can make working at home less stressful and more focused.