If you own a home office, working from home comes with its perks. You have the luxury of being flexible with your time, you are allowed to sleep as long as you would like and you can literally work in your underwear. Nowadays, more people work from home and the biggest issue for us to tackle is trying to maintain a quiet environment and staying focused amidst distractions.
Remote work like a lot of things in life has its disadvantages. You might have to juggle listen to your child or roommate whine about their day while you work or struggle to mentally block off the noise your family member makes. It might seem like there is always a ruckus whenever you tell yourself it is time to get some work done. Well, I’m here to help you phase through this problem.
Before we jump right into how we can work more efficiently from home, it’s best to learn why a noisy environment is not advisable for a prolonged period.
Working in a Noisy Environment
Regardless of where you work, we can all agree that noise is distracting and unhelpful. In addition to that, noise is also a stressor. Working in a place with loud music or noise from various sources simultaneously affects one’s focus and level of productivity. That can affect income in the long term.
A quiet environment helps one to maintain focus and concentration. Working from home will require you to motivate yourself a lot. It will be easier to do that in silence.
You have probably heard some persons say they work better with a level of noise around but that isn’t true. Your attention gets divided and even though you are able to work with the noise, your productivity will be lower compared to when you give your task full attention. It is essential you strive to create an office-like environment.
“Maybe I should get earphones or a headset to block out all the noise in my surrounding”, if this is you, hold that thought for a moment. Listening to music or anything on high volumes regularly can quicken hearing loss. You might not even consider that option if you are a parent as you’ll have to be able to hear your kids while you watch them. Don’t get frustrated, you can totally work efficiently from home.
Steps to Soundproofing your Home Office
While you may not be able to control all the sources of noise around your neighbourhood, you should manage those that you can. If your roommates always encroach on your work time, you should try explaining to them that you’ll like to be left alone for some time. You can also tell your kids to reduce their noise and hope they’ll listen.
Usually, those who work from home have to deal with noise from kids, family members or roommates. Let’s discuss how we can find a way around this.
Soundproof your Home Office Door
Your roommates and family should understand that you need to shut the door while you work. You can also explain this to your kids especially if they are older. After you’ve done this, you will need to protect yourself from the noise they might make while you work. For starters, soundproof your office door.
Most doors made these days are hollow and do a poor job of blocking out sound. Below are some tips to help soundproof your door:
- Seal gaps around your door frame with acoustic caulk
- Place a draft stopper under the door
- Use weatherstripping tape on the surface at the surface the door contacts the frame when shut.
If you want you’re a thicker door, you can purchase and install a more solid door. Instead of getting a new door, simply add an extra wooden layer on your current door or simply thicken it up with acoustic foam and fabric.
There’s also the option of soundproof curtains. Hanging curtains around your room; on the door and walls will help protect you from noise in other parts of the house.
Don’t have a Special Room for Working? Create a Makeshift Cubicle
A lot of persons might not have a specific room where they work at home. You might be stuck in a general room where people hang out like the living room or conditioned to work in the same space with your chatty roommate or playful kids. If this is your situation, there are a few things you can do that will help you be more focused when you work.
Soft furniture is known to absorb sound and reduce echo. Filling up your living room or bedroom with couches and fluffy chairs will dampen noise made by kids or anyone around to a certain degree. While you tell them to keep their voices down when you work, get some furniture that will assist you in your bid to maintain concentration as you work at home.
If you have younger kids at home, I recommend getting memory foam carpets. Little kids love to stomp around the floor and play with their toys. The carpet will keep the sound they make to a bearable minimum.
To have a distinct space for work, make a makeshift cubicle. There are various acoustic partitions to choose from. You can also go for room divider soundproof curtains and it’ll work just fine.
Soundproof your Office Windows
It is not only the noise from your kids or roommates you might have to deal with if you work remotely. Noise from your street or neighbours can be distracting as well. To wade off this noise, you will have to soundproof your windows.
You might instantly think of using soundproofing curtains, but I do not think they are ideal for your office at home. Soundproof curtains prevent light from entering into the room. If you prefer working in a dark room, then, this might be an option for you.
On the other hand, you can soundproof your windows using transparent window film, an acoustic caulk and a weatherstripping tape. Seal gaps around your window frame but don’t forget those on the walls.
Seal all the cracks you can find on the wall.
Apply weatherstripping tape around the window just like the door. For the final step, apply a transparent window film or transparent MLV for a thicker window.
How to Soundproof Ceiling and Deal with Noise from Above
Perhaps you have neighbours above you who are a contributing source to the noise you have to endure while you work. You might feel like you are able to hear every sound they make.
It is hard enough to keep yourself focused and motivated while working at home, but dealing with constant noise from your neighbours increase your desire to take a break every minute. To solve this, first, I suggest you talk things over with your neighbours and ask that they keep the noise down.
If that does not help, there are a few things you can do. Apply acoustic foam directly to your ceiling; this might reduce noise from upstairs a little bit.
A great solution to the problem of noisy neighbours is to construct a lower ceiling. You might need to hire workers to do this for you but it will be worth it. Another option is to add soundproof insulation on your ceiling and cover-up using furring strips. This will add more beauty to your workspace.
What Else Can Be Done to Prevent Noise?
White noise machines can be used to cover up noise in your environment. If none of the other options will help you, you should consider getting a white noise machine.
Some persons say they work well with the music. I personally find music a bit distracting especially those with lyrics. If you can work with music or any kind of sound playing directly into your ear, there are different headphones that you can choose from. Remember not to listen to very high volumes. If you prefer working in silence, you can go for earplugs.
If you have been able to make your workroom at home as serene as possible, you can take things a step further by getting rid of any noisy element in the room like a noisy wall clock.
It is tempting to want your window open; however, the noise from traffic or neighbours will find its way in. Instead of opening your window, get a silent air purifier to ensure the air in your work remains fresh. For those of you that work with computers, you can also purchase a quiet keyboard. Do whatever you can to limit sound in your home office.
Final Thoughts on How To Soundproof Your Home Office
Working at home is comfortable and all but you have to do your best to remain motivated and focused to ensure maximum productivity. To achieve this, working in a quiet and well-controlled environment is essential.
I have provided you with steps to soundproof your room and other alternatives to protect yourself from noise. I hope you are able to work in a more quiet environment and be more productive.