Noise can disrupt your work from home if you don’t take steps to minimize it. From clattering household appliances to children and pets, distracting sounds can keep you from staying focused.
Many simple fixes can improve your workspace’s soundproofing. For example, replacing hollow doors with solid ones helps reduce the sound that seeps into your office.
Install Soundproofing Materials
While soundproofing your home office isn’t necessary, it can help you stay focused and productive. A few simple DIY soundproofing projects can dramatically reduce distracting background noise.
Installing acoustic foam is one of the best ways to block out noise and make your workspace more comfortable. This foam can be cut to size and hung on walls with construction adhesive or placed behind furniture like bookshelves.
Hanging a quilt or ornamental rug on the wall can also offer sound-reduction benefits. These thick items add bulk to the walls and reduce echoes.
If you have the stamina, installing a solid-core door and adding vinyl weatherstripping and a door sweep can significantly reduce the amount of noise that enters your workspace. It is crucial to work in the same room as other family members.
Hang a Quilt or Ornamental Rug
Hanging dense materials on your home office walls can help with background noise removal if you enjoy minimalist décor. Decorative quilts, thick blankets, and acoustic panels can add color and texture to your home office while reducing noise and echo. These materials also make a great alternative to bare walls, as they can prevent echoing and noise transfer between rooms.
When choosing an acoustic wall hanging, remember that the heavier the item is, the better it will absorb sound. You can hang a rug or blanket using Velcro, which makes it easy to remove and store when not in use. Use adequate Velcro strips to ensure secure attachment to the wall.
Insulate Your Floors
While you can’t wholly soundproof a room, you can take steps to block out distracting noises. Adding insulation to your floors helps to reduce noise from outside and other rooms in the home. It is a more involved project that requires professional help to install insulation between the floor joists.
Another way to reduce outside noise is to switch from hollow doors to solid ones. These have a much better acoustic barrier and prevent sound from transferring between rooms. If your doors are solid, add some inexpensive soundproofing weather strips to decrease the noise that leaks in and out of your office.
A white noise machine creates a continuous background sound that drowns out distractions, such as children’s voices or clattering household appliances. t is one of the most effective and affordable ways to improve productivity when working from home.
Install Noise-Canceling Headphones
If you don’t want to deal with the mess and expense of soundproofing your home office, simply putting on a pair of noise-canceling headphones can help. Noise-canceling headphones monitor ambient noise through internal microphones and create an anti-noise signal that cancels out unwanted sounds, making it impossible to hear.
While they do a great job of eliminating low, constant sounds (like the hum of an airplane engine), noise-canceling headphones aren’t so good at drowning out shrill office chatter or jarring sounds like thunderstorms and waves crashing on the beach.
If you don’t have the funds to invest in a high-end pair of noise-canceling headphones, try playing white noise or nature sounds as background music. It can block distracting sounds while helping you focus.
Rearrange Your Furniture
Home offices serve various purposes, from tracking household finances to running an entrepreneurial venture. Creating a functional and comfortable workspace at home is crucial, whether you need privacy for deep work or a quiet area to pay bills. Avoid simply cramming a metal desk and chair into a spare corner.
Choose a location that lets you do your work without interruption and offers natural light. If you have a large room, consider positioning your home office close to the windows, glass doors, or skylights to let in natural light.
Lastly, rearrange your furniture to promote movement and prevent tripping hazards. Organize your furniture so you can easily access the tools and supplies you use often. It will increase productivity and help you stay focused.
Seal Cracks in Your Doors and Windows
Many telecommuters work in spaces with open walls, which can let in distracting noises. You can try inexpensive solutions that won’t dent your budget, such as sealing cracks with caulking or using foam to reduce sound travel through air vents.
Similarly, the gaps around home windows and doors can allow outside noise to seep into your workspace. Replace hollow-core doors with solid ones insulated to mask noise, or install a door sweep and fill the gap between the door and frame with weather stripping for further noise control.
Upgrading to double or triple panes can reduce outdoor noise for older windows. You can also purchase window inserts to further decrease outside noise.
Put on a White Noise Soundtrack
There’s no doubt that noise is a giant productivity killer. It can be hard to think and concentrate if you listen to loud trucks driving by, neighbors talking, or clattering household appliances.
Thankfully, there are many inexpensive ways to reduce background noise. You can install soundproofing materials, rearrange your furniture, or seal cracks in your doors and windows to reduce ambient noise. Alternatively, you can use a white noise soundtrack to cloak exterior sounds. White noise is an audio mixture of all frequencies, so picking out speech and other distracting sounds is challenging. You can find many options online, including the sounds of falling rain, a fan, beach waves, and more. These simple noise-muffling tips will help you work more efficiently and effectively at home.