Soundproofing Tips: Ways to Help Stay Focused
Even without sound, it can be tough to stay focused when working from home. There are plenty of new distractions, so try to create a space that allows for deep concentration as you work. In this post, we’ll give you some soundproofing tips while you’re working from home.
To deal with sound in your home office and stay focused in other ways, try to:
Minimize distractions: When it’s quiet in your home office, something as simple as a ticking clock can become a distraction. Before working, sit in your workspace and be still for a moment. Listen for any sounds that could become a distraction, like noise from outside traffic or conversations from within your home. In the following sections, we’ll explain some ways you can reduce those distractions with soundproofing.
Ask others to respect your work hours: Let everyone in your household know that you have to work during certain hours of the day. If you have children, give them activities, schoolwork or chores to do while you work, so they can stay on your schedule. If you have to share a workspace with someone else in your home, make sure you both understand you need to be productive.
Play music: It may seem counterintuitive to add more sound to your space, but sometimes controlled sounds help combat the external noises you can’t control. Playing music, white noise, nature sounds or another background noise can help keep your mind off the distracting noises. Make sure you keep this music at a medium volume — around 70 to 90 decibels (dB) — for the best level of background sound.
Use noise-cancelling headphones: If you work in multiple rooms or a space you can’t soundproof, noise-cancelling headphones can function as portable soundproofing equipment. Whether you get headphones that play music and cancel out background sounds or headphones that simply block noise, they can be a big help. You can even use them back at the office when you’re done working remotely.
Set up a workspace : If you already have a home office, you may not need to worry about having a dedicated workspace. But if you’ve never worked from home before, you’ll need to create a functional setup. If you can, work from a desk instead of other areas like your bed. This may help you feel more attentive and like you’re at your office. If you don’t have a desk available, use a table instead. A table in your dining room or kitchen may be convenient, but if these rooms are open, they can be difficult to soundproof. Try moving a table into a bedroom or other room with a door you can close.
It may take a few tries to perfect your setup, and that’s okay. Working from home is a new experience for many people, and with inconvenient home circumstances, it’s not always easy. If you find yourself getting distracted while working, pause for a moment and try to relax your mind. Take a moment to evaluate what’s distracting you so you can work to solve the problem.
Soundproofing Tips: The DIY Approach to Soundproofing a Home Office
You may not have time to wait for soundproofing products to be delivered to your home. If you need noise reduction right away, the DIY soundproofing approach can help. Use items you already have at home for quick office noise reduction with the following tips.
We aren’t talking about a total home remodel here. Instead, you can add items to walls that are thin to prevent sound from coming through. If you notice you can easily hear conversations, music, the television or other noises through a wall, you may want to:
Use furniture: Bookshelves, cabinets, wardrobes and other furniture items add dimension to your walls and can help block sound. If you can, rearrange your room so these items are against thin walls in your home office. Whether they are against a wall next to the hallway in an apartment complex or a wall adjacent to a family member’s bedroom, these pieces of furniture could help reduce external noise.
Decorate the walls: Thick blankets or curtains have a soundproofing effect that adds bulk to the walls and helps reduce echoes. You can hang these with strong, removable hooks for easy setup or install curtain rods and other sturdy hooks for something more permanent.
For a more involved fix, you could put up drywall or fill the cracks in your walls with acoustic caulking. However, these solutions aren’t as simple as moving furniture or hanging decorations.For a more involved fix, you could put up drywall or fill the cracks in your walls with acoustic caulking. However, these solutions aren’t as simple as moving furniture or hanging decorations.
The emptier a room, the more echo you’ll experience. If you have minimalist decor or don’t have a lot of furniture in your home office, you may experience echoing. Every key you hit on your keyboard, each tick of the clock and all the sound that comes from outside your office will feel amplified as the noise bounces off bare walls in the room.
To avoid an echo, try a few of the following:
If you currently have your desk against a shared or external wall, you may want to move it. Sitting near or against a thin wall can make it easier to hear the sounds that come through it. Instead, move your desk to a spot like:
This may be easier for remote workers who only need a laptop or other small devices instead of multiple monitors. If you have several wires or plugged-in devices in your setup, it may be quicker and easier to choose another DIY soundproofing option.
If your desk needs to stay in place, you still have soundproofing options. Go to the adjacent room and see what’s against or on the wall you’re working near. You may identify sources of sound like:
If you can, move these items to a different wall or room. This may be challenging for some rooms and items, so you may need to create a rule about noise levels. Ask your family members or housemates not to use the television, computer or other devices in that room until a certain time of day or to use a low volume. You can also use the above DIY soundproofing tips in other noisy rooms to address the situation from outside your home office.
If you need help with home office soundproofing, let’s schedule a virtual meeting with our acoustical experts!
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