Escaping water cooler gossip, avoiding nosy co-workers who want to pry into your personal life, and focusing on your work are just a few of the many benefits of working remotely. But, what about background noise?
Unless you live in a super remote location far away from all civilization, you likely have to deal with annoying sounds and commotion from time to time. Even if you are lucky enough to have a fairly noise-free work environment, after a while, small sounds like the air conditioning unit or birds chirping can become a distraction. So, what can you do about all these sounds that are hindering your productivity?
Choose your workspace wisely
If you’re like many people who work remotely, your home is where you spend much of your time. Whether you have a home office designated for work or you simply plop down on the couch with your laptop, it’s important to make sure your workspace is in a place where you can close the door and shut yourself in for as long as it takes to get your work completed. Also, if you can avoid working in a room with a street-facing window, do it. Street noise is unpredictable and usually very distracting.
Create a work schedule that works with your life
Like many people, you may be a remote worker simply because it allows you to be at home with your children. While that can be a positive thing, it can also come with some unique challenges. However, there are many ways you can work with these challenges rather than against them. For example, if you have a toddler at home and you know they take a two-hour nap every day at a certain time, you can plan your schedule accordingly. Save tasks that require a lot of focus for times when your little one is napping. That way, there are no distractions or interruptions that could hinder the quality of your work.
Invest in noise-canceling headphones
If you work from your apartment, there’s not much you can do about noisy neighbors during daytime hours. And, if you’re like many apartment dwellers, your lovely neighbors always seem to pick the most inopportune times to blast their music or run the vacuum cleaner. Perhaps that’s why telecommuters around the globe swear by their noise-canceling headphones.
Since they are designed to help you stay focused on work, you can add them to your collection of office supplies and may even be able to designate them as a business expense. Even if your job does not require you to talk on the phone or participate in conference calls, a pair of noise-canceling headphones can really help block out unwanted noise to help you stay focused.
Use white noise to your advantage
Speaking of headphones, you may want to take yours one step further by using them to listen to white noise. If you’re not familiar with white noise and how it can help drown out unwanted sounds and keep you focused, here’s a brief explanation.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, white noise helps to create a constant ambient sound and can help mask activity from inside and outside your house. While many people use this to help them sleep, white noise is a popular choice among remote workers. It can help eliminate distractions and enable you to maintain better focus during your workday.
Have a contingency plan
Although you try your best to create a comfortable working environment free from noise and distractions, there may be times when nothing you do can quite create the serene environment you need to get your work done. In these instances, leaving your home may be the best choice. Fortunately, most public libraries have quiet areas dedicated to enabling people just like you to sit and focus with as little distraction as possible. Some coffee shops and shared workspaces are also viable alternatives to your home when there’s just nothing you can do to eliminate the noise.
When you work remotely, you’re likely to face some challenges that may include unwanted noise. However, using these tips can help you drown out the distractions, so you can get back to working on your own terms!