There were a lot of pretty huge changes wrought upon our lives by the pandemic, of which working from home was a major one – and one which many people prefer to continue with. The positives of working from home are obvious to most of us: no commute, improved sleep, and the chance to actually have an evening. However, it has had some surprising wrinkles at the same time – one of which is that when you work from home, you need to be proactive about keeping a quiet house.
Hopping on a Zoom call was pretty novel the first few times, even if most of us got nervous about our co-workers seeing our homes for the first time. However, it’s the sound that unnerved a lot of people, and gasped apologies of “I’m sorry, we have remodelers in” or “I’m sorry, the dog doesn’t like the mailman” made a lot of us self-conscious of how noisy our homes can get. And once you hear it, you can’t unhear it – which means that the following tips on how to keep a quieter home are invaluable.
Dampen sounds with wall fixtures
Musicians have always known about the value of noise-dampening wall panels – walk into any recording studio and you’ll see what appear to be ostentatious tiles lining the soundproof booths. They’re now increasingly popular additions for telecommuters, but even when you hang up your headset for the day, they’re still effective in dampening sound and allowing you to have a peaceful conversation.
Check your appliances
OK, so you’re obviously not going to be running the vacuum cleaner during a work call, but you’d be surprised how much sound a lot of your indispensable “always on” appliances can make. Just placing a coaster under an air purifier can make a big difference; kitchen appliances like the dishwasher may need to be run during the day, but you can ensure a quieter time by placing them away from surfaces. You may also be well-served by calling air conditioning repair experts in to have a look at your AC unit. If it’s been giving off more noise than usual, it might just need a tune-up.
Close your windows – and maybe your curtains
When everything else is silent, you’d be startled by how much noise the outside world in general makes. Birdsong, traffic and general neighborhood chatter can become a surprisingly loud obstacle to getting things done. As for how it sounds on a Zoom call, it’s amazing how something that may sound like background noise to you comes across like a cacophony to your fellow workers. Because microphones are created to pick up conversation and “new” noise, they have a habit of amplifying the distracting noises going on outside. So keep your windows closed in the daytime, and consider drawing the curtains – investing in a ringlight if necessary – to dampen all outdoor noise.