The work from home revolution is now, and it’s been a long time coming. Since 2005, there has been a 159% increase in remote work (according to FlexJobs). The flexibility it offers employees is a huge benefit, and that helps employers recruit top talent. Not to mention, workers get to create their own workspace.
So, when the COVID-19 outbreak hit, the work from home transition was merely hastened, somewhat haphazardly. When you set up your home office, you probably didn’t think about noise factors. Or, how with less traffic noise, you’d hear exactly how loud your neighbors are and every word your kid says. Do yourself a favor and make semi-permanent changes now, because you might not ever be going back to the office.
Make Yourself at Home in Your Dedicated Workspace
A dedicated work space will make you feel collected, calm, and ready to work. All you really need is a good chair, a flat surface, and good lighting. Ideally, you also have a door to close. This also gives you the opportunity to soundproof your home office.
Tips for a Soundproof Home Office
Every “working from home tips” article discusses the technology you need to complete your work and stay connected. They warn of distractions, suggesting you keep them away. But studies show that soundproofing is directly linked to productivity. As is creative thinking, and health. Aside from that, have you encountered a work call interrupted by a child’s scream yet? You will. Make sure it’s not yours.
Indow has always relied on RingCentral to let sick coworkers or distant partners join in on important meetings. Now that we’re all working from our homes, that convenience has turned into a daily need to keep business functioning. No matter how much RingCentral adjusts to the times, if our meetings are stopped every few minutes by barking dogs, neighbors, or even our partners’ meeting in the other room, we don’t get much done. Soundproofing for remote meetings is essential – there’s only so much the mute button can handle.
There are two types of soundproofing: reduction and absorption. Noise coming from outside your home needs sound reduction, which reduces sound coming into your home. Sound absorption reduces echo by absorbing sounds created inside your home.
Soundproofing a Room from Noise Inside Your House
An area rug in your home office doesn’t just make you look classy, it also helps soundproof your space. Adding thick materials, like rugs, plush furniture, wall art, or even acoustic panels help keep noise in the rest of your home from disturbing your dedicated work space. Door snakes and door sweeps also keep small noises from swooping through the air between your office door and floor.
If you have equipment that vibrates along with passing music or loud neighbors, you may want to dampen them. This article from Popular Mechanics outlines everything you need to secure (vibration-wise) or build for soundproofing a room. These tips are especially helpful for anyone who has to record audio or video at home.
Soundproofing Home Office to Outside Noise
Because sound travels via air, check for any air leaks around the room. You can fix most by adding caulk and weatherstripping. Adding wall insulation is always helpful, but a big project.
The biggest reduction in outside noise with the best cost efficiency is window inserts. This allows you to block outside noise by installing them into your existing windows rather than replacing your windows or opening your wall for insulation. Indow inserts block up to 70% of outside noise immediately once you press them into place.
Extra bonus: your home office still has plenty of natural light (as opposed to using sound-blocking curtains) and they help with temperature control to keep you comfortable.
How do Soundproofing Windows Work?
Window inserts are all about barriers. They put an extra layer between you and the noise. Indow uses acrylic because it absorbs sound better than glass. The acrylic is surrounded by compression tubing to create a seal in your window frame. This creates a dead air space between the acrylic panel and your window, which also helps stop noise from entering your space.
Sound-blocking curtains also reduce noise, but not as much because they do not create a seal, and they also make your home office very dark. As we’re already stuck inside, the importance of natural light increases. Natural light helps our mood, eases stress, and increases productivity.
Adding window inserts is like adding another pane of glass to your window, but with a better material and an extra large gap between them. Plus, you can remove it at any time with no damage done to your window frames.
It’s time to prepare our own spaces for the long haul. Chances are, our home office is going to remain our dedicated work space for a while. It doesn’t feel like we have control over very much right now: where we can go, how loud our neighbors are. We can control our day to day comfort and how we manage our space. If you learn how to soundproof a home office, you are controlling your environment and choosing a healthier work space. We give you permission to elect yourself employee of the month.
Learn more about how to soundproof your home office with window inserts.