By October 8, 2014 Read More →

How do you cope with noise nuisance?

Noise nuisanceOne of the main reasons people like working at home is the welcome escape from the bustle of the office.

No more noisy colleagues who interrupt your train of thought with questions and chatter.

But home isn’t always a peaceful sanctuary where you can focus without any distraction whatsoever.

Depending on where you live you might work with a background noise of traffic, passers-by, agricultural machinery, planes or animals.

Noise nuisance from neighbours has become a serious problem, and it’s even worse if you work at home and never get a break, especially if their noise intrudes on your professional calls.

Whether it’s shouting, DIY, loud music, slamming doors, barking dogs or screaming children, it can grate on your nerves and seriously affect your output.

I do wonder how people who work in garden offices cope if their neighbours are noisy. I read once in the property pages that you should look out for a trampoline in neighbouring gardens when househunting, as the worst possible indicator of noise problems.

We lived in a terraced house where the family several doors down had three kids and a trampoline at the bottom of the (long) garden, and their screams were clearly audible in our kitchen. Working in a garden office after school finished would have been impossible in good weather.

I was interested to see that one of the garden buildings featured in the latest Garden Office Spotlight was soundproofed against trains. I wonder how many people request it to cut down on the noise of electric garden tools, dogs and radios.

Building work being done in the vicinity can be another difficulty. It may show your area is on the up, but power tools and workmen’s radios don’t do much for your productivity. Thank goodness there are now so many places with free wifi, although even libraries aren’t very quiet these days.

I was amazed to find that the library at Falmouth University, where I did my writing course, had a special room set aside for people who wanted to work quietly. Much the same as a pub providing a space for people who want to drink alcohol!

Then you have to decide how to deal with people coming to the door or ringing up. Some brave souls ignore both if they’re not expecting them. But if you pride yourself on rapid customer service you might hesitate to leave the phone, even when you’re concentrating on something important.

A survey carried out by Panasonic in August found that on average, home business owners receive five nuisance calls a week, lasting one and a half minutes. They estimate that it takes over four minutes to regain focus when their work has been interrupted by a nuisance call.

The worst offenders were calls selling PPI claims, followed by insurance and solar panels. We’ve been registered with the Telephone Preference Service for years, but it doesn’t stop all sales calls. And we find that most of our nuisance calls are asking us to take part in a survey, and registration with the TPS doesn’t cover market research calls.

Handily, one of the features of the Panasonic KX-PRW120 telephone we reviewed recently is that it can be set to automatically reject unwanted calls that might distract you from your work. If only all the other kinds of noise nuisance could be so simply blocked!

How do you deal with noise nuisance while working from home? What do you find the most annoying? Let us know if you have devised ways to cope with it. There are plenty of home workers who will be grateful for your tips.

Posted in: Routine

1 Comment on "How do you cope with noise nuisance?"

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  1. Jinny says:

    I use earplugs for intense focus, sometimes I listen to my spotify. If the noise is unbearable the library works.

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