Concentration is key in any office setting, but in a loud world, it can be difficult. One of the office tools you may really get value out of is a white noise machine to help mute those distractions.
When Is Noise A Distraction?
Whether at the company building or your home office, you’ve probably found that noise plays a major factor in your ability to focus? Why? Well, our brains are naturally wired to be distracted. We’re busy with everything. That’s why you can be zeroing in on your screen but suddenly conscious of your family speaking, sounds from outside, dogs barking, and other noises. These miscellaneous noises trigger the identical circuits of our nerves that are engaged in specific sounds or tasks. This is actually an important trait that helps us survive and be able to readdress priorities. But sound can be stressful and distract us from our goals.
In an office building, there are usually fewer types of distractions and they’re more centralized. At home, there are even more visual and auditory distractions constantly pulling you away from the job. However, in many ways, you do have more control over these distractions at home. If noises are becoming a distraction, you have the option to tune them out with white noise and noise-canceling devices.
How Do White Noise Machines Work?
White noise machines work by creating a steady stream of constant, relaxing, or natural sounding ambiance that cancels out louder more active noises. This basically gives you a barrier against other more invasive sounds.
White noise machines don’t eliminate noises, instead, they provide a layer of constant sound that nullifies louder, sharper sounds like talking, door slams, dog noises, or even lawnmowers.
Do White Noise Machines Work?
Every situation, office, and home are unique so results can vary, but generally, depending on your model, white noise machines are effective.
Long before COVID-19, we actually purchased an industrial white noise machine/noise-canceling unit for the Accounting Seed office. We had originally decided to shift to an open-floor office plan. One of the worries of our team was whether it would be hard to concentrate. Instead of an empty office vibe where conversations carried very across the room, the white noise consistently limited much of the phone noises and generic office sounds. This wasn’t a major problem at all and it gave us more room to work with.
In the home office, white noise machines serve a similar purpose, providing ambiance to tune out distractions like kids running and random outside sounds. The important thing to do is position the unit to where the sounds will best reflect the white noise and cancel out distractions. Or, position the system towards where the noise might be. In addition to white noise, there are other strategies for peak effectiveness.
Tackle Distractions With Boundaries and Routines
Even the best noise machine won’t rule out all of your distractions. This is why it’s important to communicate with your family about what is distracting and outlining your needs for focus. You have a home office for a reason: productive work. Make sure that you and others treat this as a formal workstation. Work with your kids to establish boundaries for interruptions. Mention times you’re available and consider outlining things that distract you to avoid them.
Creating a routine also helps you maintain focus and give structure to your workday. This includes turning off the white noise machine and taking a break! Yes, take a break. It’s important for you to exercise, do yoga, or otherwise rest briefly in order to engage in work. This can range from switching ergonomic stances or even going for a brief walk to clear your head.
Own Your Home Office
Overall, you control your home office and the tools within. In a world of technology and distractions, tools like white noise machines are a great investment to help you maximize how you excel in your remote work.