Annoying noises you encounter during remote work depend on where you are working from. Let’s say you’re the type that works from coffee shops, so much so, that almost all the baristas in your neighborhood know you by name.
Then, the noises you’ll be struggling with might be different from those of someone works from home every day all day so much so that she’s forgotten what day she last left the house.
1. Lawnmowers ?
The vast majority of remote workers prefer to work from home in their pajamas while their cat cuddles against them. I would too, since I don’t have to commute and that saves me money, energy and most importantly time.
However just when you’re about to get in the zone and your creative juices are beginning to flow, your next door neighbor or the one that lives two houses away decides to mow their lawn or trim their hedges.
As they start their lawn mowers the noise drifts in to your home like an annoying uninvited guest and before long your workflow gets messed up and you’re struggling unsuccessfully to get it back in sync.
2. Tree harvester ?
Have you ever had the misfortune to be at home –not even work from home now– I mean to just be at home when tree cutters come to cut down one or two trees in your neighbor’s yard?
Oh it’s slow painful torture to the ear, they start by cutting down the branches, (every single one of them no matter how many there are) they then proceed to cut down the whole tree, and then they put the logs through a really noisy grinder that works like a paper shredder, only this time around, it’s used for shredding trees that have been cut down.
One tree depending on how big it is might take between 8-10 hours to work on, that’s 8-10 hours of unforgiving noise to live through.
Invest in earbuds and soundproof you home especially the room where you work.
COFFEE SHOPS AND FAST FOOD RESTAURANTS
1. Music, chewing&drinking, chatting ?
The union between remote workers and coffee shops look like a match made in freelancing heaven, a lot of workers are drawn to coffee shops because according to them something about the shop noise makes them more productive and creative. And there’s a ton of research to back their claim.
But don’t get too comfortable, if you sit close to a group of people who chew and drink loudly you might not really enjoy your work and if they engage in intermittent speech while you’re trying to focus, that’s even worse.
A fast company article describes Intermittent speech as “one that allows you to hear a few words or sentences here and there, with pauses in between.” It looks harmless but it’s one of the most distracting noises in a workspace.
Another concern is, if music is played, especially one with lyrics that you know, research has shown that your brain will try to sing along thereby making you less productive.
2. Traffic noise ?
Aside from the distracting music or the people sitting next to you eating, drinking and chatting loudly, there’s another source of noise which depends on the location of the shop.
Sometimes, coffee shops or restaurants are situated close to the road, and at the mercy of traffic noise. A sudden loud honk from a truck at irregular intervals is just all you need to disorganize your workflow.
Add on top of that an aggregate of the noise from the engines of hundreds of cars or thousands of tires screeching against the pavement and you’ll begin to get an idea as to why traffic noise is harmful.
If you and the barista know each other, you can influence the amount of noise that comes out of the sound system
1. Squeaky chalk against a board, indoor game noise ?
Although they don’t come cheap, co-working spaces can be one of the best places to work as a remote worker, you get to meet, network and share experiences with other freelancers while enjoying the various amenities.
Say you’re a programmer and you need someone to help you write micro-copy for this mobile app you just made, well, you’re in luck Sally from just across the room might be a copywriter.
But just the downside is, you can’t control what people do, Justin and Dustin might want to play table tennis just a few meters from where you’re seated trying to proofread a paper.
You turn to the right, and Miranda is trying to illustrate a point to Tommy with squeaky chalk against a blackboard somewhere close and with every mark she makes on the board, you feel the ringing noise traveling deeper into your ears.
All of these can make it difficult or even impossible for you to do everyday tasks like fielding calls from a client, or simply settling down to write a memo.
Use Krisp while you’re making or receiving business calls, it helps you eliminate the squeaks from the board and the indoor game noise.
1. Snoring, Sniffing and Loud crying ?
If you’re a remote worker and you fly a lot, chances are that there will come a time when you’ll have to do some work on a plane.
Thankfully most airlines now offer WiFi for the whole duration of the flight so it makes it even easier and if you’re worried that your battery will run down, their planes have outlets on each seat for you to plug your laptops.
But the problem is:
On a plane, especially if it’s a night flight, people are exhausted and understandably will fall asleep quite often, the gentleman in 18C might be snoring really loudly, the toddler in 15B might cry at the slightest provocation or the lady just next to you might be sniffing every 30 seconds because she has a runny nose. You get to put with all these while you work.
2. Aircraft Engine Noise ?
Now all of these are noises from humans, how about the noise from the aircraft engines? The continuous droning noise that keeps you from working or falling asleep or even hearing what’s being said when you’re watching a movie on the in-flight entertainment.
1. Dogs barking ?
Parks are a fantastic place to get work done, as long as it’s not raining and the weather is not too hot, and most parks these days even provide WiFi. Bryant Park in New York City, for instance, has offered free WiFi to the public since 2002. The New York City Parks Department provides free WiFi for about 200 parks scattered across New York. I guess New Yorkers are in luck.
But like all public places, it’s difficult to screen who or what goes in and out and so it’s not out of place to find a fierce looking stray dog barking non-stop like a police dog that spots an intruder. We still absolutely love our fluffy little friends, but sometimes their barking can get out of hand. 🙂
2. Mosquitos and flies ?
If you visit in the spring, then brace yourselves for assaults from mosquitoes or flies or both and if they don’t bite you, they’ll definitely annoy you by flying close to your ears and making those buzzing sounds that are sure to distract you from your work.
A noise cancelling headphone, earbuds or just about any headphone should do the trick with the flies.
As for the dog, the best thing might be to call animal control authorities
Are there any particularly annoying noises that you feel I might have omitted? If yes, please hit the comment and share them with us, we’d be happy to read from you.