Working from home is now a way of life for so many of us across the world. Its almost a new norm that employees will either request to work from home (at least part-time) or employers will offer flexible working as part of your agreement. The Guardian reports that 88% of people who worked from home during lockdown would want to retain the capacity to do so.

With this trend, we are seeing the revival of the home office, and thus the need for home office acoustics. Make-shift or purpose built home offices generally aren't set up correctly to handle the common acoustic issues.

Multiple issues could be in play - both sound proofing and reverberation issues. We'll briefly touch on both.

Home Office Acoustics Guide

Some common issues that you may encounter when you are working from home include:

  • Poor audio/sound quality on video calls
  • Distractions from neighbours or external sound entering your space
  • Distractions from sound within your space
  • Preventing sound exiting the office or space

There's methods available to treat each of these, with varying levels of effectiveness.

Home Office Acoustic Panels

If you are experiencing noticeably poor audio quality during video or phone calls, acoustic treatment will help. As most homes aren't designed or set up with acoustics in mind, it is quite common to experience excess reverberation. A few panels strategically places on the walls will make an immediate impact on reducing harsh reverb and audio problems on video calling. They can also improve the general comfort of the office by helping to soften ambient noise or other sounds that are generated within the room.

Some potential options which are simple to install

Other ways to reduce reverberation can include adding soft furnishings, curtains or rugs. These can be relatively effective in smaller spaces, but if reverb is severe, consider these solutions.

Distractions from Noisy Neighbours

Now that your neighbors (like you) are also home more of the time, they might seem a bit louder to you than they once were. Unfortunately this is a soundproofing issue, and is significantly more difficult to solve than just reverberation! Its highly unlikely that you will be able to remove noise all together.

Some steps you can take:

  1. Insulation - fill partitions in walls with sound insulation such as rock wool
  2. Deflection - add mass to walls to physically prevent sound waves from transferring through
  3. Decoupling - reduce physical connnection to adjoining walls (create a room within the room!)

For more information on soundproofing vs sound absorption check out our other article here.

Home Sound Masking - Add White Noise

An instant and low effort way you can reduce the amount of outside noises that disturb you while you work, is to consider sound masking. Some times incorrectly referred to as 'white noise', sound masking machines are expertly engineered to omit frequencies of sound which gently mask existing noise in the space.

In commercial offices, this exists of multiple speakers located throughout the office. They are then controlled by a controller unit which is set to the correct frequency. Good systems can also be calibrating to automatically adjust the level of the masking sound as it senses changes in the noise levels of the office.

At home, its not as easy. Until recently, the best you could get was a cheap white noise machine. Unfortunately these tend to be slightly annoying on their own, as they aren't quite set to the right frequency. Soft dB, one of the leading commercial sound masking brands recently released a new product which is perfect for the home office! It even doubles as a bluetooth speaker.

Contact us if you have any questions.