Feb 28, 2019

Working Remotely in a Noisy World

One of the benefits of being a remote worker is that you can work from almost anywhere. One of the drawbacks of being a remote worker is that you can work from almost anywhere. Yep – you read that right.

While it’s great to work remotely it’s important to be mindful of your surroundings especially when you are on the phone, screen sharing, participating in virtual meetings, etc. You know the scenario: you no sooner answer your phone than the dog starts barking (seriously, it must be more than coincidence!), the delivery person rings the doorbell, your spouse or kids come in the door, or you realize you left the TV on in the other room.

While you can’t control every scenario there are some basic reminders that should become part of your remote working routine so that the background noise is kept to a minimum. First and foremost, control what you can and put yourself on mute whenever possible. You can’t control when the delivery will happen, but you can mute your phone or computer in case the doorbell rings at the worst possible time.

If you prefer some background noise to work best find something that is neutral background noise like soft music, nature sounds or white noise, just not a daytime talk show. If you’re sitting in a public space find a quiet corner away from the door and flow of foot traffic or people chatting around you. I have a dog at home and sometimes if I know I’ll be on a longer call and don’t want him getting antsy or distracted by what’s happening out the window, I’ll give him a new chew just before the call starts. It works every time!

I love the new feature from Microsoft for blurring the background during screenshare. Maybe dimming background noise is a feature that’s coming next, but until then, be aware of your surroundings and do what you can to minimize the distractions or (even worse) giving an impression that you don’t care how you come across to the people on the other end.

Feel free to share other ideas and happy (remote) working! – Elizabeth Kordek, CPCU Senior Placement Specialist


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