Video Calls: How Can We Stop Household Noises Affecting Our Work?

In the midst of a pivotal video call, life's orchestra - screaming kids, a neighbour's lawnmower, and a vocal dog - chime in. Remote work's perks has its quirks, introducing home sounds we hadn't quite anticipated. It's disruptive and sometimes downright awkward.

Video Calls: How Can We Stop Household Noises Affecting Our Work?

You’ve just sat down for an important video call with your boss but the kids start screaming, your next-door neighbor has started mowing the lawn and your dog won’t shut up either. We’ve all been there.

As we all know, these unusual times have brought about a lot of shifts in the way we work. Webinars and video calls have become the ‘new normal’. This has brought to our attention the interruptions that we now have to deal with because of the distractions around us at home we haven’t dealt with before. I think we can all agree that not only are these noises obstructive, but they are also irritating and even embarrassing…

How to deal with household noises interrupting your work video calls?

Some of us may want to come across as professional. Others may simply want to avoid being interrupted by household background noises in our daily meetings, webinars and presentations.

But what can you do to stop these interruptions?

1. Design your area for video calls

First off, think about your setting and background. What room you choose to take these calls in can be crucial to ensure that there’s no echoing. Try adding some soft furnishings and curtains for some noise absorption.

This makes for happy ears!

2. Let everyone know before jumping on the call

Let your housemates, partner, or family know when your meetings are scheduled. If the people you live with know when you’re on a call, then they know not to cause any unwanted distractions (or they could even look after the kids!).

We’ve seen the – hilarious – TV broadcasts of kids wandering into the shot, but nobody wants that to be them (and if you haven’t, check out Youtube to see what we’re talking about!) Pets can be more unpredictable so shutting them in a different room or giving them a toy to keep them occupied should do the trick.

3. Avoid noisy food while on the video call

Limiting your food and drink consumption can also be a good idea. Nobody wants to listen to you slurping on your cup of coffee.

4. Invest in a good microphone

Buying a microphone or headset with a built-in microphone will make sure you can hear much better. But having a microphone closer to your mouth also stops any background noise interfering with your pearls of wisdom. Check out this Time article for some other great suggestions for noise cancelling software too.

5. Mute your mic

It may sound simple but muting yourself when the other person is speaking makes all the difference. A few moments of respite from the lawnmower could do your colleagues a world of good to stop these noises interfering with their train of thought!

6. Patience is key

Waiting a few seconds longer before speaking will make sure you don’t interrupt someone else if there is a lag. There’s nothing worse than being spoken over!

What’s your most embarrassing moment on a video call?