Sound and Remote Work (09-08-21)

Puglisi and colleagues studied the experiences of people working remotely and it seems likely that their findings can be applied more generally.  The researchers report that data they collected via surveys completed by remote workers “show that 55% of the workers perform their activity in an isolated room of the home environment, 43% in a shared room (e.g., kitchen, living room), and 2% in an outdoor space, with the majority of workers (57%) performing activity without other people in the environment. . . . 25% of workers recognize the noise generated by people (e.g., talking, moving, calling, listening to music) as the main source of disturbance. The negative consequences of noise annoyance during the remote working hours are mainly related to a loss of concentration and to a difficulty in relaxing. Furthermore, workers reported to get easily irritated by noise generated from the neighborhoods or from the housemates as it tends to distract from finishing a task.”  The researchers suggest that developing separate work rooms in a home can help eliminate some of the issues raised and, when that is not possible, adding “sound shields to give a greater separation of the workstation from the rest of the shared environment.”

Giuseppina Puglisi, Sonja Di Blasio, Louena Shtrepi, and Arianna Astolfi.  2021. “Remote Working in the COVID-19 Pandemic:  Results from a Questionnaire on the Perceived Noise Annoyance.”  Frontiers in Built Environment, vol. 7, 688484.