The COVID-19 pandemic has brought forth a colossal shift in the workplace environment with hybrid and online working models becoming mainstream. People too, to a large extent, have adapted to these new models. Some of the major companies from across the globe have turned to the remote working model permanently, including the Indian multinational steel-making organization, Tata Steel Limited, as well as Facebook, Twitter, and Upwork. On the other hand, companies such as Microsoft, Google, Ford, Infosys, and TCS, among others have gone the hybrid way.
However, with the third wave sweeping across the land, the extended COVID-19 restrictions have put the ‘back to office’ movement on the backburner. A significant portion of the working population continues to log in from work and face numerous associated challenges, ranging from increased screen time, being ‘always on’ to home-workplace imbalance and noise distractions – all having an adverse impact on one’s physical and mental well-being and work productivity.
Among all of these, noise is considered to be a major contributor towards creating physiological stress. A recent study on how noise impacts employees shows that noise increases negative mood by 25% and the human sweat response by 34%. Poor or negative moods can adversely impact one’s job satisfaction and commitment.
Potential Solutions to Tackle Noise Disturbances While Working from Home
Working from home is no longer a choice, and as we struggle to adjust, in varying degrees, to this work model, we continue to be challenged by distractions in our surroundings. It is not easy to concentrate during an important management conference call or amidst collaborative project work, when there is suddenly the sound of the doorbell, a child crying, or the utensils being washed. While one cannot entirely cut out the surrounding sounds and noises, one can take certain steps to curb their intensity in a way that they do not become major distractions while working.
Sound proofing your home office is a possible solution. One can use the different acoustic panels, sound absorbing materials, etc., that are quite easily accessible in the market today, and many of them also happen to be DIYs.
Another alternative is to set up one’s workstation in a quiet space or in a room that is as isolated as possible. It is equally beneficial to establish some ground rules with the family members in terms of not disturbing you while you are working, avoiding loud noises from
household chores being done during specific hours when you have your important calls, and such.
While these solutions do help to some extent, it is not easy to control one’s external and internal environment fully as per one’s requirement. It is here that technology can aid in a big way. Noise cancellation technology for reducing ambient noise is increasingly becoming a viable solution to this problem.
Noise Cancellation Technology – A Viable Solution
Today, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is aiding in developing superior noise cancellation technologies through both active as well as passive noise cancellation methods. While passive noise cancellation or, simply put, noise isolation can be done by filtering out noise through hardware such as heavily padded earmuffs or headphones, it is the Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) technology that is increasingly becoming an essential element for those working from home. ANC is quite effective in blocking out erratic, high-frequency noise such as loud chatter, sound of mouth whistle, or glass breaking
ANC is considered to be more effective in tackling the constant, low-frequency noises such as the hum noise of the refrigerator or the sound of an aircraft. ANC technology has the unique advantage of offering an extra layer of unnecessary noise curbing. In ANC, an anti-noise is generated that has equal but opposite sound waves. Therefore, it is capable of contrasting and minimizing the ambient noise. This results in both low as well as higher frequency sounds getting reduced.
ANC has been showing remarkable progress in recent years, advancing from 7% in 2018 to 20% in 2020 in terms of volume. With innovations in technology, this feature, which was predominantly applicable in headphones, can now be integrated within smaller and completely wireless headphones or earbuds. ANC is set to rule the headphone industry and is expected to acquire 60% of the market by 2024.
Along with ANC-powered headphones, we are seeing growing demand for noise cancellation software, especially within the online work environment where people are constantly communicating and collaborating for work using web conferencing features.
Claerityai’s AI-powered noise cancellation software provides enhanced voice quality by effectively removing background noise during the calls. This helps users to listen effortlessly and be heard in their online meetings while offering numerous other benefits. The technology works across all web collaborative platforms such as Zoom, Google Meet and MS teams. It is easy to install on personal computers and desktops and is compatible with both Windows and MacBook.
The software requires low maintenance and ensures data security and audio privacy. The AI speech enhancement technology provides enhanced audio clarity and quality in virtual meetings, by removing all unwanted background noise during online calls, and cancels out
background noise around the speaker as well as background noise coming from other speakers in the virtual meeting. This results in better concentration due to undisrupted communication, thereby providing enhanced productivity.
Working from home continues to be a preferred solution for many industries for the foreseeable future. Hence, organizations are increasingly turning to noise cancellation software solutions such as Claerityai as vital elements to address their workforce’s remote working challenges.