This Noise Simulator Is the One Thing My WFH Setup Was Missing

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While I know how lucky I am to still have my job during this tumultuous time, I admit I struggle to stay focused and motivated every day. The truth is: I miss working in an office. (I know ... the grass is always greener.) I have a desk at home that I can work from and I'm pretty good about setting up clear "office hours," including time for breaks so I don't burn out, but there's just something about the office I miss.

I thought it might be my co-workers or the action of walking to a meeting that isn't held over Zoom — two things I definitely do miss — but I finally figured out what it is: Ambient office noise.

You know, the buzz of the often-too-cold AC system, sounds of a desk neighbor typing away, a group of accountants chatting in the hallway — all of those seemingly background noises that provide a level of white noise I find crucial for productivity. This revelation came to me in an instant when I came across the microsite Reichenbergerstr 121, an adorably drawn simulation of a busy office. Colorful shapes act as your "coworkers" and buzz around the different rooms providing a variety of subtle sounds: footsteps, whistling, typing, and even chewing (arguably not necessary).

You can click on each shape and object, which "turns on" its personalized noise, from print jobs to chair creaks, or — my personal preference — select the play button in the lower-left corner, which plays a quiet hum of ambient office noise on a loop.

I listened to it for about 40 minutes this morning and it immediately filled me with a weird kind of peaceful energy. At random moments, they add in quiet indecipherable conversations, ringing phones, sneezes and stressed-out sighs, and even the sound of a ping-pong game for those missing millennial-friendly office spaces.

It's not the real thing, but in these trying times, I'll take anything that feels like home work.


Katie is the Commerce Editor at Hunker. She has previously been on staff at Shape Magazine, Well+Good, and PureWow, and has spent her life perfecting the art of online shopping.

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