Make Working From Home Less Soul-Crushingly Lonely With This Office Noise Simulator

Screenshot: Alice Bradley

The cutely designed microsite Reichenbergerstr 121 simulates office noise—handy if you’re working from home and you miss the sounds of working in an office, or coffee shop, or anywhere where other humans work alongside you.

Primary-coloured coworker shapes bounce around a modernist work space. You click the coworkers and the office furniture to trigger the sounds of chatting, typing, water-pouring, office ping-pong, ringing phones, chairs making that little fart noise that chairs make when you shift around on them, and then intentionally shift again to prove that it was the chair. Sometimes they make noises unprompted. You can toggle ambient workplace conversations, spoken in muffled German. The site URL is imisstheoffice.eu. (The creators are a Swiss and German creative agency named kids; the site name is the address of their Berlin office.)

This is a one-size-fits-all solution. To perfectly replicate the offices I’ve worked in over the years, my soundboard would need some additions:

  • Clandestine whispers of two people trying to gossip in an open office

  • Opening of a La Croix can

  • The retro summer jam everyone at the office agrees is a bop

  • Mediocre but hard-working Keurig machine gurgles

  • The marketing manager who worked with someone named Felicia and smugly shouted “bye Felicia!” 3 to 30 times daily

  • Two people apologizing for bumping into each other in the hall

  • C-SPAN broadcasting a Congressional hearing

  • Mysterious laughter from the one area where everyone is best friends

  • My editor trying to eat lunch the quietest that anyone has ever eaten

I’m currently working in an apartment with a partner and a toddler; the partner and I both have multiple video meetings a day. Luckily a lot of coping strategies for working in an open office apply well. We share our schedules in the morning and make a plan to share the baby, the “good” desk, and the airwaves. We use our headphones as much as possible. We let each other know when we’re not to be disturbed. And we do our best to make home feel a little, but not too much, like the office.

If the sound of an office is hell for you, try the hundreds of instrumental albums recommended by the newsletter Flow State, or my list of the very best background noise generators.

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