The neighbour’s dogs barked in unison as I participated in a virtual work call.
When you live in the suburbs as I do, you encounter complete silence, the occasional moving vehicle (a rare occurrence during work hours), and barking dogs. You’d be lucky if you hear the neighbours talking too loudly.
So, it’s often quiet.
There are approximately 4 grown dogs and 1 pup that I know of.
Imagine the chorus when they all barked. 🥴
The barking probably lasted for a few seconds but it felt like more than 15 minutes.
To give a better idea of the situation, picture this – the room I work in Is technically a stone’s throw ( like a baby throw) away from where the dogs are.
Back to the work call
I was in the middle of making a point with clients. Then – out of nowhere the canines decided they needed a feature during the call.
I hit mute faster than thunder follows a lightning strike.
I was shocked – surprised, you know. Taken by surprise! That’s it.
The way I was frightened, I played it off, or tried to. I awkwardly laughed and said, “neighbourhood dogs”. My clients seemed pretty understanding of the situation. 😅
Work from home has been part of my routine since April.
That’s four months!
I’ve never had to deal with the sudden onset of dogs barking while I worked, much less while participating in a work call.
Those damn dogs. Trying to embarrass me. At least, that was my thinking.
Sterile work environment
In fact, there was nothing to be embarrassed about.
If there’s anything that working from home has taught me is that my new work environment isn’t a ‘sterile’ place void of certain distractions and interruptions.
For the slow folks, – ‘sterile’ here isn’t in reference to being void of dirt or filth. It means that’s a different location and the conveniences enjoyed in the corporate space don’t exist at home.
So don’t bother thinking that my place is dirty. 😒
There isn’t much that I can do to eliminate those distractions and interruptions. The solution is to work with or work around them and produce the same level of work if not better.
In this situation, those damn dogs were the interruptions.
With that, I only have one and a half questions for you.
How do you handle distractions and interruptions while working from home?
Even if you’re back in the office (whatever your office looks like), how do you manage the unexpected interceptions?
Tune Out the Barking
After my awkward response to the interruption, I worked around those barking dogs.
I closed my windows so the noise was buffered. Though we could still hear the noise (muffled at this point), I apologised to the clients and kept it moving.
I can’t quite remember but I’m sure I moved into another room to get away from the noise altogether. Then, I continued with the call and got some other work done.
The main lesson here, I think, is to:
Learn to bend and not break. Learn to pivot when your situation takes a sudden turn.
The truth is, barking dogs will turn up when you least expect it. Barking dogs also don’t have to actually be barking dogs.
Their sole purpose? – interrupt at all costs and distract you from completing the tasks at hand.
Don’t let them win.
The Suburban Girl
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My weekly distraction is landscaping crew in Tuesday mornings. I just mute myself when not talking and in general I just call the unexpected out and apologize for any disturbance it causes. Work from home life is definitely not sterile.
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I actually a post coming up addressing the landscapers and their interruptions to my workflow. 😅.
But, yes. Work from home is not sterile.