Global Head of Editorial
They aren’t just for playing hard. Your Sonos speakers can also help you work hard. From flow-inducing soundtracks to using your voice assistant for hands-free help, here’s how to get to work when you’re at home with Sonos.
If you’ve set up your home as a place to relax, entertain yourself, and enjoy time with loved ones, plunking an office down in the middle of it is bound to create some challenges. For every advantage (getting that pile of laundry folded), there are three more disadvantages to grapple with (dogs begging to be pet, playtime noise from the kids, and the temptation of that new game you just bought). While your Sonos system can’t solve all distractions, it can help inspire you to get going in the morning, stay on task, and be productive throughout the day. Here’s how.
Setting up for success
There are a lot of things to consider when you start setting up a new at-home workspace—from equipment and ergonomics to connectivity and logistics. Here’s how to integrate your system into that setup, allowing you to reap the benefits of working with Sonos.
Control Sonos directly from your desktop
If you do most of your work on a computer, you might find it easier to control your Sonos system from your desktop. You can download desktop controllers for both Macs and PCs here. (The link to download will automatically populate with the correct controller based on what kind of computer you access the page with.) Browse and search content, control the volume, group rooms, and pause the music when your boss calls.
Use Sonos to play sounds from your Mac
For content you can’t control with the Sonos desktop app (like YouTube videos and sounds from websites), there’s Apple AirPlay 2. Just make sure that you’ve clicked “Show volume in menu bar” from the Sound menu in System Preferences. Then, click the volume icon in the upper right hand corner of the toolbar and choose a speaker from the list of Output devices. Pair two Sonos Ones, Play:5s (Gen 2), or Moves to listen in stereo sound.
Use Sonos to play sounds from your PC
With or without a Mac, you can use line-in to connect your computer directly to Play:5 with the built-in 3.5mm jack, or Port or Amp with RCA in.
Claim your speakers
Finally, consider naming your work speakers as such. That way, your family won’t accidentally group you into the impromptu dance party that just started downstairs. To rename a speaker, go to Settings and then System. Choose the speaker you want to rename, then tap Name and type in a new name.
Your voice assistant is at the ready
There are plenty of ways to utilize your voice assistant while you’re working from home. Here are some of our favorite ways to use Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant on the job.
Manage your calendar: Say “Alexa, add ‘team conference call at 10 am’ to my calendar,” or “Hey Google, what’s on my calendar today?”
Set reminders and manage email: Say, “Alexa, check my email,” or “Hey Google, set a reminder to call Eric.”
Keep your office stocked: Say, “Alexa, add ‘printer paper’ to my shopping list,” or “Hey Google, what’s on my shopping list?”
Without the normal daily cues that the workday has begun—a rigorous commute, stopping by the coffee shop, greeting coworkers in the morning—it might be difficult to get started. Here are some ideas on how to get inspired in the morning and coax your brain into go-mode.
Add a music service
More time at home means more time for listening. If you don’t already subscribe to a streaming music service, now is a great time to try one out. Try Apple Music free for three months, and for a limited time, you can also try Amazon Music Unlimited free for three months.
Create an auditory cue
Choose a song, album, or other sound that you’ll play each day to signal that the workday has begun. Consistency is key here. Still procrastinating? Set an alarm using that sound for the same time every day. (More on using alarms later.)
Motivate with music
No single album, playlist, station, or soundscape works for everyone. For as many different tastes in music there are, there are just as many working styles. Perhaps you’re doing something repetitive and need something more engaging to keep up your energy. Or maybe you’re creating and find lyrics distracting. Play around with finding the type of music or sound that helps you get and stay motivated when you most need it. Not sure where to start? We’re loving More Minimal, a playlist created by our Global Head of Music, Brian Beck. Featuring electronic, film scores, instrumental hip hop, post-rock, and more, this playlist can provide some momentum without distracting you from the task at hand. Check it out on Apple Music, Amazon Music, and Spotify.
Take it outside
You know that feeling when you’ve been working on something for so long that it’s turned into a big blur of words or numbers or concepts or colours? Yeah, us too. When you’ve hit a wall and want a change of scenery, you don’t have to leave the music behind. Grab Move and head out to your patio or backyard for some fresh air, sunshine, and a new perspective. With auto Trueplay it will sound great no matter where you take it.
Studies have shown that a moderate level of ambient noise enhances productivity. So if you’re suddenly missing the subtle noises of your coworkers, it’s understandable. Alternatively, a high level of noise can hurt creativity. So, here’s how to use your system to make the best of both situations.
Too much noise
The sounds in your home that normally provide joy can suddenly feel distracting when you’re trying to crunch numbers or finish a report. White noise is a great remedy. Defined as noise containing many frequencies with equal intensities, the soothing sound can help mask unwanted “peak” noises—like a game show on TV or a door slamming—by reducing the difference between those sounds and normal ambient background noise. Check out Apple Music, Amazon Music, and YouTube for playlists and albums of white noise.
Too much silence
Even libraries have a litany of subtle noises that add up to a consistent din of auditory liveliness. Whether you’ve realized it or not, the random sounds at your office, local coffee shop, or bustling coworking space might have been helping you stay focused and on task. If you find your remote workspace too quiet, there are a ton of options to fill that void. Start with Coffitivity to give it a try and then graduate to Ambient-Mixer when you’re ready to explore more complex and interesting sound environments like “Cabin during a storm,” “Tech lab,” or “Hogwarts library.”
With the right structure in place, you might wind up being more productive than you were in the office. Here’s how Sonos can help you get it done.
Create structure with alarms
Without something to signal the end of the day like a commute, you may sit down to work in the morning only to find yourself still at your computer at 7:30PM, starving with nothing but a whole chicken in the freezer. You can use Sonos alarms to break up your day and remind yourself to do the things that keep your head clear. In addition to setting an alarm to start work in the morning, set alarms as reminders to get outside for fresh air and a walk, start making lunch and dinner, and to log off. (You can even set one to let the kids know when it’s time to start cleaning up.) By scheduling moments of self-care into your day, you won’t reach the end of it burnt out and exhausted.
Learn a new technique
For a more advanced option, you can try the Pomodoro Technique. With this time management method, you commit to working on a single task for chunks of 25 minutes. You can set Sonos alarms for each interval and then choose a celebratory song when it’s time for a longer break. Learn more about the technique here.
Even under the best of conditions, big transitions are challenging. Figuring out how to be productive in a new environment will take time, but hopefully using your Sonos system along the way will make it easier and a bit more enjoyable. And, at the end of the (work)day, your speakers will be there with great music to help you blow off steam or a comforting TV show to help you relax. Just don’t forget to set an alarm to wake up for another productive day.
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