The I Miss the Office website, showing a few different rooms issuing sound.
Courtesy I Miss the Office

The Ambient Sounds of Your Office, Simulated by a Cheeky Website

The interactive website I Miss the Office invites users to simulate everyday workplace sounds.
By Aileen Kwun
August 29, 2020
2 minute read

Working from home, at least for those who are fortunate enough to do so, isn’t all bad. Trading workwear for loungewear, ditching the commute, and making home lunches are a few immediate perks, though they’re tempered by many setbacks: Zoom fatigue, Wi-Fi troubles, interrupting pets and kids, and a lack of creative energy from working in isolation. The jury is still out on the “effectiveness” of full-time remote labor, and while there have been more “think pieces” about the future of work than we care to debate, consider the water-cooler effect. Those offhand moments, breaks, and on-the-fly conversations that casually take place away from the desk now seem nearly impossible to foster over a scheduled video chat.

The Kids, a creative agency based in Zurich, are not all right with this. The firm’s interactive online project I Miss the Office serves as a cheeky reminder of pre-Covid-19 life that simulates the mundane soundscape of an everyday workplace—the smack of an obnoxious gum chewer, the occasional sneeze, an unidentifiable hum, the click-clack of hands tapping away at a keyboard—which you can “multiply” by adding more virtual co-workers into the mix. In retrospect, the small annoyances that would’ve rattled us in pre-pandemic times now seem quaint and petty, even comforting. The website is no office-hallway chit-chat, but serves as an amusing reminder of collegiality that comes from IRL interaction.