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Improving Your Home Office: Communication Style and Productivity

written by: Kristina Dems•edited by: Linda Richter•updated: 7/13/2010

There are different communication styles that can be employed in the corporate workplace. In the home office environment, though, not all styles are appropriate. Communication style and productivity work hand in hand to achieve a productive home office.

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    Communication Style and Productivity

    Communication style and productivity go hand in hand, especially in a home office set-up. In an environment where you are free to implement virtually any communication style, you have to be careful in picking which style is conducive for your home office to achieve maximum productivity. Here are some suggestions on what communication styles you can use in your home office:

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    Sympathetic Communication Style

    This style puts the focus of the communication on people and their relationships. In a home office, there is a chance that you will be doing your work while family members or friends are around. These people may act as assistants or co-workers, but in a very informal way. Dealing with them like they're subordinates or mere work acquaintances may bring about conflict, which can detract from the tasks at hand. There is also the danger of getting distracted when you are too sympathetic or soft-hearted with the people around you. A good balance of professionalism and warm interactions can improve the overall mood in your home office, increasing the chance to improve productivity also.

    For example, you have a project deadline in five hours and a friend comes to visit you. She keeps talking to you while you work. In this case, you have to set limits or you'll never get your work done. Politely explain to your friend that you have a deadline to catch and that you have to focus on your work at the moment. Another choice is to give your friend something to do, like letting him read some of your previous works to prevent boredom while he waits. Even at home, you need to observe a working schedule in order to be productive, but you have to make sure that time with your family and friends is not sacrificed.

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    Direct Communication Style

    For people who are easily distracted, and who work in an environment full of distractions like a home office, a direct communication style may work in maintaining productivity. This style implements minimal communication and multitasking. To implement this style, you need to focus on finishing your tasks with minimal delay, minimize interactions with other people in your home, and avoid distractions like your bed or your entertainment system. Stick to your goal until it's achieved--the faster, the better. That's the motto of direct communicators.

    You have all the freedom if you are working in your home office but sometimes you need to be strict in accomplishing your goals. This is just like in the situation of data entry home based workers where there are deadlines to beat, but sometimes temptations to check your Facebook account or other social networking sites can take much of your time. Also, it is best that you sign-out or make yourself invisible in your Skype or Yahoo Messenger until you are done with your projects. This way, you will not be distracted by chatting or browsing among other, unrelated things.

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    You have more flexible time and activities when you are working at home in your home office but balancing your time to work, time with your family, and time for yourself is very important. This article on communication style and productivity will help you understand the common ways to become productive without putting your personal and social life at risk.
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    Authentic Communication Style

    This style requires you to be yourself and to bring out all your talents and your full personality. Depending on your personality, this may or may not be a good style in the usual corporate workplace. But in your home office, it can prove to be beneficial regardless of your true self. Being true to yourself can bring out all your abilities and attitudes that might otherwise stay hidden in the corporate workplace. For some people, being comfortable with their inner selves and their outer surroundings makes them more productive. If you are one of those people, it is recommended that you employ the authentic communication style. Productivity may increase with the help of your full dedication, unlimited creativity, and free spirit.

    This communication style suggests that if possible, you should choose the kind of work which you are good at. For example, you are a freelance writer who can finish five articles per day and receive $20 per article. With this job, you can earn $100 daily, but upon browsing other freelance jobs, you discover that freelance graphic artists are paid $50 to $100 per design. You try your luck by applying for this job, completely aware that you only have limited knowledge about graphics designing. Since you have a very good cover letter, you are hired as a graphic artist at a rate of $50 per project. You sacrificed your writing job for this new higher paid work, and now you realize that in one whole day, you can finish only one design, and for the succeeding days you have rejections. To sum things up, you are more productive in writing articles since you are comfortable and expert in this line of work.

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    Systematic Communication Style

    Morguefile.com If you will be working from your home office and if you will be required to communicate with others outside your home via phone, email or chat, this communication style can work best for you. In this style, the focus is on the details. Straightforward information that makes conversation flow faster but still in a clear way is your weapon in this style that can almost be considered anti-social. You may miss the big picture of a certain task if you employ this style because you'll be too machine-like in tending to the details. Be sure to keep yourself in check and break out from the robotic mold once in a while to achieve a comfortable and productive home office environment.

    There are psychological effects of working from home which are primarily caused by spending almost 24 hours working. This means that all your conversations are through online chatting, talking on the phone, texting, and even sending emails. It's as if your whole life revolves around your home office. You are concerned enough with your productivity but not aware that you are sacrificing your life by confining yourself in your virtual world. At a later time this will affect you in the form of broken relationships, stress, burnout, depression, and diminished self-motivation. Working hard is good to your career output but a balance of working hours, family and friends time, and time to relax is still the best to make a long-term success.

    Image credit: Morguefile.com/mconnors