Issue 270 - The things we do at work

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Basic

Vocabulary: Working with a computer

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The things we do at work

Listen to the podcast and read.

The things we do at work

Many people feel that they spend too many hours of the day working. However, there are also a lot of reports on how we need to be more productive at work.

A recent study of 5,000 office workers in the United Kingdom and the United States shows that different factors affect productivity. One of these factors is the amount of time wasted doing some office work activities.

The study evaluates basic activities, like turning on a computer to start work, typing in passwords, closing help windows or system notices and close pop-up ads... The same time is needed again to turn off the computer.

Other tasks like correcting typos (on average 20 minutes a day), modifying the format of documents, deleting or sorting email and reading messages, add up to a large amount of time lost, in fact, years of the average working life.

There are ways to reduce the time we spend doing these activities. Technology can help us. We can use the time we save for doing other things, like retraining or studying languages. These things can motivate workers and make them more productive.

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Intermediate

 

The things we do at work

Listen to the podcast and read. Then answer the questions in the Comprehension section.

The things we do at work

Most people feel that they devote too many hours of the day to work. However, it’s also common to read reports on productivity at work, and specifically about the need to increase it. How could that be?

A recent study of 5,000 office workers in the United Kingdom and the United States has shown that different factors affect productivity. One of these concerns office work activities that, added up, represent a considerable amount of lost time, and as a consequence, a reduction in personal performance, productivity, and motivation for workers.

The study evaluates basic activities such as the time needed by an office worker to start work, type in and update passwords, close unwanted help windows or system notices, reject update messages for the operating system, and close pop-up ads... The same time is needed again to sign out at the end of the day!

Other tasks like correcting recurrent typos (on average 20 minutes a day), modifying the format of documents, deleting or sorting email and reading messages that you are copied in to, add up to a large amount of time lost, in fact, years of the average working life.

Of course, there are ways to reduce the time we dedicate to some of these activities. Technology is a great help in doing this. What’s more, this recuperated time could be put to good use, for example, in the retraining of staff or in the study of languages, which is proven to result in more motivation for workers, and improved individual and collective productivity.

Now answer the questions in the Comprehension section.

Comprehension: Check your understanding

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Advanced

 

The things we do at work

Listen to the podcast and read. Then answer the questions in the Comprehension section.

The things we do at work

Most people have the sensation that they devote too many hours of the day to work. However, it’s also common to read and hear reports on productivity at work, and specifically about the need to increase it. How could that be?

A recent study carried out with 5,000 office workers in the United Kingdom and the United States has come to the conclusion that there are a number of different factors that affect productivity. One of these concerns the activities inevitably associated with this type of work that, added up, represent not only a considerable amount of lost time, but also as a consequence, a reduction in personal performance and productivity, as well as in motivation for workers.

The study evaluates basic activities such as the time needed by an office worker to get down to work, type in and update passwords, close unwanted help windows or system notices, reject update messages for the operating system, close pop-up ads... the list goes on, and the same again to sign off at the end of the day!

If you add to this other tasks like correcting recurrent typos (on average 20 minutes a day), modifying the format of documents, deleting or sorting email and reading superfluous messages that you are copied in to—sometimes unnecessarily—the result is a considerable amount of time lost, in fact, years of the average working life.

After all, Clearly, there are ways to reduce the time we dedicate to some of these activities, and technology is a great ally in achieving this. What’s more, this recuperated time could be put to good use, for example, in the retraining of staff in different specialities or in the study of languages that—necessary or not for some work positions—is proven to redound to workers with increased motivation, and as a result, improved individual and collective productivity.

Now answer the questions in the Comprehension section.

Comprehension: Check your understanding

Choose the best option.

Interview: listen to more about the topic

Think about your answers to the following questions. Then listen to somebody answering the same questions. Were your answers similar?

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