Issue 239 - Micro office

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Basic

Vocabulary: Words related to the story

Look and listen.

 

Can you remember? Choose the correct option.

 

The news story

Read and listen to the news story.

Micro office

Do you find it difficult to concentrate in an open-plan office? The micro office is a new product. It is a temporary, quiet place for people who work in a big, noisy office.

Micro offices have a desk, a chair and a socket for your laptop. Workers can go to a micro office to make a phone call. The workers in the big office cannot hear the phone conversation. You can also go to a micro office to write a report. The micro office is very quiet. You cannot hear the people outside the micro office, so it is easier to concentrate.

Small micro offices cost two or three thousand dollars. Large, three-person micro offices cost about $10,000. The cubicles are easy to move. If a company moves to a new office, it can take the micro offices to the new building.

But is it difficult to work in a small space? One worker said it was difficult at first. But now she likes working in the micro office because “it helps me concentrate”.

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Intermediate

Comprehension: News story

The news story

Read and listen to the news story and then answer questions in the Comprehension section.

Micro office

Have you ever worked in an open-plan office and found it hard to concentrate? In recent years, many companies have started producing a new office product, the micro office, which can solve some of the problems associated with working in a loud and crowded open office.

Micro offices are individual boxes with a desk, a chair and a socket for your laptop. They are completely soundproof. Workers can go there to make phone calls and have conversations, or they can go there when they need some peace and quiet to write a report.

These prefabricated booths cost between a few thousand dollars for the cheapest models and $10,000 for the larger, three-person version. They only take a few hours to install and provide companies with an easy way to make their office space more flexible. And when a company needs to move to a different office space, the micro offices can easily be transported.

The cubicles are not intended to be used as a primary workspace. They offer a temporary space for times when workers need privacy and a quiet working environment or a place for face-to-face meetings for two or three people.

A 2018 study showed that workspaces without walls or boundaries decreased face-to-face interaction by about 70% and increased electronic communication by 20% to 50%. The installation of micro offices provides a flexible workspace within an open-plan office. It is an alternative to the closed offices of the past.

But is it comfortable to work in a cramped cubicle? “At first, it felt a little strange,” said one of the employees at an architecture and design firm that installed one of the booths in their office. “But we kind of fell in love with it after a while because, sometimes, you want to get into your little cave and you want to feel protected.”

Now answer the questions in the Comprehension section.

Choose the best option.

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Advanced

Comprehension: News story

The news story

Read and listen to the news story and then answer questions in the Comprehension section.

Micro office

Have you ever worked in an open-plan office and found it hard to concentrate? In the last few years, dozens of companies have started producing a new office product, the micro office, which can solve some of the problems associated with working in a loud and crowded open office.

Micro offices, or phone booths, are free-standing boxes with a desk, a chair and a socket for your laptop. They are completely soundproof and provide a quiet space, where workers can go to make phone calls and have conversations or when they need some peace and quiet from the noisy office to write a report or simply to think.

These prefabricated booths cost between a few thousand dollars for the cheapest models and $10,000 for the larger, three-person version. They only take a few hours to install and provide companies with an easy way to make their office space more flexible. And when a company needs to move to a different office space, the micro offices can easily be transported to the new premises.

The cubicles aren’t supposed to replace one’s primary workspace. They are meant as a temporary space that provides privacy and a quiet working environment when required or a place for face-to-face meetings for two or three people.

Originally, companies thought that if employees all worked in the same office, collaboration would increase. However, a 2018 study showed that workspaces without walls or boundaries decreased face-to-face interaction by about 70% and increased electronic communication by 20% to 50%. The installation of micro offices addresses this problem by providing a more flexible workspace, without returning to the closed offices of the past.

But is it comfortable to work in a cramped, stuffy cubicle? “At first, it felt a little strange,” said one of the employees at an architecture and design firm that installed one of the booths in their office. “But we kind of fell in love with it after a while because, sometimes, you want to get into your little cave and you want to feel protected.”

Now answer the questions in the Comprehension section.

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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