Write the word next to its definition. The sentences in the previous exercise will help you decide on the meaning of each word.

…………… A person who serves as a connection between individuals or groups, a go-between

…………… To support, argue for, or adopt (an idea or cause)

……………. Marked by much sitting; requiring or taking little exercise

…………… Not able to be repaired or remedied

…………… To work together on a project; cooperate in an effort

…………… Full of wild disorder or wildly irregular motion, violently disturbed

………….. To hold up, strengthen, or reinforce; support with a rigid object

…………. State of mind with respect to confidence and enthusiasm; spirit

…………… To return to an earlier, generally worse, condition or behaviour

…………… To place close together, especially in order to compare or contrast

……………. To support, strengthen with further evidence, provide proof of

Using the answer line provided, complete each item below with the correct word from the box. Use each word once.

Collaborate, morale, regress, juxtapose, irreparable, sedentary, liaison, turbulent, espouse, bolster, corroborate

1. I am afraid I can’t ………….. Todd’s claim that he has never been in trouble with the law. The fact is that he has been in jail several times.

2. Serving time in prison leaves a stigma that can do ……….. harm to someone’s ability to find a job. Ex-convicts who try to redeem themselves may find that any attempt to get honest work is impeded by their record.

3. The photograph dramatically …………(d) white birch trees and grey sky.

4. The information about the firm I found in the net …………(d). my determination to fill the vacancy in it.

5. When my friend and I were asked to …………… on an article for the journal, we found it difficult to work together.

6. Some politicians ………. whatever ideas they think will win them votes.

7. The woman wasn’t permitted to visit her husband, a political prisoner, so it gave her some solace to have a minister act as a ………… between them.

8. Dad was a constructive worker, but as soon as he reached 60 – though still robust as ever – his company relegated him to a ………….. desk job.

9. Many people call the years of “perestroika” …………referring to their vigor, pace and eventfulness.

10. People in bombed-out, war-torn cities sometimes…………… to more primitive ways of life.

11. The employees’ ……………… quickly fell when they learned that some of the company’s earnings were put into a business that was not legitimate and that was being investigated by the police.

B. Working Environment

➢ What is the most suitable working environment for you?

➢ What is a dream-office for you?

➢ What are the advantages of working at home? Can you name any disadvantages of such a working pattern?

Read the article.

New Century, New Office[19]

At the end of the nineteenth century, nearly 90 per cent of Americans were self-employed. The twentieth-century industrial revolution gave rise to the transition from farms to factories. Now the cyber revolution is bringing jobs and family back together.

Computers and electronic communications are allowing many people to use their homes as offices.

Currently, the fastest growing workforce is home-based. The advertisements for telework, juxtaposing rat race of the conventional employment and relaxed atmosphere of home office, have become familiar: picture a house with a swimming pool; at a table by the pool sits our teleworker with a laptop computer, cell phone and a case of files. No more traffic jams; no more clocking in, this is a technological revolution, this is a new way of life.

Sociologists however point out that the reality is often a far cry from this blissful scene. The majority of teleworkers or telecommuters (or “open-collar” workers as they are also called) do not spend their day working in a relaxed manner by the pool. Indeed, the working conditions of open-collar workers are frequently far from optimal. Many have their office set up in a bedroom or in a specially designed cupboard which opens out into a pseudo-office.

Open-collar workers are often more productive at the expense of working long-hours. They can become workaholics, frequently putting in 60 to 80 hours a week. Many do not take holidays for fear of missing out on that “big job”.

Loneliness and a lack of self-pride are two other factors psychologists say affect the open-collar worker. Sedentary style becomes prevailing, while turbulent and vigorous pace of life loses its reality. The absence of daily interaction with colleagues and face-to-face liaison with the like-minded produces a feeling of isolation. The need to adhere to office dress code is no longer there and whilst this seems liberating initially, working in pyjamas all day long can be dangerous from the psychological point of view.

The danger however can be mitigated by combining telework with workshops. So quite often firm’s headquarters are now in smallish offices used for meetings, get-togethers and customer demonstrations. As a result, companies say, their overheads have fallen 30 per cent, staff are more productive and morale is higher.

Many scientists studying the patterns of office work espouse the idea that even if telework doesn’t replace the conventional office completely, technology, better communications, rising inner-city land costs (once today's property bust is over) and the trials of commuting will prompt more workers to split time between a cen­tral office, a computer-equipped home office and perhaps a satellite office in a suburban business park.

Even those few workers based at the central office will be more mobile, moving between different work stations as their tasks change, taking their mobile telephones with them. This will cut the amount of wasted office space. It will also bolster communications between employees, by pushing them out of the tight and unchanging circle of people who sit nearby.

The central office will become mainly a place where workers from satellite and home-based offices meet to discuss ideas and to reaffirm their loyalty to fellow employees and the company. This will require new thoughts about the layout of office buildings.

Now, spaces for copying machines, coffee rooms, meetings and reception areas usually come second to the offices in which people spend most of the day working. These common areas will be gradually becoming the heart of an office. Many cen­tral offices will come to resemble a hotel lobby or somebody's home - a disturbing thought, that, for people who find in the calm of the office a refuge from the rigours of family life.

Managers will also have to aban­don their long-cherished notion that a productive employee is an employee that can be seen. Appearing on time and looking busy will soon become irrelevant. Technology and new patterns of office use will make companies judge people by what they do, not by where they spend their time.

That does not mean the end of the office, just its transformation into a social centre. It was corroborated by Thomas Alien, a professor of management at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who studied communica­tion patterns between people, in the admittedly artificial environment of research laboratories. His less-than-startling conclusion is that people talk to each other more when they work in close proximity.

Quite often after moving into purpose-built accommodation companies start to regress showing meager or no improve of the quantitative or qualitative indices. It turned out that when the architects were designing the new building, they decided that the coffee room where everyone ate their sandwiches at lunch times was an unnecessary luxury and so dispensed with it The logic seemed that if people were encouraged to eat sandwiches at their desks, then they were more likely to get on with their work and less likely to idle time away. And with that, they inadvertently inflicted irreparable harm to the intimate social networks that empowered the whole organization. As while people gathered informally over their sandwiches in the coffee room useful snippets of information were casually being exchanged. Difficult problems were discussed and casual comments sparked the idea for a solution. It stimulated collaboration.

The bottom line seems evident. If offices never disappear entirely they may become like home. Though home should never completely substitute the office.

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