Is it common for people in your country to work in an office? Where do most of your friends work? Would you like to design an office? What kind of office would you like to work in?
  • Privileged (adj.) - having or showing a special advantage.
  • Hands-on (adj.) - someone with a hands-on way of doing things becomes closely involved in managing and organizing things and in making decisions.
  • Greenery (noun) - green plants or branches, especially when cut and used as decoration.
  • Flaw (noun) - a fault, mistake, or weakness, especially one that happens while something is being planned or made, or that causes something not to be perfect.
  • To confine (verb) - to limit an activity, person, or problem in some way.
  • Interference (noun) - an occasion when someone tries to interfere in a situation.
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Questions and answers
M: Rory, let's talk about offices. Do you work in an office?

R: I do, actually. I'm privileged enough to have a home office that I can do all my university work and teaching and podcasting from.

M: Is it common for people in your country to work in an office?

R: Well, probably not as common as it used to be since we've had the pandemic and people have been working from home a lot more. Still you do see people heading off there from time to time, probably to justify the expense, to be honest.

M: Where do most of your friends work?

R: Well, I think the majority have pretty hands-on jobs. So they work in nursing, teaching, or the care industry more generally. Some of them still work in offices, but that's a rarity these days.

M: Would you like to design an office?

R: I could probably do the basics, like what I would want, but the more technical aspects would be lost on me. I like the idea of an office with a desk that I could stand at rather than the current setup, which would probably be better for my back, now I think about it. Aside from that, I like the idea of having greenery and lots of sunlight. But that's about the extent of it.
M: What kind of office would you like to work in?

R: Well, unless it's my current one, which still has its flaws, or the ones I suggested designing then I, to be honest, I wouldn't like to work in an office at all. I don't like the idea of being confined in a space where you're forced to go to every day and you know, you can work from the comfort of your home and you get minimal interference that way.
M: Yes, so office is not your thing, because Scotland Freedom.

R: My personal freedom.

M: It's like there's no freedom in an office, even in a Scottish office, right?

R: Well, no, in no offices, there is freedom really, like if you think about Russian officers, because we both used to work in offices. What do you think about working there? Did you like it?

M: No, not really, because I always had this wish to just get out, to just go somewhere. And which I did, because I had to cover classes. So I would just work in office for some time. And then just I would go somewhere. And I had freedom to go somewhere else. So yeah, it wasn't just like I had to stay there for about like, eight hours, you know, like usual office worker. Office worker? Office clerk?

R: Yeah. Well, office clerk is like, maybe if it was the 1970s

M: Clerk. Yes, so actually, I've never had like an regular office job. So...

R: I haven't had one in forever, when I wouldn't want whatever again.

M: Good for you, Scottish freedom. Okay, so first of all we say, to work in an office, can I say to work at an office?

R: You probably could. But the most common one is to work in an office.

M: Yeah, work in an office. And so yeah, we've just discussed office clerks. So we don't say that. An office worker. And if I work in an office, I say that, okay, I'm an office worker, or what? I just work in an office?

R: Yeah. Well, I mean, both of them are fine. Probably an office worker is better, because it describes a person. And it brings these two ideas together. So yeah, but I don't think it makes too much of a difference.

M: So kind of, I'm an accountant. I'm an office worker.

R: Yes. Or even better. I'm an accountant. So I work in an office.

M: Oh, yeah. Or I'm an IT specialist and I work in an office. But you said that it's your office. But isn't it a study?

R: Oh, yeah. Maybe if I was a millionaire, or living in the 19th century, probably. I think study is like a really old fashioned way of just saying a home office, though, isn't it? Especially now, because studies used to be for like I say, upper middle class people. But now lot's of people work from home. And they're not just upper middle class. They could be working class or lower middle class people.

M: And then you talked about the difference between the pre pandemic times and post pandemic times. And the office work has changed.

R: That's a little Yeah, I was going to say that's a bit of a cheat for anything that people say to do with now. So like, is it common for people to work in an office? Or is it common for people to do anything? Because then you can say like, oh, it used to be this way. But people have been doing something more often. So you get used to in there. And you also get have been plus -ing for your present perfect continuous.

M: Yeah. And it's nice to say like it used to be since we've had the pandemic. Yep.

R: Oh, there's present perfect in there as well.
M: Oh, and present perfect continuous. Wow. Yeah. And then like, um, people have been working from home a lot ever since. Right? So yeah, and to work from home. What else can we say? Like work from home.

R: Trapped in their home?

M: Do we use this word telework?

R: Oh, God. If it was the 99s, maybe.

M: Tele working.

R: I have been tele working, working using the telephone.

M: Yeah, so we kind of don't do that.

R: Oh, sorry. That's just really funny.

M: Yeah. And then about your friends, you said that the majority of your friends have hands on jobs. Hands on? They have jobs on the hands?

R: Well, yeah, like they they work with their hands. I guess hands on is probably not the best way to describe it. But it was the only word that I could think of in the moment. So like, they work with people. Actually, that might be a better collocation, to be honest. They work with people, but with by hands on, I just meant they're involved very heavily in their work. You don't have to be physically present to be hands on to be honest, you just have to be involved somehow. So the idea is still there. But I probably should have said they spend most of their time working with people directly. And that would be much better.

M: And when Rory talked about designing his own office, he said something really bizarre. He said that I like the idea of an office with a desk I could stand at. And I think this is a very strange thing. So instead of like sitting down at a desk, Rory would prefer to stand at it. Like a horse. Horse.

R: I don't know why horse came to your mind there. It's just like, you just stand at a desk as opposed to sitting down because if I'm sitting like this, I have to be conscious, like so I'm not doing it now. I'd be conscious about like not craning my neck forward or you... You screw up the muscles in your neck doing that.

M: So you would prefer a standing desk?

R: Yes, a stand desk.

M: Rather than like a regular desk and a chair?

R: Yeah. They probably have some sort of special name like orthopedic desks or something like that. But I don't know what that means. So I'm just gonna stick to stand desk or desk I could stand at. Because there's a modal verb. Modal verbs are important.

M: Where?

R: Everywhere.

M: Oh, could stand, okay. Yeah. And also Rory added that he would like some greenery and lots of sunlight.

R: Yeah.

M: Greenery, like plants flowers.

R: No, I don't want thistles. I don't think they would grow inside. But yeah, something green would be nice, but something green that I wouldn't have to take care of.

M: Yeah, so dear listener, if you talk about designing your own office, you can mention I'd like to have lots of greenery, lots of sunlight. Also, you can say I'd like an open space office. What else do we have? This open space?

R: Open plan offices.

M: Yeah, open plan offices.

R: Yeah. So you have like an office with cubicles and you have an open plan office where it's like, you can see everyone. And I think they're both horrible ideas. And if you're working in an office, then go, just go home.

M: Yeah, or you can say that I'd prefer my own office. Right. So...

R: Why would you though? Would you?

M: Yeah. Yep.
R: In your home, though? Not in like a building far from your home? People used to think that was like a really big sign of like, how, well, how successful they were like, oh, do I have the corner office in a law firm? And you're just sort of like, get a life, would you? Sorry, I don't believe in this at all.

M: But can you imagine having an office, your own office in your own building in your own Rory's company. And you would have your office and you'd have Jacuzzi there, you'd have this whiskey wardrobe.

R: I have this. It's called my house.

M: Do you have a Jacuzzi there?

R: I do not have a Jacuzzi. But really, there is a gym like a 10 minute walk up the road from where I live, I could just like go there for the jacuzzi. And I can't go there now. But I will go there tomorrow, probably.

M: Oh, that's nice. Plus, like, imagine if you have this in your house, it's going to be a lot of effort with the maintenance. I can see that just being a pain.

M: You would hire people to do it for you.

R: Yes. But also, it's just like a lot of extra work for everybody. I'm sure they have better things to be doing with their time. You disagree?

M: Oh, yeah, no, that's, that's fine. Yeah, so you can say like I wouldn't, I wouldn't like to work in an office, I wouldn't like to work in any office, to be honest. And Rory said that he doesn't like the idea of being confined in a space you're forced to go to everyday. So to be confined in a space,

R: It's just like, you're there, and you're stuck there and you can't go anywhere else. And lighter version might be confined to a space, because that means that you're just supposed to be there but confined in space is to do with, it's closer to being trapped. But the whole idea is that it's bad for you and I don't like it.

M: Yes. To be confined in a space it's negative. Right? So like, it's not something really positive.

R: Confined to prison.

M: Yep. Yeah, usually prison. So like an office like a prison. And then you can say like, you can work from the comfort of your own home. So from the comfort of your own home. Yeah. Nice one. Yeah, they say that soon, they're gonna introduce this online IELTS. And you can take IELTS from the comfort of your own home, sitting there in your PJs. pyjamas half naked with a cup of coffee. And you can take all IELTS parts online, even speaking. So they kind of announced it last year. And they said that we will have it this year, but still nothing. So I don't know, maybe Cambridge people are still working on this online IELTS.

R: Doesn't that sort of violate the spirit of having an exam to test English? If you can just be in your home and you can look up anything that you need for the test? That's cheeky.

M: No, no, because they have this high tech anti-cheating system, and they're gonna track your eyes. And if they see something suspicious, like they will not issue a certificate, so they will show that you were cheating. Yeah, so there are rumours about this like anti-cheating system. So yeah, pretty high-tech stuff. Anyway, so Rory, what's your final word about offices? Are you an office person?

R: I'm not an office person. I believe in freedom and the freedom to work from home if you choose to. If you choose to work in an office, then you're very strange. And I would like to have a conversation with you about that. And tell you how wrong you are.

M: Yes, if you enjoy working in an office, could you please call Rory. Rory, what's your phone number? So we can call you?

R: You can get me on telegram or Instagram. That's fine. I will do an Instagram Live with anyone who wants to talk to me about the supposed merits of working in an office. That's fine.

M: Yes. Right. Could you post a post on telegram about this office thing and people who... If you enjoy working in an office, please attack Rory, with your arguments, with your convincing arguments for working in an office.

R: I don't think anyone's ever gonna make a convincing argument about working in an office.

M: Well, let's see we had a good discussion about batmen. Is Batman a superhero or no? Which he is.

R: Batman is not a superhero. He's in fact a detective.

M: No. He is a superhero.

R: No. He is not. He is a detective. Money is not a superpower. If having money was a superpower, then Bill Gates would be a superhero and he is not a superhero. Decidedly not so. Just...

M: Yeah. So you see, we are having a fruitful discussion now so we can have something of the sort about the offices. Is it a fruitful discussion if both of us leave with both of our points totally reinforced?

M: We're not continuing this. All right?

R: Okay. Because you're wrong, and you know you are. That is usually what someone says when they're losing the argument.

M: Anyway, thank you very much for listening!

R: Bye-bye!

M: Hugs and Kisses. Bye!

R: Bye!

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