Work at Home – And we’re not talking about housework!
The electronic cottage. Does it sound strange? Not to futurists. They say that in the future people will Avork at home, connected to their office by inexpensive computers. In fact, some experts say that, by the year 2000, as many as 10 million \Americans will be working from the home. (This article shows us what people thought in 90’s about the millenium 🙂 )


No more rush-hour traffic problems. No more expensive office buildings. Office workers could work more productively and effectively in their homes, where they wouldn’t be constantly interrupted by the
phone and other colleagues.
But is the home really the ideal place to work?

In experimental projects across the US, several hundred secretaries and professional workers have agreed to try working at home on computers that are connected to their firm’s office computers. This kind of work is called ‘telecommuting’, and employees work at ‘flexiplaces’ instead of in office buildings. Although the advantages of computer work at home have always been obvious, the disadvantages haven’t been discussed too much.

Employers are afraid of losing control over their employees. They don’t trust the workers at home and think that if no one is watching the employee, he or she won’t work as hard.


On the other hand, employees feel out of touch with the office and fear they might be forgotten when it
comes to pay raises and promotions (i.e., getting a better job with the same company).

Companies are also discovering that working at home is expensive for them because of the high cost of computers.
Unions are against computer work at home. They fear that the home computer workshop will bring back the poor working conditions of the late 19th century. They say it will be easier for employers to pay
workers less and not give any health insurance or pension schemes.

They are afraid that children will be working at an earlier age and they say employees may even be forced to buy office equipment usually paid for by the firm. At the moment the unions are against all home computer
work except for the handicapped, who cannot live a normal life due to
their physical or mental disability.
Companies who have experimented with work at home have had some successes but also some failures. Fun Toy Co. says that the workers at home worked 48% more effectively than the workers in the
office. But not all the home workers liked it. Three out of eight managers in the programme dropped out.

One manager, Sally Evans, wanted to get back to the office after putting on 20 pounds in two
months because she was always running to the refrigerator for snacks.
Another manager with marriage problems found that being in the house all day made his marriage even worse, and his wife finally moved out.
The third manager to leave the programme missed the social contact
with friends at the office and found it hard to discipline himself at


Mark the best choice.
1. Experts think that in the future .
a) 10 million people will be working with computers all over the world
b) people won’t have cars any more
c) the phones at home will interrupt people
d) many people will do their office work on a computer at home
2. Telecommuting’ (line 13) means .
a) working on computers in an office building
b) working more productively and effectively in homes
c) working in homes, connected to the office computer
d) working in the office with a cheap computer, connected to your home
3. Employers are afraid that .
a) their employees won’t work hard at home
b) employees will refuse to work at home
c) their offices will be empty in the future
d) they won’t notice the good employees
4. Line 23, ‘them’ refers to .
a) the computers
b) employees
c) promotions
d) companies
5. Some employees say that ‘computer work at home’ is bad because .
a) home computers are very expensive
b) they think they can work better at home
c) they have to work harder at home
d) they’ll lose contact with things at the office

6. Unions
a) disagree with the idea of home computer work
b) think that home computer work has got certain advantages
c) think that home computer work has disadvantages for the handicapped
d) believe that home computer work is a good idea
7. Unions say that .
a) workers will get better health insurance
b) employers will pay home workers more
c) working conditions will become worse
d) the handicapped cannot do home computer work
8. Companies which have tried the home work programme .
a) are very pleased with the results
b) feel there are good and bad things about the programme
c) are having production difficulties
d) aren’t successful
9. Lines 36-37, Three out of eight managers in the programme dropped out’
means that .
a) they continued with the programme
b) they missed their friends
c) they left the programme
d) they liked the programme
10. Sally Evans disliked the programme because .
a) she was lonely
b) she ate too much and put on weight
c) she did her work too fast and as a result had more work to do
d) her marriage became worse

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