Working from Home


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For some people, the commute to and from the office is the most stressful part of the day. Driving a car, waiting for the train, or taking a bus just to start work can take up lots of time. Working from home avoids that step and sounds very relaxing.
Now that technology enables many people to do their jobs outside the office, more and more people are working from home. But trying to do your job away from the office can pose some problems. Learn work English and hear Sara and Mason discuss the challenges of working from home in this English lesson.
Sara: This summer I converted this shed in the back of my house into a home office, so now I can work from home really nicely.
Mason: Why couldn’t you have done it before you had your shed?
Sara: I could have done it before I had my shed, it just makes me feel as though I’m going to work even though I’m still at home.
Mason: Yeah, that’s the problem I have when I’m working from home is that I don’t have that, kind of, separate space, so it just feels so easy to get distracted. It’s generally an excuse to take a day off.
Sara: Do you find you start procrastinating and that kind of thing?
Mason: I’m not deliberately putting it off. It’s not so much that I’m procrastinating and more that I’m just getting distracted. I’ll be like, “Oh, hey, I’ll sit down on the couch to work,” but maybe I need a snack and so I’ll walk to the fridge, and then, “Oh hey, maybe I’ll just watch 10 minutes of TV.” But I’m not trying to not do my work, there’s just all these things around for me to pay attention to.
Sara: So do you prefer to go into the office or that kind of thing?
Mason: I do because I tend to be really collaborative. I actually think and work better when I’m talking with other people, rather than just sitting and doing something, kind of just staring at my computer or whatever for hours on end. I want to get everybody in a room and talk stuff out.
Sara: I think that it can start to feel lonely and sort of isolated to work from home. That’s true.
Mason: That’s what Skype is for, right?
Sara recently converted a shed into an office so she can work from home. It makes her feel like she is separating her time working from her time at home.
Mason doesn’t have a separate work space at his house. He gets distracted by all the other things he can do at home and does not get much work done. Mason prefers to go to an office and work around other people. Sara agrees that it can be lonely to work from home.
Have you ever had a job where you can work from home? Do you get more done in a collaborative environment, or when you are isolated?
Grammar Point
The Modal Verb “Can”
When Sara says, “Now I can work from home,” she is using the modal verb can to express possibility. Modal verbs come before and modify the main verb in a sentence.
Can expresses ability or possibility, as in, “I can speak French and Spanish,” or, “Students can get cheaper tickets at the movies.” This modal verb is also used to ask permission or make a request, as in, “Can you come over tonight?”
In Sara’s example, work is the main verb of the sentence. She says she can work, which means she has the ability or opportunity to do so.
Can you name another modal verb?
❶ What did Sara do this summer?

  • Made a home office. ✓
  • Got a new job.
  • Got on Skype.
  • Built a house.

❷ Mason gets _ when he works from home.

  • lonely
  • distracted ✓
  • hungry
  • tired

❸ Which is correct?

  • Mason likes collaborative.
  • Mason is liking collaborative.
  • Mason collaborative likes to be.
  • Mason likes to be collaborative. ✓

❹ Mason __ very well from home.

  • work
  • not work
  • can work
  • can’t work ✓

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