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TELECOMMUTING DISAPPEARANCE OF PLACE

by Phil Wiley
The new Superjumbo's, the next generation of airliners, put the frighteners on me. Call
me a Luddite if you will, but I can imagine the headlines when the first one crashes. 1000 dead
in one go. Not that Ill be on the list. Ive given up travel, even to the office.
I'm writing this from my veranda, just onshore from Australia's Great Barrier reef. It's in
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the high 80's, parrots and palm trees in the garden. It sure beats Central London and the
crowded underground into Soho, the last place I worked.
I've become a long-distance drop out from the metropolis; separated by space, but
united by communication. Using cellular phone, fax, and modem I can conduct most, if not all,
of my research without leaving my comfy chair. With a notebook computer and the latest

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wireless radio modems, it's technically possible for me to do my work on the beach and sell it
globally within minutes.
Communication technology, particularly the Internet, is shrinking the world. Combine the
net

with

virtual
15

20

telephones

and

reality,

and physical travel

will no longer be

as important. Using

VR, which at the

rate of technological

advance will be

perfectly feasible at

home in a few

years, we'll be able

to

home

and, if we cared to,

work in a virtual

reality office. Perhaps

the illusion of a

busy virtual reality

office would be

good for me. Some-

times

hard

stay

I feel it

myself
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video

ings.

to

motivate

in

such

laid back surround-

But

then

again, I feel that

telecommuting seems to encourage certain entrepreneurial qualities, including drive, selfdiscipline, self-reliance, and improved judgment. Away from the office you know you've got to
perform or your idyll could be shattered with an E-mailed redundancy notice. Or if you're self
employed just the thought of no easy pay cheque and no paid holidays does the trick.
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This telecommuting concept taps into our powerful nostalgia for village life, far from the
hassles of city living or a demanding and expensive commute. Granted I've taken it to
extremes. When most people talk about telecommuting they mean avoiding driving into the
city. Not moving 14,000 miles to the other side of the world. Swopping snow for sun.
Waterstone's and Dillons for amazon.com. Harrods and Oxford Street for the local highway

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shopping strip.
I miss England sometimes. But the point is that with modern technology, you can live
where you choose to live, and pull in an income from anywhere in the world. All you have to do
is find something you can sell. Whether it's your remote computing skills, information, coffee,
or plots of land on Mars, there's a lot you can do on the Net.
http://www.ozemedia.com/articles/telearts.htm#Ultimate

I. A. Read the text and who/what these words refer to.

24 points

1. you (line 2)
________________________________

2. one (line 2)
________________________________

3. this (line 4)
________________________________

4. my (line 10)
_______________________________

5. it (line 10)
________________________________

6. we (line 18)
________________________________

B. Choose the best meaning for these phrases by circling the right option.
1. The new superjumbos [] put the
frighteners on me. (line 1)

20 points

2. It sure beats Central London []. (lines 5/6)

a) The author is afraid of flying.

a) Its better than Central London.

b) The author is afraid of flying.

b) Its worse than Central London.

3. Communication technology, particularly


the Internet, is shrinking the world. (line
12)

4. [] youve got to perform or your idyll could be


shattered with an E-mailed redundancy notice.
(line 28)

a) Communication technology is making

the world a smaller place.


b) Communication technology is making

the world poorer.

a) You must get your job done or you could

be fired.
b) You must get your job done, otherwise

you wont get noticed.

C. Complete these sentences with information from the text.

62 points

1. The author ____________________________ his job in an office and moved to ___________________.


2. He can work from home due to ____________________________________________________________.
3. Although at the moment it is not possible to _________________________________________________
___________________, it will be ___________________________________________________.
4. If you work for yourself, you dont _____________________________________ or __________________
___________________ unless you put your hand to work.
5. The author has taken _______________________________________________________ to extremes
not only has he stopped ___________________________________, but he has also ___________
_______________________________________________________________.
40 points

D. Now answer these questions on the text. Use your own words as much as possible.
1. List the advantages and disadvantages of telecommuting referred to by the author.
1.1. So, is the author in favour or against telecommuting? Write a short paragraph (70-80 words)
linking the ideas youve written in 1. _______________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________________

II.A. Read the text below and complete it with the words in the box.

24 points

Telecommuting is an increasingly popular work option in many


changes

____________________ and industries, and its usage is expected

to increase in the future, boosted by new ____________________

innovations

flexible
commutes

in computer and communication technology. Highly skilled

growth new technologies

workers have begun to demand more ____________________

businesses customers

work arrangements, especially as they choose to live farther and


farther from their ____________________." Shaw and other

employers willing

observers also note demographic ____________________ within the American work force as a factor in
the ____________________ of telecommuting. These analysts contend that new generations of
workers are less ____________________ to sacrifice time with family than their counterparts of
previous eras. This desire to spend more time at home and avoid long ____________________ is
touted as a key factor in making telecommuting an attractive benefit. Finally, ____________________
have made working from home a viable alternative. With the advent of high speed modems, fax
machines, voice mail, powerful personal computers, electronic mail and the like, workers can now
perform their jobs without losing touch with employers and ____________________.
http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/small/Sm-Z/Telecommuting.html

B. Rewrite these sentences without changing their meaning. Use the


expressions given in brackets.
1. He worked hard all day though he wasnt feeling well. (in spite of)

30 points

__________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________
2. Many women turn to home-based work so that they can enjoy flexibility in working location and

hours.

(in

order

to)

_______________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________
3. Telecommuting arrangements help workers realize a general improvement in their personal

"quality of life and as a result they feel much happier. (because) __________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________

GD WORK!