On this episode of Coffee with Gringos, you’ll hear us chat about the evolving workplace! During the episode, we refer several times to an article from Forbes.com. In addition to the listening practice you get from CWG, get some reading practice in this week, and check the article out: How to Escape the Traditional Office Environment as a Digital Nomad
Paige: You are listening to Coffee with Gringos. I’m Paige Sutherland.
Mariah: And I’m Mariah Wika. Welcome back to Coffee with Gringos. This week we’ll be chatting about the changing workplace. We’ll be discussing digital nomads, non-traditional workplaces, and we’ll be sharing our opinions on all of these topics. Remember, if you get lost, don’t worry. We have a transcript and a guide for this episode on our website.
Paige: So, Mariah, you were just telling me you read this really interesting article this week about digital nomads… I don’t even know what this means.
Mariah: I know, I know.
Paige: Can you help me out with that.
Mariah: Yeah, I didn’t know what it meant either until really recently. The article was on Forbes, Forbes.com. And, it was basically saying that more and more people are choosing not to work in the office at all.
Paige: Wait… and they get paid to work outside of the office?
Mariah: Wherever they want! So with the rise of smartphone technology and computers and laptops and ipads and, y’know, skype and facetime and video conferencing. It’s not necessary to go to the office every day in a lot of professions, and so people are choosing to take their technology with them and work remotely - wherever they want in the world. It’s a huge deal, and it’s really changing how the workplace functions.
Paige: Interesting. So, if I work at one of these companies that offers this option, I could be working from my bed in my pajamas, just clocking in and clocking out.
Mariah: Yes, exactly, exactly.
Paige: It seems like that might be kind of lonely. You won’t have that shared experience talking to your coworkers, bouncing off ideas.
Mariah: Right, right. Because I think that we all know about the concept of working from home, right? It’s normal that your company lets you work from home every once in a while. But it’s still expected that you spend the majority of time in your office, brainstorming with coworkers, going to meetings, doing all of those things. But, in this article, it was talking about how actually, this experience isn’t necessarily totally isolating because there are these new spaces called co-working spaces.
Mariah: And it’s basically a place where you go and there’s a community of digital nomads. And like, for those of you who don’t know, a nomad is a person who moves from place to place, right? And so, a digital nomad is a worker that can work in any place.
Paige: Because of technology, you don’t physically have to be there to get the work done.
Mariah: Right, and the article was written by a person who lives in Los Angeles, and the author said that one of the first co-working spaces in LA has this motto, and it says, “‘Work for yourself, not by yourself.’ Working in the community, even if you don’t actively engage with other members, still provides an ambience of innovation and helps prevent the bubble that can be created by surrounding yourself with only those in your specific profession.”
Paige: After you said that, it makes much more sense. Because sometimes when you’re in this workspace at your actual office, you have tunnel vision because you all have the same kind of interests. You all have the same goals in mind. And so you have more opinions, more ideas around you if you can interact with different people of different trades.
Mariah: Right, and in this situation, yeah, you have somebody. You have an architect sitting next to an interior designer sitting next to somebody who works in marketing, and you have this, I don’t know, you have this really interesting mix of ideas. I think it sounds really cool!
Paige: I think it sounds a lot better than going to an office building 9 to 5, clocking in and out… having the same environment. It seems cool if you could work, say in Bali, or in some other country remotely as well as these coworking spaces.
Mariah: Right, and that’s part of it is that being a digital nomad facilitates travel… like if you can go to Argentina or if you can go to Portugal and you sit and get paid the same amount and do the same work… why not?
Paige: Yeah, so, I guess we just have to to quit Dynamic English and become digital nomads!
Mariah: We would never do that!
Paige: You’ve sold me! But, besides this idea of digital nomads, it’s also interesting how the work culture has really changed, specifically the work space.
Mariah: Yeah, you’re so right. I mean, think about Google. Google is kind of the classic example of this where it’s this workspace with ping pong tables and beer on tap and you know… there are nap rooms. Have you heard of nap rooms?
Paige: It’s absurd! I can’t imagine you get paid to take a nap in the office. But, a lot of tech start-up companies have these kinds of workspace options, like you said… the ping pong tables. I’ve seen video games at the office. I’ve even seen an actual slide where if you don’t wanna take the stairs, but you just wanna slide down to the first floor to talk to your boss, you can do that at some of these start-up companies.
Mariah: That blows my mind.
Paige: It’s so not traditional, but yet, I think that’s the future.
Mariah: Right, right, and I think that in order for workspaces to remain relevant and for people to choose careers where they actually do go to an office, workspaces have to adapt and change and become more interesting. My concern though, and I don’t know what you think about this is… do you think that people are actually productive in these spaces?
Paige: I think that a lot of these workspace perks are more to lure employees to get hired there, but I can’t imagine that a lot of these employees are using them in excess.
Paige: I can’t imagine that a lot of people are taking naps everyday or having six beers from the keg a day. I think it’s a perk where they get excited, they join the company, and they use it probably intermittently but not in excess.
Mariah: Right. I think you’re totally right. The thing about this that I do like is it’s this idea that the focus is not on how many hours you stay at the company… it’s on what you produce! Do you get your work done? If you get your work done, it’s okay if you play ping pong and chat with your colleagues. If you don’t get your work done, that’s not okay. But the focus is on the production, what you produce, rather than how many hours you sit at your desk.
Paige: And it’s good that the future is going towards workplace happiness in the sense that our job is 50% of what we do.
Mariah: Right, we spend the majority of our life working.
Paige: So we might as well be happy while we’re doing it! So I think having these companies offering such perks where yeah, you work hard, you get your work done, but then you can take a little break and like you said, play… whether it’s ping pong, video games, take a little quick nap… things that offer you this experience of yeah, you’re working, but also, work can be a little fun too.
Mariah: Right, and not to mention, I don’t know about you… but I think we all know that if we spend 9 hours sitting at a desk, we’re not productive during all of that time! I know all of you have checked your facebook and your instagram and watched youtube videos during work hours.
Mariah: Because it’s impossible to focus for 9 hours! It’s impossible.
Paige: So it’s almost.. Having these outlets kind of make you more productive cus’ you can kind of take a little break and then refuel, go back, and become more productive. The other thing that’s also interesting is besides the environment that’s changing...also the way we work is different where you see these stand-up desks. You see these shared spaces where the boss doesn’t have the big corner office anymore. He (or she) sits at a table with all his (or her) coworkers. There’s no really dividers. Everyone’s working in this shared space.
Mariah: Yeah, the layout of the offices that’s reflecting this flexibility and this nontraditional perspective. It’s fascinating!
Paige: It’s really funny to think about, especially, thinking of my parents in this environment of playing ping pong and sharing a desk next to their boss and nap rooms. They would pull their hair out. They would think it was crazy.
Mariah: Right. Absolutely.
Paige: But that’s where the workplace is going. So I’m just curious about what’s going to happen next.
Mariah: Right! I guess we’ll have to wait and see. And maybe talk to Dynamic English about getting a ping pong table.
Paige: Good idea.
Mariah: Next week on Coffee with Gringos, we’ll be talking about communication in the workplace and something we all know, love, and use constantly - WhatsApp. Thanks for listening, and we’ll talk to you soon.
Coffee with Gringos was brought to you by Dynamic English, where you can learn English, where you can learn English, simply by using it. If you’re interested in taking classes or just want to learn more - go to our website at dynamicenglish.cl. Thanks for listening!
KEY VOCABULARY, PHRASES, AND SLANG
To chat (verb) - to talk conversationally
Example: This week, we’ll be chatting about topics related to the workplace.
Digital nomad (noun) - a person who uses technology to be able to work remotely from anywhere in the world
Example: Digital nomads are choosing to take their technology with them and work remotely.
Non-traditional (adjective) - not traditional
Example: The workplace is changing rapidly, and it’s becoming more non-traditional.
Huge deal (phrase) - a very big and important topic
Example: It’s a huge deal - it’s really changing how the workplace functions.
Clock in/clock out - to start work/to finish work
Example: If I work at one of these companies that offers this option, I could be working from my bed in my pajamas, just clocking in and clocking out.
Bouncing off ideas (phrase) - to propose and discuss your ideas with other people
Example: One advantage of going to a traditional workplace is you can bounce ideas off of your coworkers.
To brainstorm (verb) - to think of ideas
Example: I like to brainstorm in person with my colleagues, but it’s also possible to do this via technology!
Meeting (noun) - a gathering to discuss professional topics
Example: Meetings are an important way of exchanging ideas with coworkers. Since digital nomads can’t meet with their coworkers physically, they need to be creative about how they have meetings.
Co-working space (noun) - a space where a community of digital nomads joins and works
Example: Being a digital nomad isn’t necessarily totally isolating because you can work with other digital nomads in co-working spaces.
Nomad (noun) - a person who moves from place to place
Example: She likes to work and travel all over the world. She considers herself a nomad.
Tunnel vision (noun) - when your perspective is narrow or limited
Example: Sometimes when you’re in your office, you have tunnel vision because you’re working with people in the same profession, with similar interests.
Trades (noun) - professions
Example: There are more distinct opinions if you can interact with different people of different trades.
You’ve sold me! (phrase) - to be convinced by an argument
Example: You’ve sold me! I’m going to switch careers and become a digital nomad.
Perk (noun) - an attractive benefit of working at a company
Example: Ping pong tables and beer on tap are perks of working at modern workplaces.
Intermittently (adverb) - occasionally, sometimes
Example: We think that employees use perks like ping pong tables and nap rooms intermittently.
In excess (phrase) - more than the appropriate amount
Example: I doubt that people are using perks like beer and nap rooms in excess.
Outlet (noun) - a way to use or express your energy
Example: These work activities are great outlets to help employees relax, focus, and be more productive.
Pull your hair out (idiom) - to go crazy
Example: My parents would have a really difficult time with the non-traditional workplace. They’d pull their hair out!
Download the Episode 6 transcript here!