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EFSET Sample Reading Passage #3 (difficult)

ሆንግ-ኮንግ ኣብ ኣህጉር ኤስያ ዝዓበየ ምርኢት ስነ-ጥበብ ተአንግድ - መጋቢት 25, 2016
ሆንግ-ኮንግ ኣብ ኣህጉር ኤስያ ዝዓበየ ምርኢት ስነ-ጥበብ ተአንግድ - መጋቢት 25, 2016

You will read an article about telecommuting. Answer the questions based on what you have read.

If you had your choice, would you rather sit in an office all day to make a living or work from the comfort of your own home? Nowadays, more and more businesses are allowing employees to work at least part of the week from home. The idea of “telecommuting” isn’t that new and for many it’s been technically possible since the Internet became widely accessible. Some employers, however, have been less willing to allow the practice for fear that employees who were not being watched would become lazy and undisciplined. Actually, recent evidence has shown that these fears are mostly unwarranted and that businesses can actually save a lot of money on rent by converting more of their staff over to telecommuters.

In a normal telecommuting situation, a worker will be given assignments and asked to complete them or report on them, as in any other office job. The major difference is that most communication is done using the telephone, email and instant messaging. Some employers allow workers to choose which hours they will work, others require them to be online during a normal work day. Either way, most telecommuters have the freedom to work from home or wherever else they would like.

Yet telecommuters often find that their freedom comes with a cost. Those who work outside the office may discover that their employers are more willing to ask them to work long or strange hours. In situations where there are other family members at home, it can be difficult to keep work life and home life separate. Other chores around the house can also serve as distractions, and there’s the matter of getting office supplies like printers and desks. Working at a coffee shop or a library may be a solution, but some locations put time limits on Internet use. Sometimes employees actually take a room in their house and convert it over to a home office — this can be quite helpful in creating an ideal working environment and provides the added benefit of a few dollars back in the bank when tax time comes around.

The benefits to employer and employee seem clear — surveys show that the ability to work from home is interesting to possible employees. The one thing that has not been perfected yet is the work meeting. Holding a meeting on the phone or over the computer is not as effective as meeting in person because it can be difficult to converse with a group without seeing the people you are talking to. Still, who wouldn’t want to be able to work in their pajamas?

However, not everyone is convinced that telecommuting flexibility makes for good business performance. Very soon after assuming the CEO role at Yahoo in 2013, Marissa Mayer made telecommuting a thing of the past at the multinational Internet company. Known for its flexible employment rules, the decision came as a shock to most staff members. Mayer explained her decision in a memo to all employees that said, in part,

“To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side. That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices. Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people and impromptu team meetings. Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home.”

Some industry analysts have pointed out Yahoo’s confused strategy and less than stellar stock performance over the past five years. Maybe Mayer is suggesting a path out of the woods for Yahoo.

1. Which ONE of the following is the passage mainly about?

  1. Why people can telecommute more easily today than in the past
  2. Why more companies are choosing to allow employees to telecommute
  3. The benefits for companies who have telecommuters
  4. The practical implications of working as a telecommuter
  5. The way telecommuters do their jobs from home using the Internet

2. Which TWO of the following accurately restate information in the passage?

  1. Employees cannot handle the distractions that come with working from home.
  2. The possibility of telecommuting may be useful in recruiting employees.
  3. Telecommuters may have assignments and hours that closely resemble those of on-site employees.
  4. Telecommuting provides more cost and time benefits to employers than employees.
  5. Employers sometimes prefer telecommuting because it affects work quality.
  6. Those who telecommute have more freedom but less flexibility than office co-workers.

3. Which TWO of the following are mentioned as negative aspects of telecommuting?

  1. Employees are required to obtain their own supplies for home offices.
  2. Employers often force employees to work strange hours from home.
  3. Employees and employers find it difficult to hold productive meetings.
  4. Telecommuters often find it difficult for their employers to trust them.
  5. Telecommuters can find it challenging to manage the tax implications of a home office.
  6. Telecommuters struggle to find a balance between work and home life.

4. Which TWO options accurately describe elements of telecommuting as it is described in the passage?

  1. Employees are requested to make regular trips to the office.
  2. Employers often send documents by email and post to telecommuters.
  3. Employers often tell employees where they can and cannot work.
  4. Employees are often asked to do work as if they were in the office.
  5. Employees are expected to use telephones and computers to communicate.
  6. Employers typically require employees to keep regular office hours.

5. Based on the passage, which TWO of the following might be economic effects of the growth of telecommuting?

  1. Furniture manufacturers increase sales of home office suites.
  2. Coffeehouses compete on the basis of free Internet use offers.
  3. Commercial property developers rent smaller and smaller office spaces to companies.
  4. The concept of a “work week” is disappearing from many people’s lives.
  5. Businesses are hiring more and more part-time workers and job sharers.
  6. Employees accept lower pay for more flexible hours when they take new jobs.

6. Which TWO of the following describe changes a company is likely to make in response to telecommuting trends?

  1. Advertising for new employees on more Internet websites than in newspapers
  2. Changing benefits for employees who work normal hours from home
  3. Investing in remote computer-use monitoring systems for all employees
  4. Giving out holiday bonuses instead of holding holiday parties for employees
  5. Allocating less of the cost budget to office supplies and equipment purchases
  6. Permitting new employees to visit telecommuters in their homes for training

7. Which TWO of the following assertions would Marissa Mayer be likely to support, based on information in the passage?

  1. Online collaboration is not as productive as face-to-face collaboration.
  2. Good business decisions depend on effective team work.
  3. Employee satisfaction can influence company policies.
  4. People waste time socializing when they work in a single location.
  5. Stock performance is connected to the work culture of a company.
  6. Communication among work colleagues is harder when they are physically separated.

8. Based on her explanation to Yahoo staff, which TWO of the following assumptions does Marissa Mayer make about Yahoo?

  1. Yahoo employees do not communicate well.
  2. The company is currently not as quick to market as its competition.
  3. Having all employees work side-by-side creates a more effective business strategy.
  4. Changing employment rules is an essential part of taking charge.
  5. The company needs better ideas from its employees to ensure its success.
  6. Telecommuting has caused the company’s current lackluster performance.