lunes, 1 de mayo de 2017

Listening test: Google's work environments

Listen to a report on the unique work environments in Google and choose the option A, B or C which best completes the sentences or answers the questions.

1. The Google headquarters, the Googleplex, allows ______ at the office.
A. cubicles
B. pets
C. siestas

2. Employees can
A. choose who they want to work with.
B. decide where they are going to work.
C. personalise their workstations.

3. Google offers its employees
A. free clothes.
B. free food.
C. personalised menus.

4. Which Google programme is so popular that there is a waiting list?
A. company sports league
B. day care for kids
C. on-site medical care

5. Google also offers its employees the service of
A. exercise instructors.
B. massage therapists.
C. psychologists and counsellors.

6. One of Google’s most controversial programmes is
A. allowing employees to work on projects they choose.
B. not working at weekends.
C. the selection of talents for the company.

7. How many of Google's new products and services have resulted from this programme?
A. about 10%
B. almost 50%
C. around 75%

8. In Google's hiring process candidates have to
A. answer unusual interview questions.
B. be physically fit.
C. mainly demonstrate how brilliant their minds are.

What’s the best way to motivate your employees? Most companies use the standard method of offering promotions and threatening dismissal. But Google has taken an unorthodox approach to this challenge by pushing the boundaries of what can be considered a workplace further than ever before. Inside the company’s headquarters, which is known as the Googleplex, the layout itself is far from conventional. Instead of cubicles and conservative décor, Google’s office feels a little like a grown-up playground. Bright colours abound, there are secret rooms with innovative themes around every corner, and pets can accompany their masters to work. Employees are encouraged to express themselves by writing on the walls, and are also given plenty of leeway in designing their own work stations. They can even have a treadmill attached so they can walk or jog while working.
The benefits for Google employees are unmatched – from cafés and vending machines offering free gourmet food to flexible hours and casual dress. One of Google’s principles is that you can be serious without a suit. The company not only offers a healthcare plan, but also includes on-site medical staff to attend to employees. Free haircuts, laundry, and dry cleaning are all part of the package, and children of Google employees can be enrolled in the in-house day care program, which has become so popular that the waiting list now numbers in the hundreds.
If the work gets stressful at times, Google employees can enjoy a subsidized massage service from a licensed therapist. Or they can take a break in one of the recreation areas, with pool tables, ping-pong, foosball, and even a swimming pool. In stark contrast to many other cutting-edge companies in their field, there is the idea that the weekend is strictly family time, and as much as possible of the Google dynasty shuts down on Saturdays and Sundays.
One of Google’s most controversial programmes is called “Innovation Time Off,” in which engineers are allowed to spend up to 20% of their hours on projects that interest them. Although some criticize this policy as a waste of tech talent, the results speak for themselves: almost half of Google’s new products and services have originated in these independent endeavours. Having company-sanctioned time for innovation also energizes employees and increases their work output.
Working at Google sounds like a dream come true – but first you have to get through the hiring process. With such incredible perks, the company can afford to be picky when it comes to recruitment. This has led to their infamous interview questions, such as ‘How many ping-pong balls can you fit in a school bus?’ Rather than searching for the most accurate answer, Google is likely filtering out people who won’t be a good fit with their company culture. They are seeking not only brilliant minds, but also creative types who resonate with their philosophy that work should be challenging and the challenge should be fun.

1B 2C 3B 4B 5B 6A 7B 8A