BOX SET: 6 Minute English - 'Business & Work' English mega-class! 30 minutes of new vocabulary!
Hello. This is 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English. I'm Georgina. And I'm Neil.
In this programme, we're going to be talking about the world of work. Ah yes, travelling to an office five days a week, sitting at a desk all day, and then going home. Neil, it's not always like that. Office work doesn't have to be such a routine - the usual, fixed way of doing things - it is much more flexible these days. That's true. During the pandemic, we've all had to have a more flexible approach to work.
Yes, we have. And it has, perhaps, changed our attitude to working flexibly. But even before coronavirus there was an opportunity to work flexibly, and we'll be discussing that soon.
But there's one thing that can't be changed and that's you setting a quiz question! Ah yes, I hadn't forgotten. So, Neil, I know you work very hard. But according to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development - the OECD - workers from which country work the longest hours? Is it... a) South Korea, b) Germany, or c) Mexico? Well, as I'm not on the list, let's go for c) Mexico. OK, Neil, we'll find out if that's right at the end of the programme.
But let's talk more about flexible working now. Different countries have different laws about working flexibly... but here in the UK, for last 14 years, employees - workers - have had the right to request flexible working. But what does it mean to work flexibly? Sarah Jackson is a workplace consultant and visiting professor at Cranfield University School of Management. She spoke to BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour programme about what it means exactly... Because of the pandemic, now everybody thinks flexible working means working from home - it doesn't, it's about common sense, what does the job need in terms of when where, how long, and what do you need and what does your family - need and how do the two match? So, flexibility really means having some choice and control over when, where and how long you work, and agreeing that with your manager.
So, flexible working is not just working from home - something we've got used to during the pandemic. It is about common sense - using our judgment to make sensible decisions. So, requesting to work for two hours a day is not sensible - but being able to work from 12 until 8 instead of 9 to 5 might be. Of course, this depends on the needs of the business. And as Sarah said, you need to match your needs with that of the business. Match here means to work equally on both sides.
Getting the working conditions that suit you does require some negotiation with your manager. You need agreement from him or her - and that can be difficult if your manager is inflexible - not willing to change. But of course, in the UK at least, an employee has a right to request flexible working, and this must be considered by the employer. This law initially was just for parents with a child younger than 6 years old - or a disabled child less than 18. But since 2014, everyone has the right to request flexible working. And that includes men.
Which is an important point, as Sarah Jackson explains. Fewer men seem to have their requests for flexible working accepted - let's find out why. Men, when they do ask, are more likely to be turned down, so there's a real bias there in the system and the most important thing that needs to happen here, I think, is for employers to really actively start saying to their men, 'we know you want to be active fathers' - because there's a whole generation of young men who do want to be active fathers - 'please use the right to request flexible working', work flexibly if you can - because until men are enabled to be active fathers, we won't get equality at home and we certainly won't get equality in the workplace either. OK, so men are more likely to have their request turned down - or rejected.
And Sarah says there is a bias in the system - unfairness, treating one group of people more favorably than another. And this is unfair because it can prevent some men being active fathers - actually being involved with childcare. But having more active fathers can lead to equality - or fairness - at home and in the workplace. It sounds like something that needs to be looked at.
But now, Neil, let's get the answer to my question. According to official data, in which country do workers work the longest hours? And I said Mexico. Which is correct, well done! According to the OECD, the average Mexican spends 2,255 hours at work per year - the equivalent of around 43 hours per week. Germans, on the other hand, clock up the fewest hours. Well, my working day is nearly over, so let's just recap some of the vocabulary we've discussed.
Starting with routine - the usual, fixed way of doing things. Common sense is our judgment to make sensible decisions. When you need something to match it has to work equally on both sides. And when someone is inflexible, they are unwilling to change - sometimes we say they won't budge! Bias is unfairness, treating one group of people more favorably than another. And being active with something means being involved with it. Well, there's no flexibility in our 6 minutes so we're out of time.
We have plenty more 6 Minute English programmes to enjoy on our website at bbclearningenglish.com. And check us out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Don't forget that we have an app too, which you can download for free from the app stores. We help you learn English on the move! Grammar, vocabulary and interesting topics - we have them all! Bye for now.
Goodbye. Hello. This is 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English. I'm Rob. And I'm Sam. Have you got a 'business brain', Sam? Would you like to start your own business? It sounds good, Rob.
I like the idea of being my own boss. Well, that's the dream for many millennials - the name given to the current generation of young people aged between 24 and 38. Some of the millennial generation are dissatisfied with the old ways of doing things, for example how big business uses data from social media and the negative impact of companies on society and the environment. In today's programme, we'll look at why millennials are so attracted to starting their own businesses and asking whether this really is the way to make the world a better place. And of course, we'll be learning some new vocabulary on the way. But first, it's time for today's quiz question.
At 79 years old, Muhammad Yunus is hardly a millennial but he's a hero to many young business people. In 2006 he won the Nobel Peace Prize, but what for? Was it for: a) offering microfinance to low-income businesses, b) starting the first business to earn £1m in under a week, or c) developing a progressive model of taxation. Hmmm, I know millennials like starting businesses so I'll say, b) earning £1m in under a week.
OK. We'll find out later if you were right. Now, whether it's TV shows like 'The Apprentice' or the big success of companies in California's Silicon Valley, the last decade saw a huge growth in 20 and 30-year-olds starting their own businesses. BBC World Service programme The Why Factor asked business professor, Ethan Mollick to explain how this situation came about... There's all these platforms that let you build entrepreneurial ventures much more easily. The growth of things like crowdfunding have helped make entrepreneurship more accessible and led to tons of new start-ups. So there's a lot of new methods for launching businesses and the cost of launching new businesses dropped at the same time.
Ethan lists some of the reasons why it's now easier to become an entrepreneur - someone who starts their own business, often after seeing a new opportunity. Entrepreneurs see opportunities for products and services not being supplied by existing companies, so they create start-ups newly formed businesses intended to grow rapidly by providing for a particular market gap. One of the main problems to starting up your own business used to be getting the large amounts of money needed, but nowadays this can be solved with crowdfunding - getting the funding for a new business by asking a large number of people to give small amounts of money, usually via the internet. But while start-up success stories have made going into business a good option, for many millennials it's not just about making money but also about being socially responsible and doing good. However, others argue that most big changes for the better have come from governments not millennial businesses. Here, former World Bank economist, Charles Kenny, cautions against over-emphasizing individual business over governments...
If you are working in a place with a corrupt and inefficient government, one of the best ways you can push development in your country is to try and make that problem a little bit better. It's not something that any one individual can do, it has to be a collective effort, but the more we have young, committed, smart people who want to make the world a better place working in government, the more likely government is to start delivering the kind of services we need in order to ensure a high quality of life in that country. So, Charles mentions the problem that governments can be corrupt - act in morally wrong or illegal ways, often in return for money or power. The talent and passion that millennials put into starting their own business could instead be used to improve governments through collective effort - a group of people acting together to achieve a common goal.
It's this working together that can raise people's quality of life - level of personal satisfaction and comfort. Something that Muhammad Yunus was doing. Ah yes, that's today's quiz question.
I asked you why Muhammad Yunus won the Nobel Prize in 2006. I said that, b) he started the first business to earn £1m in under a week. But in fact it was a) offering microfinance to low-income businesses - a way for anyone, rich or poor, to run a business in a positive way. Today, we've been talking about why young people in the millennial generation want to be entrepreneurs - people who start their own business. Many millennials create start-ups - newly formed businesses intended to grow rapidly using a method called crowdfunding - getting the funding for their new business by asking large numbers of people on the internet to each give a little bit of money. But it's not only about making profits.
Millennial start-ups can help solve many of the developing world's problems, instead of governments which may be corrupt - acting immorally or illegally for money or power. What's needed more than individual businessmen and women is collective effort - a group of people acting together to achieve a common goal. And one important goal is to improve the quality of life - the level of satisfaction and comfort that a person or group enjoys. That's all from us today. But remember to join us again soon for more topical discussion and vocabulary. Bye for now! Bye! Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Neil.
And I'm Sam. Now Sam, how would you define eSports? eSports? Well this is essentially competitive video gaming. Individuals and teams take part in competitions where they play video games. So just like me and my kids at the weekend? Well, no! eSports is enormous tens of thousands of people turn up to watch these events.
The players are professional and get paid huge salaries - the best ones are millionaires. Well, maybe i'm not quite in that league yet! But the business of eSports is our topic for this programme. Before we press 'play' on the subject though, a question. Approximately how much was generated by eSports and video games in the last year? Was it... a) $130 million?
b) $13 billion? or, c) $130 billion? What do you think then Sam? I'm going to say $130 billion. It's a huge amount, but I think it's that successful at the moment. OK, we'll find out if you're right at the end of the programme. Not so long ago the idea of making a living playing computer games would have seemed impossible.
However, times have changed as technology has improved. eSports are even going to be included in the 2022 Asian Games. So it might not be long before they make an appearance at the Olympics.
Gabriël Rau is a pro-eSportsman. He was interviewed for the BBC programme In Business. He thinks eSports are going to grow and grow, but does he think that's a bad thing? It's becoming more of a normal sports thing with this generation about to have children and moving forward I feel like it might even become a staple.
Might become as normal as sports are right now. I don't think it necessarily has to be a bad thing. it is time-consuming though, so I feel like, if you do want to introduce anybody, especially children, in the video games, discipline is the way to go. So is the growth of eSports a bad thing? Not, according to Gabriël. He thinks that people having children now have grown up with computer games and these are beginning to be seen in the same way as traditional sports. In fact, he thinks they will become a staple.
And what does he mean by that? Something that is a staple is a basic element, something we expect. For example, in the UK we talk about potatoes being a staple food and football being a staple of the school curriculum. But he does mention a disadvantage, doesn't he? Yes. He speaks quite quickly but he says that it is time-consuming. It eats up a lot of time! Oh yes, I know that from my own experience.
I can start playing a game and then find that many hours have passed and it's the middle of the night. And that's why Gabriël goes on to talk about the need for discipline. This is having strict controls and restrictions and importantly sticking to them. So, for example if you say you're only going to play for an hour every day, you have to stop playing after an hour, even if you want to carry on.
That's discipline. And he makes the point that this is important if you're introducing children to video games. Not everyone involved in eSports wants to be a player. It's now possible to study the business of eSports university where you can learn how to manage eSports events. These are the thoughts of a student on one of those courses talking about her response to seeing a big eSports event.
When you look at the background of how it all comes together and the the people that spend all that time getting into it, for me I would love to put something like that together, not so much play it but to put that together and create that experience for other people and that was just my main aspiration really. So she doesn't want to play does she? No she doesn't. She seems more interested in putting together an event, which means setting up and managing an event for others to take part in. That she said, was her aspiration, her ambition.
Right, before we review the vocabulary, let's have the answer to our quiz question. Approximately how much was generated by eSports and video games in the last year? a) $130 million? b) $13 billion? or c) $130 billion? What did you say, Sam? I thought $130 billion. And, for once, you're right so well done. The actual figure was approximately $137 billion, which is more than the music industry when you include music sales and concerts. Right on now to remind ourselves of some words and phrases from today's programme.
Yes, we've been looking at eSports, the world of competitive video gaming. We heard that it was becoming so normal that it might become a staple, an expected basic activity in the same way sports like football are. But be warned, playing video games is very time-consuming. It eats up a lot of time.
So you need to have discipline. That means you need to have and keep to restrictions such as the length of time you play or the time of day you play. That is particularly important for children. If you organize an event, you can say that you put it together.
And your ambition, your hope for the future is an aspiration. And my aspiration is to beat my high score on my favourite game, so are we done now, Neil? Yes, it's game over for today. We'll see you again soon and don't forget to look out for more from the BBC Learning English team online, on social media and on our app.
Bye for now. Bye everyone! Hello. This is 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English.
I'm Neil. And I'm Georgina. If you've ever done shopping online, then you may well have used the internet giant, Amazon. From its origins as an online bookstore, Amazon has grown into grocery deliveries, TV and music streaming and even space exploration, making its founder, Jeff Bezos, the richest person on earth. Amazon is so successful it affects how many of us live our lives, so in this program we'll be taking a look inside the brain of Jeff Bezos to find out how he thinks. When Jeff Bezos's friends talk about him, three words they often use are: invention, risk-taking and long-term vision.
These are qualities which Bezos admired in his grandfather, Lawrence, who from an early age taught Jeff that by careful thinking, any problem can be solved. As a boy, Jeff and his grandfather repaired an old broken down truck. When interviewed today, Bezos sometimes compares Amazon to that truck: very heavy, but impossible to stop when it rolls downhill - which is exactly what accidentally happened one day! But do you know how the story ends, Georgina? That's my quiz question.
What happened when the young Jeff Bezos's car accidentally rolled downhill? Was it: a) Jeff jumped in and pulled the handbrake? b) Jeff's grandad lost a thumb? or, c) Jeff's hair fell out? Well, Jeff Bezos is bald so maybe it's c) his hair fell out. OK, Georgina. We'll find out later. As a company, Amazon has been remarkably strong: it survived the dot com crash of 2000 and saw profits jump during the Covid pandemic as more and more people started shopping online.
Retail analyst, Natalie Berg, thinks Amazon's success is due to its customer strategy as she explains to BBC Radio 4 programme, 'Seriously': Jeff Bezos applied this concept to Amazon by relentlessly focusing on customers, by putting them at the heart of the business - that that would attract more customers, more traffic to its site which would in turn attract more sellers, which would mean a greater selection for customers, which again would enhance the customer experience. Natalie thinks that Amazon put customers at the heart of their business - in other words, they make customers the most important part. This improves Amazon's customer experience - a customer's total perception of their experience with a business, including such things as the quality of service and support if something goes wrong. Customers can write reviews on Amazon's website and happy customers means more web traffic - the number of people visiting a particular website. In the difficult years following the dot com crash, Jeff Bezos started Market Place where other sellers compete with Amazon's own products. More sellers brought more customers which in turn brought down prices.
Then in 2013, Bezos bought The Washington Post. And in 2019 he launched his space exploration company, Blue Origin, to explore mineral resources on Mars. Most recently, Jeff Bezos has set his sights on even bigger things - saving the future of the planet! Bezos chose Tom Rivet-Carnac of the environmental group, Global Optimism, to help Amazon meet climate initiative goals aimed at slowing climate change. Here is Tom Rivet-Carnac telling David Baker, presenter of BBC Radio 4's Seriously, about his conversation with Jeff Bezos: It did seem to me that it was a legacy issue for him, that he wanted to be on the right side of history. And you don't think it's just greenwashing in the end? How do you define that? I mean, would you define greenwashing if you said somebody got into this issue because they wanted to improve a reputation of a company or an individual? Actually, that's fine. Right?
As long as they do something meaningful and deliver a major outcome. Protecting the planet is what Jeff Bezos wants to be part of his legacy - the achievements of his life that will continue after he dies. In other words, Bezos wants to be on the right side of history - judged to have acted correctly or morally by future generations. Ultimately though, it's real action on climate change that counts, not just greenwashing.
Do you know this new expression, Georgina? Well, I know that whitewashing means trying to hide the truth about something. Right - so greenwashing means trying to make people believe that your company is doing more to protect the environment than it really is. Well, with so many achievements already behind him, I'm sure Jeff has made his grandparents very proud - which reminds me of your quiz question, Neil. Ah yes, I asked Georgina what happened when the car Jeff Bezos and his grandad, Lawrence were fixing accidentally rolled downhill.
I thought it was c) that Jeff lost all his hair. Was I right? No, you were wrong, I'm afraid Georgina. The correct answer was that b) - his grandfather lost his thumb.
Ok, Neil let's recap the vocabulary, starting with customer experience - a customer's feelings about their experience with a business. If you put something at the heart of things, you make it the most important part. Web traffic is the number of people visiting a website. Your legacy means all your life achievements that will continue after your death. Someone who is on the right side of history will be judged positively by future generations. And finally, greenwashing is when you pretend that your company is doing more to protect the environment than it really is.
That's all for our peek inside the brain of the world's richest man. Join us again next time when we'll be discussing another trending topic. Bye for now! Goodbye! Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Neil. This is programme where in just six minutes we discuss an interesting topic and teach some related English vocabulary. Joining me to do this is Rob. Hello.
Now Rob, we know your main job is to work here at BBC Learning English but do you have a second job? There's no time for two jobs Neil, but if there was, I think I'd take photographs and sell them. I do love photography so i might as well make some money from it. Good thinking, Rob! And having a second job, particularly one that involves using your skills and allows you to follow your interests, is called a side hustle. Yes, a side hustle.
It's something more and more of us are involved with these days. And that's what we'll be talking about shortly. Well, my side hustle should be quiz master, because i'm always asking questions and today is no exception. According to the employee ratings website Glassdoor, which job is thought to be the best to have in the UK this year? Is it a) a software engineer, b) a teacher, or, c) an audit manager.
Hmm, well, I suspect b) a teacher. Well, you'll just have to wait until the end of the programme to find out. But let's talk more about side hustles - or a second job.
For some people having two jobs is a necessity - a way to make ends meet. That means 'having just enough money to pay for the things you need'. That's true but it now seems that more people want to put their skills and passions into practice to make extra money. According to research by Henley Business School around one in four workers run at least one side-hustle business, half of which were started in the past two years.
Those aged 25 to 34 are most likely to be involved with 37% thought to run a sideline of some kind. A sideline also describes an extra job you do alongside your main job. BBC Radio 5 Live spoke to someone whose side hustle was so satisfying that it turned into her day job. Here is Elspbeth Jackson, founder of Ragged Life, to explain why: It's a different environment entirely because you're leaving essentially a very regular wage that you'd get the same amount in month after month, you can put aside savings, the same amount every month and you have that certain amount of security. But now I don't think I could go back to one of these big companies because you'd essentially be sacrificing the flexibility, which is something I've become very accustomed to now.
Things have worked out well for Elspeth. But there were risks - for example, leaving behind the security - the safety - of a regular job and of course, a regular income. Elspeth liked making rag rugs. This has given her flexibility in her life and returning to work at a big company would be sacrificing that.
That means 'giving something up or going without it'. And for Elspeth, her side hustle has become a full-time job and she's become accustomed to her lifestyle. It's become familiar or normal. The BBC also spoke to Becci Mae Ford, who works some of the time for a telecommunications company to pay the bills, but spends the rest of her time developing her own crafting company Ellbie Co.
How did she find having two jobs? I think it just gives me creative balance, and obviously working for the telecoms firm, it gets me out of the house and gets me to meet people in a social environment. It can be difficult to juggle the two though definitely. It's definitely a grind. It's a lot harder than people think it's going to be. So Becci implies that it's not always easy to have a side hustle. The benefit for her is the creative balance - a good mix of doing office-based work, regular tasks and a routine with working creatively, making things and getting pleasure from it.
But juggling - or balancing these two things is difficult and she described her side hustle as sometimes being a grind - hard work, tiring and occasionally boring. But overall, it does make her happy. Now something that would make me happy is to give you the answer to today's quiz question. Earlier I asked you, according to the employee ratings website Glassdoor, which job is thought to be the best to have in the UK this year? Is it... a) a software engineer,
b) a teacher, or, c) an audit manager? Yes and I said b) a teacher - always the best job in the world! Sadly not, Rob. Apparently, it is c) an audit manager that is considered to be the best job to have this year. Audit managers are responsible for organizing and overseeing internal audits.
The result was based on three factors: average annual base salary, the current number of job openings, and job satisfaction, according to ratings shared by employees on the website over the past 12 months. So sounds like an interesting job for a side hustle, but before I head off for a career change, let's remind ourselves of the main vocabulary we've discussed, starting with to 'make ends meet'. When we make ends meet we have just enough money to pay for the things we need. Next, we mentioned a sideline, which describes an extra job you do alongside your main job. Then we had sacrificing that means giving up something important or 'going without something'. Accustomed is a word to mean 'usual or normal'.
If you get accustomed to doing something, it becomes the normal way of doing it - it becomes familiar. We also talked about the expression 'creative balance'. That describes getting the best mix of doing creative and uncreative tasks.
And finally, 'grind' describes doing something that is tiring, difficult, sometimes boring and involves lots of effort. Well this program has not been a grind, Rob. It's been six minutes of pleasure. Don't forget you can learn more English with us on our website bbclearningenglish.com. Bye for now.