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Intermediate Instant Lesson™

Working Dogs

Pre-Reading Activities

A: Case Study Part One
1. Work in pairs. You work in the personnel department of a large IT company. Read this email that your boss has sent you.

Reading Activities

A: Understanding The Headline
1. Here is the headline and Part One of today's article. The words are jumbled. Put them into the correct order. Read it and then answer the question below in pairs.

Jumbled Headline:
some For Californians, to work bring it's dog your every day day

Part One:
For some Californians, it's bring _____ _____ _____ _____ day _____ day

Mon Jun 12, (Reuters) - Many California tech companies are encouraging employees to bring their dogs to the office, saying their presence can boost productivity, relieve stress and improve the work environment.

In Los Angeles' seaside tech hub, an area that encompasses parts of Santa Monica and Venice Beach and is dubbed "Silicon Beach," the majority of companies are dog-friendly. (Continued.../)

Article © 2017 Thomson Reuters Lesson © 2017

B: Reading And Note-taking
1. Read Part One again. What reason does the article give for allowing dogs to come to work?
2. Your boss has asked you to research other companies that allow dogs to come to work. Complete this research table using Part Two of today's article.

Name of company:  
Type of company:  
Main reason for allowing dogs:  
Future plan:  
Name of company:  
Type of company:  
Main Reason for allowing dogs:  

Part Two:
(Continued.../) At GumGum, a Santa Monica internet tech firm specializing in artificial intelligence, for instance, dogs are most welcome because of the calming effect they have on employees, said the company's chief executive, Ophir Tanz.

Indy, Tanz’s American Eskimo dog, usually greets employees when they arrive at the office and dog treats and snacks are always up for grabs.

"I think this could be a high stress, very high-paced environment," Tanz, 35, said. "It just kind of takes the edge off."...

GumGum's pet policy is open only to dogs but could be expanded to include cats and other animals in the future, Tanz said, acknowledging that some companies trying to grant dogs access to their offices may face restrictions.

"We spent more time probably negotiating the dog component of our lease with the landlord than anything else," Tanz said. "But I do think that it is a practice that will become more popular."

Tradesy, an online fashion marketplace where women can resell their clothes and accessories, also pushes for the presence of dogs in the workplace, adorned by a large portrait of a French Bulldog.

Dogs of various breeds sit in on meetings, curl up on couches, nuzzle under desks, sit on desks and get belly rubs. Some owners have their dogs on their laps while they are seated at their desk.

Tradesy Chief Executive Officer Tracy DiNunzio said such integration of dogs is a win for employees and their employers.

"Our employees like being able to bring their dogs to work and it benefits our business," said DiNunzio, 38. "Our employees work longer hours because they've got their furry friends here."
Article © 2017 Thomson Reuters Lesson © 2017

C: Reading For Information
Answer these questions using Part Two.
1. Where would you expect to find dogs in the offices of the companies described in today's article?
2. What caused the most difficulty for GumGum in setting up this idea?

D: Case Study Part Two
Work with the same partner from Pre-Reading Activity A. Your boss has asked you to solve a problem. Read the email. You have a short time to describe your policy. Write your ideas in the email below:

E: Reading For Ideas
Read Part Three of today's article. How did one company help employees who do not like dogs? How does Hirschman feel about dogs? Why?

Part Three:
(Continued.../) "I have what could be described as a fragile relationship with dogs," said Nicole Hirschman, a senior director of marketing at GumGum.

"I'm not always sure how to interact with them, especially dogs that are hyper," Hirschman said, adding that her company has accommodated that fear by providing sections of the office that are more isolated from dogs.
Article © 2017 Thomson Reuters Lesson © 2017

F: Case Study Part Three
Work in pairs. Use your answers from Reading Activity D to compile an email recommendation to your boss describing what your company's animal policy should be. Describe how the office will be organized. If you wish, you can draw a plan of the office.
Use the outline below to compile your answer.

Post-Reading Activities
You may do one or more of these.

A: Hold A Meeting
Share your ideas from Pre-Reading Activity A. Present your ideas at a class meeting.
Which idea does your class like the best? Why?

B: Brainstorming
Work in small groups. What problems could an animal-friendly office cause?
Write descriptions of the problems.
Then ask another group to solve them.




Reading Activities

A: Understanding The Headline - Answer
For some Californians, it's bring your dog to work day every day

B: Reading And Note-taking - Answers
1. Their presence can boost productivity, relieve stress and improve the work environment.
Name of company: GumGum
Located: Santa Monica

Type of company: Internet Tech firm: specialists in artificial intelligence
Main reason for allowing dogs: It calms employees.
Future plan: Allow other animals to come to work.
Name of company:Tradesy
Located: The article doesn't say.
Type of company: Online fashion marketplace
Main Reason for allowing dogs: Employees are happy to bring dogs to work and work longer hours because they have dogs with them.

C: Reading And Explaining - Answers
1. In reception (at GumGum); in meetings, in workspaces where there are desks and couches, in the laps of employees while they are working.
2. Negotiating the rules about dogs with the landlord.

E: Reading For Ideas - Answers
The company provided parts of the office that the dogs do not go into. Hirschman is nervous. She doesn't know how to interact with them, especially very excitable dogs.


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