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Work Internet Stopped

Pre-Reading Activities

A: What Do You Think?

Read the statements below about working in an office. Answer each question by choosing one of the responses in the box.

Responses
a. Yes, I agree.
b. Yes and no.  I can see both sides of the argument.
c. No, I disagree.
d. I'm not sure about this one.

1. It is the employee's right to make and receive personal phone calls at work at any time, provided the calls are brief.
2. It is the employee's right to make and receive personal phone calls in the lunch hour or breaks.
3. It is the employer's right to ask an employee not to make or receive personal phone calls at work unless it is an emergency.
4. If there is a rule saying that employees shouldn't use the telephone for personal phone calls, the same rule should apply to employers too.
5. If employees aren't allowed to use a phone for personal phone calls in their office, then the employer should provide a telephone for their use in the lunchroom.
6. It is the employee's right to receive personal mail (e.g. birthday cards, postcards, etc.) through the office mail system.
7. An employee should not disturb other colleagues in the same office while they are trying to work. They should only share gossip, personal news or jokes when they are out of the office.
8. At work an employee's time belongs to the employer.  Everything an employee does should be aimed at helping the company or organization prosper.
9. While an employee's time at work may belong to an employer, a good employer knows to be flexible over policing the concerns outlined in 1 - 8. Otherwise they may lose staff.


Reading Activities

A: Check Your Understanding

Here are statements about Part 1 of today's article but they contain incorrect information.  Read Part 1 of the article and correct any factual mistakes you find in the statements.

In the future employees may be allowed to use their workplace computers to send email, do online shopping or download items for personal use. Companies are happy about employees using work computers in this way because they do not believe there are any potential distractions and security or legal risks.

Part 1
Email, Web at Work - Is the Free Lunch Over?
By Bernhard Warner, European Internet Correspondent

LONDON Monday March 18 (Reuters) - Brace yourselves, corporate drones: one of the last bastions of work place relief -- sneaking in some online shopping or snickering over an email joke -- could be destined for universal banishment.

Major corporations are increasingly classifying employee email and Internet privileges as potential security hazards, distractions or worse, costly legal dangers in the making.

As a result, companies are considering dramatically curtailing, or even abolishing completely the freedoms, on which employees have grown increasingly reliant over the past few years.

To hear some of the more ardent computer security advocates tell it, the days of sneaking in some online shopping on company time, mass-emailing your pals a Flash-powered shoot-'em-up game or even downloading screensavers could be a thing of the past.

"It is drastic and painful," Raimund Genes, European president of anti-virus software manufacturer Trend Micro, told Reuters. "But I think it is necessary for the future." (Continued/...)

Words:
drone
- a male bee;
someone who is very lazy
bastions - a system that protects a way of life when it seems it may disappear

banishment - the act of getting rid of something

curtailing - reducing, cutting short, restricting

advocates - people who support a plan or action

Article © 2003 Reuters Limited. Lesson © 2003 www.english-to-go.com

 

B: Reading for Specific Information

Scan Part 2 of today's article and find the information necessary to complete the table.

Things Employees Can Access from Computers
Possible Dangers of Accessing Those Things from Computers
Security Measures That Can Block Any Unwanted Things on Computer
1.

2.

3.
 

1.

2.

3.

1.

2.

 

Part 2

(.../Continued)
The objective is clear, security advisers say.

A healthy dose of IT prevention can eradicate debilitating email-borne worms and limit the likeliness of employees using their speedy desktop Net connection to download copyright-protected tunes, thus triggering a lawsuit.

"The message is: 'I'm afraid you'll have to do it after hours at home, which is where you should be doing it in the first place,"' said Mikko Hypponen, manager of anti-virus research for Finish-based F-Secure Corp.

Hypponen added that some Fortune 100 companies are looking to step up security measures beyond firewalls, which bar access to sites with racy or inflammatory content. They are looking to ban Internet usage for all but select, authorized personnel.

The biggest developments are around email prevention, experts say. Elaborate content filtering software, which can run upwards of $30,000 to install, can block all but the tamest incoming emails, and most attachments, said Trend Micro's Genes.

Corporations, particularly those that were stung hard by the wave of virus and worm attacks during the past two years, are considering it a top priority.

"We started full email and Web surfing prevention as a safety initiative in 1999," a chief security officer at one of Germany's largest employers, an energy firm, told Reuters. (Continued/...)

Word:
eradicate
- to destroy or get rid of something completely

Article © 2003 Reuters Limited. Lesson © 2003 www.english-to-go.com


 
 C: Summarizing

Here is a summary of Part 3 with some gaps. Read Part 3 and choose the best answer for each gap in the summary from the choices in brackets.

In one German __________ (security / energy / computer) firm many employees only have access to __________ (the Internet / screensavers / anti-virus software) on some computers that have been altered to filter incoming emails with certain attachments.  Examples of banned attachments include __________ (lists of sites for shopping / company memos / greeting cards and screensavers).

While employees are still getting used to the new rule, the managers __________ (are dissatisfied / are satisfied / remain unconvinced) because the company has not had any problems with __________ (offensive emails / viruses / worms or viruses) since this measure was introduced.

Firms with __________ (smaller IT budgets / IT budgets of a similar size / larger IT budgets) are likely to find this kind of policy too expensive to introduce and then maintain.  However, it is likely that the measure taken by the German company will be copied by other __________ (small firms / medium-sized firms / large firms) in the future.

Part 3

(.../Continued)

ALPHABET SOUP OF RESTRICTIONS
For many employees at the company, Web surfing is confined to specially
designated PCs, and the email server has been tailored to intercept incoming emails which contain a range of file attachments, he said.

Among the nearly 100 email attachments outlawed by the company are: screen savers, digital greeting cards, and the ubiquitous ".exe," or executable file, a standard format needed to run most computer applications and a common target for virus authors.

The security officer said employees are gradually adjusting to the strict policy. It has already scored points with management though, he said, as no virus or worm has infiltrated the firm's defenses during the past three years.

But instituting these new security measures can be a costly and labor-intensive investment, experts say, likely discouraging firms with meager IT budgets from upgrading beyond the status quo.

"It's a question of resources," said a spokeswoman at UK-based Sophos Anti-Virus. "If you have one or two guys implementing IT at your organization, it's not going to make much sense."

"But it certainly makes sense for the large corporates," she continued. "We are likely to see a clampdown in the months and years to come, which is a shame because the Net is a pretty fun place to be some days."

Words:
tailored -
made for a particular purpose

ubiquitous - widespread or seemingly everywhere

infiltrated - entered into a system without being noticed

implementing - carrying out something

clampdown - use authority to
put a stop to something

Article © 2003 Reuters Limited. Lesson © 2003 www.english-to-go.com

 

D: Comprehension

Answer these multiple-choice questions about the whole article by circling a., b., or c.

1.  In the first paragraph of today's article the writer suggests that...

a. workers will be dismissed if they use the Internet at work for their personal enjoyment.
b. some employees do little real work in the office.

c. sharing jokes at work brings employees together.

2.  In the future employees in many companies will not be able to enjoy the privilege of using company computers...

a. to create screensavers or viruses.
b. to find viruses.

c. to email their friends or do some personal shopping online.

3.  Raimund Genes believes that while employees will be unhappy with the new restraints placed on them,...

a. the new regime of tightened security is necessary.
b. employers will welcome this chance to punish employees.

c. the measures should have been enforced years ago.

4.  The manager of anti-virus research for F-Secure Corp thinks that employees need to accept that surfing the Internet for enjoyment is...

a. an unproductive hobby.
b. something that should only be done at home.

c. going to become even more enjoyable as new companies compete to make Internet sites even better.

5.  Computer security, aiming to protect a firm's systems from viruses and worms,...

a. has been neglected by many companies.
b. offers many employment opportunities for IT graduates.

c. is of primary importance for many companies at present.

6.  A spokesperson for a UK anti-virus company believes that although new security measures will be enforced in many large companies,...

a. it will be a huge challenge for the small teams of IT consultants who have to install them.
b. the installment will probably not be very expensive.

c. it is still a sad development.

 


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

A: Language

1. Underline the adverb in each of these excerpts from today's article. (One excerpt has two adverbs.)

a.  Major corporations are increasingly classifying employee email and Internet privileges...
b.  ...companies are considering dramatically curtailing the freedoms...
c.  Corporations, particularly those that were stung hard by the wave of virus and worm attacks during the past two years,...
d.  The security officer said employees are gradually adjusting to the strict policy.
e.  It has already scored points with management...
f.  "But it certainly makes sense for the large corporates," she continued.
g.  "...the Net is a pretty fun place to be some days."

2. Most of the adverbs from Number 1 are made from adjectives. Which one isn't? Which two are also adjectives?  Write them here.

3. Here are the meanings of the adverbs from Number 1. Match the adverbs with their meanings.

Meanings - Adverbs
especially -
fairly -
definitely -
more and more -
before now -
slowly -
severely -
suddenly and impressively -

4. Fill the gaps in these sentences with the most suitable adverb from number 1.

a. I'm __________ never going to surf the Net at work again.  My boss caught me doing it yesterday and was she angry!
b. She is __________ getting used to the idea that she shouldn't email me at work.  It's a slow process but last week I only got two emails from her.
c. I've __________ written the memo to employees advising them about our new email policy.  Would you like me now to organize the meeting to discuss the changes?
d. __________, companies are buying our antivirus software.  I'm sure that our sales figures over the next few months will show healthy growth.
e. Sales have climbed __________ since the last virus scare.  Our phones have been ringing continuously and we've been receiving emails from companies all over the globe interested in doing business with us. It's very exciting!
f. I'm __________ interested in talking to you about how we will present our new security measures to employees.  I know they will understand but I want to present the policy in the best possible way.  Perhaps you can help me with the presentation.
g. She took the news very __________.  I was surprised as I thought she would realize the policy changes were essential.
h. The managers seem __________ satisfied.  I guess we'll just have to hope that the workers will come round to the idea too!
 
 

B: Write a Memo

Imagine you are the Managing Director of a large company.  Because of worries over worm and virus attacks, you have decided that employees are no longer allowed to receive or send personal emails at work.  All incoming emails will be filtered using new software and the managers of each section will do routine checks to make sure all employees are obeying the new policy.  The policy will be instituted next month.

Write a memo to your staff advising them of the changes and explaining why they are taking place.
 
 

C: Role Play

Role Play 1: Work in pairs.  One of you is Student A,  the other is Student B.

Student A:  You are the manager of a sales team.  Your company has just released a policy that all emails from the workplace will be stored and it will be your job to screen emails sent and received by the five staff on your team. Employees are no longer allowed to send or receive personal emails.

The company has purchased software that allows emails to be searched for any key words that you choose.  You may also read the emails if you want to. Student B is the Managing Director of your company.  Discuss any concerns or questions you have about this new policy with Student B.

Student B:  You are the managing director of a company.  Your company has just released a policy that all emails from the workplace will be stored. Managers of different sections will have the job of screening emails sent and received by the staff on their team.  Employees are no longer allowed to send or receive personal emails.

The company has purchased software that allows emails to be searched for any key words.  Managers may also read the emails if they want to. Student A is the manager of one of the sales teams.  Student A will discuss their concerns or questions about this new policy with you.

Role Play 2: One of you is Student A, the other Student C.

Student A:  The Managing Director has asked you to inform your staff of the new policy.  Student C is one of the most experienced and successful members of your sales team.  Student C has a son working overseas. You know that Student C will not be happy with the new policy because now he / she will not be able to email his / her son from work.  Explain the new policy to Student C.

Student C:  You are a member of a sales team.  Student A is the manager of your team.  You are one of the most experienced and successful members of the team. You have a son working overseas.  You like to use your lunch hour once or twice a week to email your son.  Student A is going to explain a new company policy to you.  Discuss any concerns or questions you have about this new policy with Student A.

 


TEACHERS' NOTES AND ANSWER KEY

Pre-Reading Activities

A: What Do You Think - Notes

Students can work alone and write a, b, c or d next to each statement to indicate their response. They can then compare answers with other students and discuss why they chose a particular response.

An alternative way of doing this is to ask students to make two lines facing each other. You read aloud a statement (or show it on the O.H.P.) and then students discuss the statement with the person facing them. One line moves one person to the left after a statement has been discussed. Then the process is repeated with the next statement.

Reading Activities

A: Check Your Understanding - Suggested Answer

(Recommended changes in the text shown in bold type.)

In the future employees may not be allowed to use their workplace computers to send email, do online shopping or download items for personal use. Companies aren't happy about employees using work computers in this way because they do not believe there are any potential distractions and security or legal risks.

B: Reading for Specific Information - Answers
 

Things Employees Can Access from Computers
Possible Dangers of Accessing Those Things from Computers
Security Measures That Can Block Any Unwanted Things on Computer
1. copyright-protected tunes
2. Internet sites
3. email and attachments
1. downloading copyright-protected tunes could lead to a lawsuit
2. worms
3. viruses
1. firewalls (blocks access to sites with racy or inflammatory content)
2. content filtering software (blocks all but the tamest incoming emails, and most attachments) 

 

C: Summarizing - Answers

In one German energy firm many employees only have access to the Internet on some computers that have been altered to filter incoming emails with certain attachments. Examples of banned attachments include greeting cards and screensavers.

While employees are still getting used to the new rule, managers are satisfied because the company has not had any problems with worms or viruses since this measure was introduced.

Firms with smaller IT budgets are likely to find this kind of policy too expensive to introduce and then maintain.  However, it is likely that the measure taken by the German company will be copied by other large firms in the future.

D: Comprehension - Notes

Question 1 requires students to make a connection between the word drones and office workers.  Drones are male bees who do no work (in contrast with the industrious female worker bees).  In the first paragraph the writer suggests that some people do little or no work in a corporate environment. They are drones. (The comment is written in a humorous way, adding a light touch to a more serious subject.)

D: Comprehension - Answers

1. b,  2. c,  3. a,  4. b,  5. c,  6. c.

Post-Reading Activities

A: Language - Notes

4.  Encourage students to read the sentence(s) carefully before filling the gap.  There is more than one possible answer for some gaps but they are asked to choose the best answer.  If they read the whole sentence, they will see that there is only one adverb that is suitable.

A: Language - Answers

1.
a.  Major corporations are increasingly classifying employee email and Internet privileges...

b.  ...companies are considering dramatically curtailing the freedoms...

c.  Corporations, particularly those that were stung hard by the wave of virus and worm attacks during the past two years,...

d.  The security officer said employees are gradually adjusting to the strict policy.

e.  It has already scored points with management...

f.  "But it certainly makes sense for the large corporates," she continued.

g.  "...the Net is a pretty fun place to be some days."

2.
Adverb not made from adjective: already

Adverbs that are also adjectives: hard, pretty

3.
increasingly - more and more

dramatically - suddenly and impressively

particularly - especially

hard - severely

gradually - slowly

already - before now

certainly - definitely

pretty - fairly

4. a. certainly,  b. gradually,  c. already,  d. Increasingly,  e. dramatically,  f. particularly,  g. hard,  h. pretty.

Post-Reading Activities

B: Write a Memo - Notes

The Upper Intermediate - Advanced Instant Lesson 'Longer Hours' gives guidelines on writing business memos. The Advanced Instant Lesson 'Worker Privacy' ties in very well with this lesson.

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