Read what four people have to say about their working hours to practise and improve your reading skills.

Do the preparation task first. Then read the text and do the exercises.

Reading text


I work in a fairly traditional office environment doing a typical nine-to-five job. I like my job, but it's annoying that my commute to work takes an hour and a half each way and most of my work could really be done online from home. But my boss doesn't seem to trust that we will get any work done if left to our own devices, and everyone in the company has to clock in and out every day. It's frustrating that they feel the need to monitor what we do so closely instead of judging us based on our task performance, like most companies do these days.


I used to do a typical five-day week, but after I came out of my maternity leave, I decided that I wanted to spend more time with my children before they start school. After negotiating with my boss, we decided to cut my working week down to a three-day work week. This of course meant a significant cut in my pay too, as I'm paid on a pro-rata basis. I've since noticed, though, that my workload hasn't decreased in the slightest! I'm now doing five days' worth of work in three days, but getting paid much less for it! I find myself having to take work home just so that I can meet the deadlines. It's wearing me out trying to juggle work with looking after my children and my family, but I don’t dare to bring this up with my boss because I think he feels as if he's made a huge concession letting me come in only three days a week.


I work for a global IT company, but because their headquarters is in the States, I do all my work online from home. That means that I don't waste time commuting or making idle chit-chat with colleagues. I work on a project basis, and this flexibility is very valuable to me because it means that I can easily take some time off when my children need me to go to their school performances or if I need to schedule an appointment with the dentist. The downside is that without clear office hours, I tend to work well into the evening, sometimes skipping dinner to finish a task. It can also get quite lonely working on my own, and I sometimes miss sharing ideas with colleagues.


I'm a freelancer and work for myself. This is great because I am in control of what I do and how I spend my time. At first, I was working from home, but I found it really hard to concentrate. There were just too many distractions around: housework that needed doing, another cup of tea, my family members wanting my attention for various things. So I started to go to a nearby café to work, but the Wi-Fi connection wasn't ideal and I found myself drinking too much coffee. In the end, I decided to rent a desk in a co-working space with five other freelancers like myself. I liked getting dressed to go to work in the morning and being able to focus in an office environment. The other freelancers do similar kinds of web-based work to me and so it's nice to have workmates to bounce ideas off as well.



Language level

Upper intermediate: B2


* Looking forward to hearing from you.


In preparation task, the ninth choice.

"a person who sells their services or work by the hour or day"

A person is a singular, I think we should say: 'who sells his services'

Am I correct or not?!

Thanks in advance.
Looking forward hearing from you.

Hello corflz

You could say 'his' or 'her' but 'their' is also correct. When we don't know the gender of the person we are talking about, we often use a third person plural form ('they', 'them', 'their', etc.).

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

I work for myself at home that have both upsides and downsides. The upsides are freedome of many things. I don't have to deal with rumors or idle chit-chat or any concession. I don't have to waste time and fee for commutes and I could stretch maternity leaves as long as I wanted if I was a pregnant women. Although, the downsides are also many things. My money have been fluctuating up and down all the time that sometimes have worn me out due to worrying on it. No clock in means no clock out as well that I have to work late if customers ask for. I work on my own that means I feel lonely somehow and don't have workmates who I can bounce ideas off. I would work in another environment if I could, another job or another place.

Thank you so much. I found it really so much helpful.

I am freelancer and I find my situations is similar to Lily's so i find the solution of renting a co-working space is very suitable for me .

There have a lot of “Idle” meanings in online but I don't get it which one will be appropriate for these sentences.

Could you please help me?
1) That means that I don't waste time commuting or making IDLE chit-chat with colleagues.

2) We have not been IDLE in the field of sport. We have already had two swimming matches, one against the students of the Technical College and the other against the University medial students.

Hello amit_ck
If you look at the definitions of 'idle' in the Cambridge Dictionary (, the meaning is sentence 1 is 'no purpose - without any particular purpose' and the meaning in sentence 2 is 'lazy - lazy and not willing to work'.
All the best
The LearnEnglish Team

A recreation help get a work done efficiently.

good exercise