2- Match the words (1-8) to their definitions (a-h).
3- Complete each sentence with an appropriate word or phrase
4- Listen again and complete this extract.
Reading A. In pairs, rank these countries according to those where you think business leaders feel the most stress (1 = most stress, 9 = least stress).
• Australia • China • Denmark • Finland • Greece • Mexico • Sweden • Turkey • Vietnam • GermanyB. Read the first two paragraphs of this article. Then check your answers to Exercise A.
Over half of business owners feeling increasingly stressed
More than half the leaders of privately held businesses globally feel their stress levels have increased over the last year. The research from
(5) the Grant Thornton International Business Report ( I B R ) 2010 covers the opinions of over 7.400 business owners across 36 economies
Mainland China tops the league for
(10) the most stressed leaders. with 76% of business owners saying their
stress levels have increased over the last year. Other economics that were high in
(15) the stress league table were Mexico (74%), Turkey (72%), Vietnam (72%)
and Greece (68%). At the opposite end of the scale, business owners in Sweden
( 2 3 % ) , Denmark (25%),Finland (33%)
(20) and Australia (35%) have the lowest stress levels in the world.
There appears to be a link between stress levels and GOP.
Business owners in mainland China , Vietnam,
(25) Mexico, India and Turkey arc all high on the stress league table and are
working in environments where high growth is expected. But it's not just in
countries expecting high growth that
(30) tress levels are high - at the opposite end of the growth scale, Ireland, Spain
and Greece arc all high on the league table. Said Alex MacBcath, Global
Leader - Markets at Grant Thornton
(35) International, "We have businesses at both ends of the GOP growth scale
experiencing high stress for very different reason . I n mainland China. the pressure is on to keep up with the
(40) speed of expansion, while in Ireland, for example, the economy is shrinking,
and business owners arc worried about how they will keep their
(45) Business owners were asked about the major causes of workplace stress.
Not surprisingly, the most common cause during 2009 was the economic
climate, with 38% of respondents
(50) globally saying this was one of their major causes of stress. This was followed by pressure on cashflow (26%), competitor activities ( 2 1 %) and heavy workload (1 9% ) .
(55)Alex MacBeath comments, "The causes of workplace stress can be put into three distinct group - economic, business and personal. An employee may place
more importance on personal elements
(60) such as their work-life balance. The business owner has additional
pressures to consider."
The survey also found a link between stress levels and the number
(65) of clays taken off by an individual in a year. Countries at the top of the stress
league are those where business owners . on average, take fewer holidays each year.
2- Read the whole article and answer these questions.
1 What is the difference between these groups of countries in terms of reasons
for high-level stress?
a) China, Vietnam, Mexico, India and Turkey
b) Ireland, Spain and Greece
2 According to Alex MacBeath, how do business leaders experience stress differently in China and Ireland?
3 What are the four major causes of workplace stress?
4 According to Alex MacBeath, what three types of pressure are there?
Vietnam . Sweden . Denmark . Mexico . China . Finland
In which countries do business owners take:
1 fewer holidays?
2 more holidays?
(You will need information from paragraphs 1, 2 and 5.)
4- In pairs, discuss these questions.
1 What are the additional pressures that business owners might have?
2 Should companies do more to reduce stress at work? What could they do?
3 How many days' holiday per year do you think people should get?
Language Review : Pat Simple & Present Perfect
Answer the questions in brackets about the sentences in italics.
1 She has worked in Paris for five years. (Does she work in Paris now?)
2 She worked in Hong Kong for three years. (Does she work in Hong Kong now?)
Which sentence above (1 or 2) uses the past simple? Which uses the present perfect?
We use the past simple to:
• talk about completed actions that happened in the past.
Larry Page and Sergey Brin created Google in January 1996.
• refer to a definite moment or period in the past.
I spoke to her on Tuesday.
The present perfect connects the past and the present. We use the present perfect to:
• talk about past actions that affect us now.
The boss has just given her a pay rise, and she's very pleased.
• talk about life experiences.
I've worked with many companies where stress was a problem.
• announce recent news.
Coca·Cola has just confirmed it has dropped Wayne Rooney.
Skills : Participating in Discussion
A. You are going to hear three members of the human resources department of a transportation company discussing ways of improving the staff's health and fitness. What ways do you think they will mention?
B. Listen to the conversation and check your answers.
2-Listen to the conversation again and complete the gaps in these sentences.
3- Listen and tick the expressions they use in their conversation.
Work in pairs. You work in the human resources department of a large company. Discuss how you would deal with these problems. Use expressions from the Useful language box below to help you.
1 More and more staff are taking medicine, e.g. anti-depressants, because they feel highly stressed at work. They are often sick, or pretend they are sick, and take days off work.
2 Many employees feel uncertain about their jobs and careers in the company.
They worry about the future. They are constantly anxious and don't sleep well.
3 Some staff are stressed because they feel they have no control over their work and they don't participate in decisions. They say they feel 'worthless' and are not valued by management.
Davies-Miller is a large advertising agency on Madison Avenue in New York. It has
expanded rapidly in recent years and has a number of famous companies as its clients.
There is very strong competition in the US advertising industry. Agencies compete to win new contracts or take clients away from their rivals. Advertising staff are well paid, but they work long hours. They worry about job security and become anxious if their company loses an important client.
Recently, Davies-Miller lost two of its major accounts. This had a significant effect on the employees. The agency decided t o carry out a survey o f the staff's opinions about their working conditions. It showed that 65% of staff felt 'highly stressed' in their jobs.
Discuss how the high levels of stress could affect the performance of the agency.
read about four incidents at Davies-Miller which involved
stress. In each case, note down briefly the key points of each incident.
Jessica Parker, a junior account executive calls Sheila Murray in the human resources department from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, about her boss, James. They are currently negotiating an important contract with a client there.
Summary of an interview withBrrgrtte by a member of staff (HR) Birgitte regulates the flow of work, coordinates scheduling and prepares cost estimates According to her, she is stressed because she is often interrupted at work by visits from other members of staff. She believes there is too much gossiping in the office, which stops her from doing her work.She says that her supervisor favors certain members o f staff and does not want to send her on training courses.
She lives a long way from work. Because of this , she gets back home very late and has no time to relax.
Juliana, Art Director
Extract from an e-mail
sent to Head of HR
I've never been under such pressure in my work since I joined the agency. I have no time to listen to the problems of my colleagues. I spend all my time trying to meet impossible deadlines to produce designs for the Account Executives. We're competing for too many contracts, that's the problem . I just don't understand the policy of the agency. It won't help to hire more staff. Most of the creative ideas in the agency come from me. Somet1mes I wonder if they want me to leave and bring in someone younger. I'm worried because the situation's beginning to affect my health. I can't seem to relax when I get back home.
Jolanta, Assistant to Art Director
Part of an informal conversation between Jolanta and a member of the HR department.
"I'll be looking for another job soon. I feel really stressed out. Juliana never tellsme anything. She never asks for my opinion. It's incredible. I've got a Master's inadvertising , but it doesn't seem to impress her. She only gives me boring jobs andshouts at me if I make a mistake. I think she'll have a nervous breakdown soon. She never praises anything I do - it really upsets me. I was hoping to have a career here. No chance of that."
1 You are members of the HR department. Work in small groups and discuss these questions.
1 What are the main reasons why the staff mentioned above are highly stressed or demotivated?
2 What action(s) should the HR department take in each case?
2 Compare the results of your discussion with other groups.
3 Meet as one group. Make suggestions for practical ways of reducing the stress levels of staff in the agency.