Well hello, and welcome to this English lesson about the things you’ll find if you work in an office.
Now I know it might seem odd that I’m standing outside on this beautiful day talking about working in an office but the reason I’m doing that is because it looks like I might have to go back to work next week. I’m not 100% sure but schools might open again as will most other businesses in Ontario over the next month. So I thought it would be a good idea to review the vocabulary you would need if you worked in an office building.
This is a repeat lesson, I did edit an older lesson from over a year ago so it’s a lot shorter than that original lesson, and you’ll learn over 30 words in order to talk about working in an office. If you do need them there are word-for-word English subtitles, and there is a link to a complete transcript in the description as well as the original slides, there’s a link to the original slides, and a link to a Quizlet set that you can use to practice this vocabulary. I hope you enjoy this lesson, and have a great day.
The office, so not everyone has an office job but many people in the world work in an office, and that’s how we refer to it we say it’s an office job. Even though I’m a teacher it’s kind of like an office job definitely because I’m in a place that has all of the things you would find if you were in an office. So when you work in an office you might actually have an office. Some people when they go to work they have a room, and when they go in that room they’re the only one that uses that room, and that room is called an office, but not everyone has that privilege, okay? Usually an office is for the boss, or for a manager, or for someone else who is important.
And the rest of the people end up working in places that we call cubicles. Lemme just make this a little bit bigger for you. So a cubicle is a space where you don’t have your own room, you have a space that there’s a couple walls around you, and it forms what’s called a cube. So a cube is like, well, I don’t think I could explain what a cube is but if you are the boss you get to have an office, if you are just a worker you are probably in a cubicle.
The other kind of workplace if you work if you have an office job is you might work in an open-concept workplace, and you can see in this workplace that there are no walls at all. Everyone can see everyone. I don’t think I would like this kind of workplace. I think it would be a bit challenging for me to work in a place where I could see everyone and hear everyone.
If you work in an office, or a cubicle, or if you are at an open concept place you would work in an office building. You might recognize this picture from a lesson I did a long time ago on business.
If you have an office job you will work at a desk. Obviously you will have an office chair. The difference between a normal chair, and an office chair is an office chair is adjustable, it can go up or down, it usually has arm rests on it, it usually leans back or tilts. Well, this chair doesn’t actually do that, I should be careful. It usually tilts back and forward, and it usually swivels or turns, okay? So notice if you have a normal chair it just stays in one spot, an office chair usually has wheels on the bottom so you can roll around if you need to. And generally yes, it tilts back and forth, I won’t fall over. It swivels or turns. It has armrests for your arms to go on. And it’s usually adjustable, you can adjust the height, and the comfort level as well.
I’m gonna go through a whole bunch of things that you would have if you worked at an office. So you would probably have a stapler. A stapler is used to staple pieces of paper together. So you have a stapler you staple pages together, you put staples in the stapler, and then don’t hurt your finger. One time I stapled my finger and that really hurts so don’t do that, that’s not a very good thing to do.
You will probably have a hole punch, and the top one here, there, I can point good. The top one is a hole bunch, the bottom one is more common, it is a three hole punch so that you can put three holes in the piece of paper. You’ll probably have lots of paper clips. So a staple is very permanent but a paper clip is something temporary to hold a bunch of pieces of paper together. And you’ll probably have some sort of organizer, or a desk organizer. So what you see on the screen right now over here is a desk organizer. It’s where you could put all of your stuff on your desk.
You’ll probably have a calculator, even though computers are great for adding up and multiplying, and dividing and subtracting numbers, sometimes a calculator is still very handy, it’s very nice to have a calculator. You’ll probably have a phone charger. This is something new in the last 10 or 15 years but most people at their desk at work also charge their phone. And you might have a plant. So you can see I put the word houseplant underneath. I gotta get better at pointing, don’t I? A plant at work in a pot is just called a plant but if you had the same plant in your house you could call it a houseplant.
You’ll probably have a pen, a pencil, and a bunch of erasers. Even though we do almost everything on computers now if you get an office job you will most likely be working on a computer a lot but you also still need a pen, and a pencil, and an eraser still because it’s just quite common when you work in an office that you need to do that. You will probably have a pencil sharpener. And now here’s the difficulty I can’t really point very well, can I? ‘Cause my hand goes behind. But the far pencil sharpener is a normal one, and the one closer to me is basically an electric pencil sharpener because maybe it’s too hard, maybe you don’t have enough stress to turn the pencil you can just stick it in. You’ll probably have a pair of scissors.
You will probably have post-it notes. So post-it notes come on a little pad, and when you write on a post-it note you can tear it off the pad, and then you can stick it on the wall, or on your desk, or on a box. Post-it notes we also call them sticky notes ’cause I think post-it note is the actual brand name of the company that makes them. Post-it notes are cool if you’re learning English because one way that you can learn vocabulary is you can write the English word on a post-it note, and then stick it on that thing. So if you were sitting where I am, and you were learning English you could say camera and put a post-it note on it, microphone, post-it note, computer monitor, post-it note, laptop, post-it note, headphones, post-it note, and so post-it notes are very, very cool that way.
So you will probably have tape. In Canada when the tape is clear, and then when it looks like that kind of tape we call it scotch tape. You don’t have to buy it from the Scotch company but we call it scotch tape, and that tape is actually in a tape dispenser. You will probably have file folders because they said a long time ago that computers, and the technology we have would make us use less paper, and that has not been true. In my opinion we use just as much paper now. I use less paper starting today but we’ve created a world where it’s very easy to print out things so it’s very easy to have a lot of paper, and in order to organize the paper you can put it into file folders.
If you need to mail something you would put it in an envelope or an envelope. Notice I say it two different ways, whatever flavor of English you are learning you’ll want to look that up, okay? So if I need to mail something I put it in an envelope but I might also say that I put it in an envelope. In Canada Both pronunciations are correct, but if you’re learning British English or American English you would need to figure out the right one. And then you would put a stamp on it, and you would throw it in the mail, or put it in the mail, or mail it, okay? A lot of different ways to talk about.
You might have a clipboard. So you might print out something on paper, and then you might put it on the clipboard so you can walk around. If you are a supervisor at a place you might use a clipboard because you might walk around to see how workers are doing, and then you might check off on the clipboard that they’re doing a good job or a bad job. Teachers use clipboards quite a bit actually. And then you will probably have a wastebasket. I’m not sure why in this picture the person threw out their clipboard but you will probably have a small wastebasket. And then what’s new in the last probably 20 years is you will have a recycled bin so you will recycle your paper. So you’ll see paper in this wastebasket that’s not allowed at my work we need to recycle it.
You will have a phone. So even though we live in a world where everyone has a phone at work if you work in an office you will have an office phone. You will have an office phone because it’s more than just a phone. So you can pick up the office phone, and dial a number and call someone. But you can also pick up the office phone, and dial an extension, and talk to someone in the same building, okay? So if you know that tech support is extension 28 you can pick up the phone and hit 28, and then the person at your office building who takes care of computers would answer the phone. So you will definitely have an office phone. It also works in some businesses as an intercom. So you can pick up the phone and dial star something, star 30, and then when you talk the whole workplace hears your voice from their phones, and from speakers in the ceiling. So you will have a work phone.
You’ll probably have a note pad or a notebook, something that you can use to take notes. So you might need to go to a meeting, and at the meeting maybe instead of bringing your laptop you bring a note pad, or a notebook, and you take notes during the meeting. Definitely when you go to a class you will probably if you were a student you would have a notebook to take notes as well. And you’ll probably have a day planner. In Canada we also call this an agenda. So a notebook is just a place to take notes but a day planner or agenda is somewhere where it has the days, and the months of the year, and you can say, okay, next week Wednesday meeting with Joe, okay? Next week Friday meeting with Todd and Dave. So that’s what you can use a day planner for. And an agenda can also be the list of things you’re going to talk about in a meeting, but in Canada we also call the book an agenda.
And you’ll have a computer, obviously you will have a computer. You will have a keyboard, and mouse, and probably a mouse pad. If you don’t know what a mouse pad is it looks like this. It’s something you put your mouse on so that you’re mouse works a little bit better. And you will have a computer monitor, or you might have a laptop. Sorry I went a little quick there, you’ll have a monitor, or you might have a laptop.
You’ll probably have a calendar on your desk, a desk calendar. So a desk calendar takes many forms. It might be something as simple as a calendar where you can just flip the pages, and it stands up nicely on your desk. Or it might look like that one where it’s made out of little wooden blocks. You will probably have a desk lamp on your desk. Even though an office building will have lots of light you might want to have a desk lamp because maybe you’re working late so if you stay after the time when you normally go home you would say you’re working late, and maybe the lights in the building start to go off you might want to have a desk lamp so that you can keep working.
You will probably have a briefcase. I don’t have a briefcase, I actually use a backpack when I go to work. Even though I’m older I like a backpack better, it’s easier to carry things. So because we keep printing things there will probably be a file cabinet, or a filing cabinet, we use both words in Canada. I think filing cabinet is British, file cabinet is American, but you will need to check this to be sure. There will probably be a photocopier, or what we call a copy machine. And then sometimes this is where people talk at work. So sometimes people have conversations around the photocopier. People used to and still do have conversations around the water cooler. Often in North America an office business, I don’t have a picture of this, will have a water cooler where you can go, and get some cold water, and people sometimes talk around the water cooler. But it’s actually more common I think now to talk around the photocopier, it’s definitely a gathering place where people talk.
So you will probably have a printer, again even though we are trying to create a world where there is less paper we still tend to print things quite a bit. And then let me check the next one, this is a really old machine that we don’t really use very often anymore, and it’s called a fax machine, but we still have one at work because sometimes you want to put a piece of paper in the fax machine, and you want to dial the number, and you want to fax something to someone. The full name is facsimile machine, we never say that, most English speakers don’t even know that word, but a fax machine is something that you use if you have a piece of paper, and you want someone far away to have the same piece of paper you can send it through a fax machine. Right now you are more likely to scan the document, and send it as an attachment with an email, okay? So when you scan a document you put it into a photocopier, and you click scan instead of copy, and then you get a digital copy of the document that you can send in an email as an attachment.