The office that starts at 9.06am 早上九點零六分準時開始工作

What’s the best time to start work? The story of why one US company has very unusual working hours.

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在英國,“朝九晚五的工作”這個說法指的是遵循正常辦公時間的工作,其中數字“9”和“5”分別代表英國公司最普遍的上下班時間。但如今,很多企業通過將辦公時間變得靈活化來讓員工感到更輕鬆、自由。一家美國公司要求其全體員工必須從早上九點零六分開始準時上班,這是為什麼呢?本集《隨身英語》探討這家企業實行的獨特規定。

課文內容

Vocabulary: timekeeping 詞彙: 守時

What time do you start work? Do you prefer a leisurely start to the day, or are you an early bird who likes to get going at the crack of dawn?

At one computer programming company in the US you have no such choice. Work begins at the same oddly specific time every day: 9.06am.

In contrast to a more conventional 9am kickoff, employees in Pivotal Software’s 20 offices around the globe have to be at work and ready to go precisely six minutes later.

At that time a cowbell is rung and employees gather for a brief stand-up meeting. After that it’s nose to the grindstone, with no other meetings or distractions throughout the working day. They steam on through until 6pm sharp, at which point everybody downs tools.

So what’s the reason behind this quirky timekeeping? Company CEO Rob Mee explains it’s about making his team of computer programmers as efficient as possible.

“I realised that programmers, if left to their own devices, may roll in at 10am,” he says.

“We thought that if we made it 9am, developers psyching themselves up for the day would think, ‘well if it is 9am I’ll be late.’”

He needed a little more leeway, but a starting time of 9.05am on the nose felt too rigidly precise – whereas 9.06am seemed “fun”.

Mr Mee was also thinking of their stomachs. Lazier programmers who turned up around 10am would also often have missed breakfast. This meant they would be hungry by 11am and take an early lunch, leaving them with an interminably long working afternoon ahead. So he decided to provide breakfast as an extra incentive to get in to the office on time.

The company’s approach to punctuality may seem nerdy, but Pivotal Software is in fact a highly successful company, valued at 20bn RMB. And Pivotal is not alone: Silicon Valley has long been associated with an alternative working culture. Google has ‘nap pods’ and meditation classes, while Netflix offers a year’s paid parental leave

詞彙表

leisurely 悠閒放鬆的
early bird 早到的人,早起的人
at the crack of dawn 破曉之時,一大早
kick-off (活動)開始
nose to the grindstone 長時間用功幹活
steam (on) through 不間斷、精神集中地工作
sharp 準時地
down tools 停止工作
quirky 獨特的,奇特的
leave to one’s own devices 任某人做自認為正確的事,聽任自由
roll in 慢悠悠地來
psych yourself up 做好心理準備
leeway 餘裕的時間
on the nose (時間)分秒不差
turn up 到來,出現
interminably 沒完沒了地,冗長地
punctuality 守時
nerdy 呆板的
nap (白天的)小睡
parental leave 親子假

測驗與練習

1. 閱讀課文並回答問題。

1. Why does Pivotal Software begin at 9.06am sharp? 

2. What happens at 9.06am?

3. Why is Rob Mee concerned about employees missing breakfast?

4.Which word means ‘normal’, ‘usual’?

5. True or false: American tech companies often have unusual benefits for employees. 

2. 請你在不參考課文的情況下完成下列練習。選擇一個意思合適的單字填入句子的空格處。

1. I need to ______ myself up before I give a presentation at work.

heat      tool      psychology      psyche

2. You have such a ______ taste in fashion. I love your combination of pink shoes and dinner jacket.

conventional      quirky      leisurely      sharp

3. We had no time for lunch today, we just had to ______.

roll in      steam on through      turn up      kick off

4. You need to make the schedule a bit more flexible and create some ______ for delays.

leeway      punctuality      leave      gaps

5. Martin downs tools at 6pm ______. He needs to catch a train at 6.12pm.

on his nose      sharply      sharp      on the grindstone

答案

1. 閱讀課文並回答問題。

1. Why does Pivotal Software begin at 9.06am sharp? 

CEO Rob Mee believes that starting at this precise time helps employees be more efficient. Firstly, it ensures workers begin work at a good time, not too late in the morning. By choosing an unusual time the requirement seems fun rather than strict.

2. What happens at 9.06am?

At 9.06am a bell is rung and employees gather for a brief meeting, before starting work.

3. Why is Rob Mee concerned about employees missing breakfast?

Rob Mee is concerned that if workers don’t eat breakfast, they’ll have an early lunch and then have to face a very long afternoon of work.

4.Which word means ‘normal’, ‘usual’?

Conventional

5. True or false: American tech companies often have unusual benefits for employees.

True. Google has nap pods and meditation classes, while Netflix offers a year’s paid parental leave.

2. 請你在不參考課文的情況下完成下列練習。選擇一個意思合適的單字填入句子的空格處。

1. I need to psyche myself up before I give a presentation at work.

2. You have such a quirky taste in fashion. I love your combination of pink shoes and dinner jacket.

3. We had no time for lunch today, we just had to steam on through.

4. You need to make the schedule a bit more flexible and create some leeway for delays.

5. Martin downs tools at 6pm sharp. He needs to catch a train at 6.12pm.

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