English Listening Lesson: Creative Work Environments

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How to take this lesson

Rule #1 – It’s very important to do ALL the steps in order – do NOT read ahead, because then you will already know the answers.

Rule #2 – It’s totally OK if you need to listen several times to complete an activity. The tasks may be challenging, but don’t get frustrated – do your best!


Describe your office or workplace (if currently unemployed, describe your last place of employment). If you were the boss, what would you change about the office?


Activity 1 – Pre-Learn Vocabulary

unorthodox (adj.) = unusual and different, not traditional or typical

Ex) That school is a bit unorthodox; they don’t give grades or any type of standardized tests at all.

cubicle (n.) = a small, square compartment for work or study:


décor (n.) = decoration, particularly of a room or space

Ex) The beach house had décor with an ocean theme, featuring paintings of seashells and tropical fish.

abound (v.) = to be great in number or amount

Ex) Scandals abound when the government is full of corrupt politicians.

leeway (n.) = freedom of action or thought within limits

Ex) The teacher said we have to write at least a ten-page paper, but she gave us some leeway on the topic.

jog (v.) = run slowly

Ex) I like to jog through the park in the morning.

in-house (adj.) = inside a company or organization (in contrast to contracting a third party from outside the group)

Ex) Our company doesn’t have an in-house graphic designer, so we’ll need to hire someone to create the poster.

subsidized (adj.) = having the price reduced because someone else (usually a company, organization, or government) is paying part of the fee

Ex) My company offers subsidized professional training for employees – we can take the classes at half-price.

cutting-edge (adj.) = extremely modern, leading the trends (often used for technology)

Ex) Our simulations use cutting-edge virtual reality technology.

picky (adj.) = selective, specific about demands when making a choice (often in an annoying way)

Ex) My son is a picky eater; he won’t eat anything with vegetables in it.

infamous (adj.) = famous (often for something negative)

Ex) The police finally captured the infamous gang leader who had been responsible for at least a hundred crimes.

Activity 2 – Listen for General Ideas

Speaker: Frank – American

  1. The company described in this audio is…
    Google / Facebook / Yahoo.
  2. Put the topics of the listening in order from 1 to 5:
  • benefits for employees
  • design of the office
  • hiring process
  • policy about time
  • ways to relax

Slower Audio

Faster Audio

Click here for answer


Activity 3 – Listen for Specific Details 

Slower Audio

Faster Audio

Detail Listening Quiz: Creative Work Environments

Congratulations - you have completed Detail Listening Quiz: Creative Work Environments. You scored %%SCORE%% out of %%TOTAL%%. Your performance has been rated as %%RATING%%
Your answers are highlighted below.


Activity 4 – Listen for Specific Words

Download the Word document and go to page 5.

You can fill in the words in the document as you listen (or print it out and use a pencil).

If you need to, you can pause the audio in order to have time to write the words.

In this activity, it is very common to need to listen several times – so if you miss a word, don’t worry – you can go back in the audio, or listen again.

Slower Audio

Faster Audio

Check Your Answers – Complete Transcript!

Download the Word document and go to page 7.

There is also some extra vocabulary in the Word document.

To download the audios, right-click on each link and select “Save as…”

Image sources: BeaconHillPG, Niteowlneils, Luke Rathbone

This is a free sample lesson from the English Listening Course

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Activity 2 Answers:

1. Google

2. This is the correct order:

  • design of the office
  • benefits for employees
  • ways to relax
  • policy about time
  • hiring process

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