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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of offices and whether or not offices should have open-space designs or separate rooms.

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IELTS Essay: Offices

Nowadays, a lot of offices employ open-space designs instead of separate rooms for work.

Do the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantages?

Many offices these days are opting for open designs over more traditional, compartmentalized floor plans. In my opinion, despite the limited advantages for efficiency, this is a positive change due to its social and work-related benefits.

On the one hand, an open layout can reduce efficiency. When individuals work in private offices or cubicles, they are less likely to be disturbed and can therefore work more effectively. Each time a person is interrupted, this not only requires them to stop working but it may also take an indeterminate amount of time to focus again. Over the course of a day, various interruptions in the aggregate can massively reduce the amount of work completed. Recent research has in fact shown that communication around the office, though beneficial in other ways, does lead to declines in total work output. An office trying to achieve optimal output thus should emphasize private working spaces.

On the other hand, increased communication is a boon both socially and creatively. A standout example of this would be the offices designed by Apple founder Steve Jobs for both Pixar and Apple. He intentionally created offices that directed individuals to meet in common areas and that would facilitate interactions between different divisions in the company. The impact of this on morale is massive as individuals can make friends and enjoy each other’s company throughout the workday. Moreover, the true intention of this design was to facilitate creativity. By meeting others on a regular basis, employees are more likely to combine diverse perspectives and be more imaginative in their work.

In conclusion, although there may be minor tradeoffs in terms of productivity, this is a progressive change as it allows employees to converse and be more creative. Such offices should become the rule, rather than the exception.

Analysis

1. Many offices these days are opting for open designs over more traditional, compartmentalized floor plans. 2. In my opinion, despite the limited advantages for efficiency, this is a positive change due to its social and work-related benefits.

  1. Paraphrase the overall essay topic.
  2. Write a clear opinion. Read more about introductions here.

1. On the one hand, an open layout can reduce efficiency. 2. When individuals work in private offices or cubicles, they are less likely to be disturbed and can therefore work more effectively. 3. Each time a person is interrupted, this not only requires them to stop working but it may also take an indeterminate amount of time to focus again. 4. Over the course of a day, various interruptions in the aggregate can massively reduce the amount of work completed. 5. Recent research has in fact shown that communication around the office, though beneficial in other ways, does lead to declines in total work output. 6. An office trying to achieve optimal output thus should emphasize private working spaces.

  1. Write a topic sentence with a clear main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your main idea.
  3. Develop it with specific or hypothetical examples.
  4. Keep developing it fully.
  5. Vary long and short sentences.
  6. Finish development.

1. On the other hand, increased communication is a boon both socially and creatively. 2. A standout example of this would be the offices designed by Apple founder Steve Jobs for both Pixar and Apple. 3. He intentionally created offices that directed individuals to meet in common areas and that would facilitate interactions between different divisions in the company. 4. The impact of this on morale is massive as individuals can make friends and enjoy each other’s company throughout the workday. 5. Moreover, the true intention of this design was to facilitate creativity. 6. By meeting others on a regular basis, employees are more likely to combine diverse perspectives and be more imaginative in their work.

  1. Write a new topic sentence with a new main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your new main idea.
  3. Include specific details and examples.
  4. Add as much information as you can and make sure it links logically.
  5. Develop the example fully.
  6. State the results as well.

1. In conclusion, although there may be minor tradeoffs in terms of productivity, this is a progressive change as it allows employees to converse and be more creative. 2. Such offices should become the rule, rather than the exception.

  1. Summarise your main ideas.
  2. Include a final thought. Read more about conclusions here.

Vocabulary

What do the words in bold below mean? Make some notes on paper to aid memory and then check below.

Many offices these days are opting for open designs over more traditional, compartmentalized floor plans. In my opinion, despite the limited advantages for efficiency, this is a positive change due to its social and work-related benefits.

On the one hand, an open layout can reduce efficiency. When individuals work in private offices or cubicles, they are less likely to be disturbed and can therefore work more effectively. Each time a person is interrupted, this not only requires them to stop working but it may also take an indeterminate amount of time to focus again. Over the course of a day, various interruptions in the aggregate can massively reduce the amount of work completed. Recent research has in fact shown that communication around the office, though beneficial in other ways, does lead to declines in total work output. An office trying to achieve optimal output thus should emphasize private working spaces.

On the other hand, increased communication is a boon both socially and creatively. A standout example of this would be the offices designed by Apple founder Steve Jobs for both Pixar and Apple. He intentionally created offices that directed individuals to meet in common areas and that would facilitate interactions between different divisions in the company. The impact of this on morale is massive as individuals can make friends and enjoy each other’s company throughout the workday. Moreover, the true intention of this design was to facilitate creativity. By meeting others on a regular basis, employees are more likely to combine diverse perspectives and be more imaginative in their work.

In conclusion, although there may be minor tradeoffs in terms of productivity, this is a progressive change as it allows employees to converse and be more creative. Such offices should become the rule, rather than the exception.

Answers

For extra practice, write an antonym (opposite word) on a piece of paper to help you remember the new vocabulary:

opting for choosing

open designs lots of space in the floor plan

traditional normal

compartmentalized floor plans offices with lots of cubicles and individual offices

limited advantages small benefits

efficiency productivity

due to because of

social interacting with people

work-related benefits good for your job

open layout office with lots of space

reduce decrease

private offices individual rooms

cubicles spaces sectioned off with walls but not a separate room for work

disturbed interrupted

therefore thus

effectively does it well

interrupted disturbed

requires needs

indeterminate amount of time some period of time

focus concentrate

over the course of a day throughout the day

various different kinds of

in the aggregate all together

massively reduce cut down on a lot

completed finished

recent research has in fact shown new studies indicate

beneficial in other ways good in different ways

lead to causes

total work output amount of work done

achieve optimal output accomplish as much as they can

emphasize private working spaces focus on individual offices

boon benefit

socially talking to others

creatively imaginatively

a standout example of this would be a good instance is

intentionally on purpose

directed pointed at

common areas places to congregate

facilitate interactions make people talk more

different divisions other parts of the company

morale how people in the company feel

massive really big

enjoy each other’s company throughout the workday have fun talking all day

true intention actual reason

facilitate help, enable

on a regular basis normally

combine diverse perspectives learn from others

imaginative creative

minor tradeoffs small disadvantages

in terms of when it comes to

productivity efficiency

progressive change good reform

converse talk

the rule, rather than the exception normal, not rare

Pronunciation

Practice saying the vocabulary below and use this tip about Google voice search:

ˈɒptɪŋ fɔː 
ˈəʊpən dɪˈzaɪnz 
trəˈdɪʃənl
kəmˈpɑːtmənt ˈrɪəlaɪzd flɔː plænz
ˈlɪmɪtɪd ədˈvɑːntɪʤɪz 
ɪˈfɪʃənsi
djuː tuː 
ˈsəʊʃəl 
wɜːk-rɪˈleɪtɪd ˈbɛnɪfɪts
ˈəʊpən ˈleɪaʊt 
rɪˈdjuːs 
ˈpraɪvɪt ˈɒfɪsɪz 
ˈkjuːbɪklz
dɪsˈtɜːbd 
ˈðeəfɔː 
ɪˈfɛktɪvli
ˌɪntəˈrʌptɪd 
rɪˈkwaɪəz 
ˌɪndɪˈtɜːmɪnɪt əˈmaʊnt ɒv taɪm 
ˈfəʊkəs 
ˈəʊvə ðə kɔːs ɒv ə deɪ
ˈveərɪəs 
ɪn ði ˈægrɪgɪt 
ˈmæsɪvli rɪˈdjuːs 
kəmˈpliːtɪd
ˈriːsnt rɪˈsɜːʧ hæz ɪn fækt ʃəʊn 
ˌbɛnɪˈfɪʃəl ɪn ˈʌðə weɪz
liːd tuː 
ˈtəʊtl wɜːk ˈaʊtpʊt
əˈʧiːv ˈɒptɪməl ˈaʊtpʊt 
ˈɛmfəsaɪz ˈpraɪvɪt ˈwɜːkɪŋ ˈspeɪsɪz
buːn 
ˈsəʊʃəli 
kri(ː)ˈeɪtɪvli
ə ˈstændaʊt ɪgˈzɑːmpl ɒv ðɪs wʊd biː 
ɪnˈtɛnʃənli 
dɪˈrɛktɪd 
ˈkɒmən ˈeərɪəz 
fəˈsɪlɪteɪt ˌɪntərˈækʃənz 
ˈdɪfrənt dɪˈvɪʒənz 
mɒˈrɑːl 
ˈmæsɪv 
ɪnˈʤɔɪ iːʧ ˈʌðəz ˈkʌmpəni θru(ː)ˈaʊt ðə ˈwɜːkdeɪ
truː ɪnˈtɛnʃən 
fəˈsɪlɪteɪt 
ɒn ə ˈrɛgjʊlə ˈbeɪsɪs 
ˈkɒmbaɪn daɪˈvɜːs pəˈspɛktɪvz 
ɪˈmæʤɪnətɪv 
ˈmaɪnə treɪd ɒfs 
ɪn tɜːmz ɒv 
ˌprɒdʌkˈtɪvɪti
prəʊˈgrɛsɪv ʧeɪnʤ
kənˈvɜːs 
ðə ruːlˈrɑːðə ðæn ði ɪkˈsɛpʃən

Vocabulary Practice

I recommend getting a pencil and piece of paper because that aids memory. Then write down the missing vocabulary from my sample answer in your notebook:

Many offices these days are o_______________r o_____________s over more t_____________l, c_________________________s. In my opinion, despite the l____________________s for e______________y, this is a positive change d______o its s______l and w_______________________s.

On the one hand, an o______________t can r__________e efficiency. When individuals work in p______________s or c_________s, they are less likely to be d_________d and can t__________e work more e____________y. Each time a person is i_______________d, this not only r_________s them to stop working but it may also take an i____________________________e to f______s again. O_____________________y, v_________s interruptions i_______________e can m_____________e the amount of work c_________d. R______________________________n that communication around the office, though b__________________s, does l_________o declines in t__________________t. An office trying to a___________________t thus should e______________________s.

On the other hand, increased communication is a b_____n both s_________y and c_________y. A_________________________________e the offices designed by Apple founder Steve Jobs for both Pixar and Apple. He i________________y created offices that d___________d individuals to meet in c_____________s and that would f__________________s between d___________________s in the company. The impact of this on m_________e is m_________e as individuals can make friends and e_____________________________________________y. Moreover, the t______________n of this design was to f__________e creativity. By meeting others o_________________s, employees are more likely to c__________________________s and be more i_______________e in their work.

In conclusion, although there may be m_________________________________y, this is a p_________________e as it allows employees to c_______________e and be more creative. Such offices should become t__________________________________n.

Listening Practice

Learn more about this topic by watching videos from The New York Times YouTube channel below and practice with these activities:

Reading Practice

Read more about this topic and use these ideas to practice:

https://www.creativebloq.com/design/design-offices-912828

Speaking Practice

Practice with the following speaking questions from the real IELTS speaking exam:

Offices

  1. Do you work in an office?
  2. Is it common for people in your country to work in office?
  3. Where do most of your friends work?
  4. Would you like to design an office?

Writing Practice

Practice with the related IELTS essay topic below:

Some people believe that it is a good idea that older people continue to work if it is possible for them to do.

Do you agree or disagree?


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