timeismoney - ProFile 1 UNIT 8 Time is money Over the past...

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Unformatted text preview: ProFile 1 UNIT 8 Time is money Over the past century, the working week and the number of hours worked over the course of a year has dropped dramatically in most developed economies. Time and labour-saving technologies mean that people can achieve as much, if not more, in the same amount of time. Paradoxically, even if the number of hours falls, people complain more and more about the speed of their working lives and the increased stress which is involved. THE CHINA PRICE Nowadays, where labour remains an important part of overall cost, US and European countries are unable to compete with cheap labour markets such as China. This is most apparent in industries which use intermediate technologies, i.e. that which is mechanized but still requires manpower. Unless the US and European firms can reduce their costs significantly, they quickly become unviable. SOCIAL PROTECTION The over-protection of the workforce in some European countries has forced manufacturers down the route of more mechanization. Modern car factories and pharmaceutical plants use a handful of workers compared with two or three decades ago. There is greater use of digital technology and robots. This has actually encouraged such firms to develop a technological edge over their more traditional rivals. TIME AND EMAIL The big advantage of email and the Internet is that it is far easier to keep in contact with the workplace, colleagues, and customers even while on the move. Most business travellers these days have roving email addresses which allow them to stay in contact wherever they are. Wi-Fi and mobile technology have in effect allowed each person to have a virtual office from their car or lap-top. It does, however, raise many questions about the value and usefulness of some of the communications. Even though email may have improved the immediacy of communication, many people claim that it wastes far more time than it saves. They are bombarded with unnecessary, or irrelevant emails and memory-hungry images. Office workers complain that they have to waste time each day getting rid of so-called spam messages. In order to save time, most businesses sieve email messages through spam filters. All of this has meant that there has been a reaction against email, which has been reflected in the refusal of many higher-level managers to work with it. The higher up a company you move, the more messages you are copied into, and the pressure of dealing with email increases. LUDDITES In Britain, during the industrial revolution, workers who wove by hand smashed the machines which were replacing their labour. They were known as Luddites after their leader, Ned Ludd. Nowadays, this is used as an idomatic term for anyone who opposes or does not understand modern technology. See the ProFile Student’s site: www.oup.com/elt/profile Photocopiable © Oxford University Press ...
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This note was uploaded on 12/12/2010 for the course RBS BCN taught by Professor Dekoe during the Spring '10 term at Rotterdam Business School.

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