Coffee break: Working while on holiday

    Business Spotlight Audio 8/2023
    girl working on laptop while sitting against her suitcase on the beach
    © Anastasia Nelen/
    Von Melita Cameron-Wood

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    Coffee breakPausebreaks form part of everyday working life, and office kitchens are the backdropKulissebackdrop to many work-related conversations. It’s fair to say if the walls had ears, they’d have a few stories to tell. Today, at the fictional London-based advertising agency Metropolitan Mayhem, co-workers Douglas and Michelle discuss their American colleague Kyle’s habit of working while away on holiday. OK, have you made yourself a coffee? Let’s join our friends at Metropolitan Mayhem.

    Douglas: Are you all right, Michelle? You look a bit stressed and tired.

    Michelle: Oh, cheers (UK)hier: dankecheers, Doug — much appreciatedhier etwa: sehr aufmerksammuch appreciated! Do me a favour and make me a double espresso, will you? I need some extra caffeine today.

    Douglas: Sure thing — [jokingly] sounds like you need it. But seriously, though, are you OK?

    Michelle: Well, to be honest, Doug, I’m really to be annoyed with sb.sich über jmdn. ärgernannoyed with Kyle. He’s on holiday at the moment, and he’s still answering work emails and participating in calls. If people start doing that, then they’ll start expecting everyone to take their laptop with them when they go away. I, for one, don’t plan on getting sand stuck in my keyboardTastaturkeyboard!

    Douglas: I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Kyle is a bit of a workaholic, bless him (ifml.)hier etwa: der Gutebless him. You know what they say about that American work ethic, after all.

    Michelle: Tell me about it. Sometimes, I think he doesn’t know how to take a break. He didn’t even bother to set up an out-of-office messageAbwesenheitsnotizout-of-office message. I wonder what his boyfriend thinks about him working while they’re away. I wouldn’t be happy if my partner did that.

    Douglas: His partner’s a high-flyerÜberflieger(in)high-flyer in the banking industry. I think they’re both very work-oriented, so maybe they enjoy doing a bit of work while they’re away. Your team’s working on a new commercialWerbespotcommercial, right? It’s probably just a bad case of FOMO.

    Michelle: Do you think so? I mean we could easily update him when he gets back… [phone rings] Oh my goodness! Guess who it is? It’s him! Unbelievable!

    Douglas: Are you going to to pick uphier: rangehenpick up?

    Michelle: I suppose I should.

    Douglas: Do you want another coffee? I’ll make you one while you’re on the phone.

    Michelle: Go on then, I won’t be a minute. [picking up phone] Hi, Kyle. How’s your holiday going?

    Kyle: [background noise] We’re really enjoying it here in Barcelona. The weather’s amazing (ifml.)toll, fantastischamazing! But listen, I just wanted to get a quick update on the commercial we’re working on for uniqueeinzigartigUnique Travel. Have you guy (ifml.)Typ, Kumpelguys decided on a filming location yet? I thought I could ask around in Barcelona while I’m here.

    Michelle: c’mon (come on)komm schonC’mon Kyle, I’m sure there are more exciting things you could be doing while you’re there. Why don’t you take some time out, and we can discuss everything when you’re back in the office? You are on holiday after all!

    Kyle: To be honest, I don’t mind doing a bit of work while I’m away. When I work from home, I to break sth. upetw. unterteilenbreak up the day by going to the gymFitnessstudiogym for an hour or two, so what’s the difference if I spend a couple of hours to catch up with sth.sich bei etw. auf den neuesten Stand bringencatching up with some work while I’m on holiday? It’ll make things less stressful when I come back to work.

    Michelle: Well, I just hope the company doesn’t start expecting us all to be available 24/7 (ifml.)rund um die Uhr24/7 when we’re away. That wouldn’t be too good for our work-life balance, would it? I don’t know about the others, but I’m going to wait until you’re back to give you an update. Now go and do some sightseeing and leave location scouting(das) Erkunden; hier: Suchescouting for another day.

    Kyle: Right, erm, well, I suppose it could wait. Or I could always give Paul a call… Anyway, have a great day, Michelle.

    Michelle: Cheers, Kyle. You too. Bye.

    Kyle: Bye! [hangs up]

    Douglas: How did that go?

    Michelle: He’s incorrigibleunverbesserlichincorrigible.

    Douglas: It sounds like you guys just have a different point of view on the matter. Maybe it’s best to agree to disagree.

    Michelle: Ever the diplomat, Doug! Now, where’s that second coffee?

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