The paper free office
What can you see when you look at your office desk? Probably lots of things on it: books, brochures, files, notepads, newspapers, some pens, paper clips, documents, a stapler, a keyboard or a laptop, a printer perhaps? Not too tidy, is it?
But in many companies it’s very important to have a tidy office. Some companies say that workers can’t leave documents or paper on their desk at the end of the day. So employees put all the documents into filing cabinets or drawers. Experts say that a person who works at an untidy desk is not organized and spends about one-and-a-half hours a day looking for things. An organized worker always has a tidy workspace.
But is that true? Research shows that there are two types of worker. The first type is the “filer” – they receive a document and immediately file it. The second type is the “piler” – they have piles of paper on their desk. Who do you think can find things more quickly? The answer may surprise you.
Workers who file everything have a tidy desk, but they file too much. As a result their files and filing cabinets take a lot of space in the office and, moreover, there are so many files that it takes time to remember where a particular document is.
The “pilers” often have an untidy desk, but they aren’t always disorganized. Some experts say that a busy desk helps “pilers” to think about current projects and makes it easy to find documents.
So next time you want to tidy your desk, stop and think. Perhaps an untidy one makes it easier to find things! ☺


Ex. 1 Find and match the English equivalents of these words:

1. badania
2. bieżący
3. biurko
4. drukarka
5. klawiatura
6. notatnik
7. obszar roboczy
8. prospekt
9. segregować, układać
10. spinacze
11. sterta, stos
12. szafa na dokumenty
13. szuflada
14. teczka
15. uporządkowany
16. zszywacz


• brochure
• current
• desk
• drawer
• file
• filing cabinet
• keyboard
• notepad
• paper clips
• pile
• printer
• research
• stapler
• tidy
• to file
• workspace


Ex. 2 Complete these expressions with missing prepositions (in, at, on etc.):

1. look ______ your desk
2. lots of things ______ it
3. ______ the end ______ the day
4. put documents ______ filing cabinets
5. work ______ an untidy desk
6. spend time looking ______ things


I know English idioms!

This lesson’s text deals with the topic of paper. Let’s observe the key word in this idiomatic expression:
• to put/set pen to paper = to start to write (wziać się do pisania, chwycić za pióro)
➢ It’s time you put pen to paper and replied to that letter from the dissatisfied client.


Phrasals, phrasals…

The word “paper”: can also be used as a phrasal verb:
• to paper over sth = to hide an unpleasant situation to make people believe that it does not exist (zataić, ukryć coś)
➢ The CEO tried to paper over the company’s infamous secrets.


Grammar corner

The text contains such pairs of words:
• tidy – untidy
• organized – disorganized
They are the so-called antonyms – words of opposite meaning. To create them we need some negative particles, the most important of which are: un-, in-, im-, dis-, il-, ir-, non- .Some of the prefixes are used according to the rule of the first letter of the original word, e.g. illegal, irregular, impossible (words beginning with p almost always take im-) but others follow no rules or there are exceptions too.


Make these words “negative” using the correct particles:

1. _____approve
2. _____charge
3. _____happy
4. _____legible
5. _____load
6. _____logical
7. _____loyal
8. _____moral
9. _____perfect
10. _____profit
11. _____reasonable
12. _____responsible
13. _____safe
14. _____satisfied
15. _____secure



paper free –  bez papieru
to look at  – patrzeć na
(office) desk –  biurko
brochure –  prospekt, broszura
file  – teczka
notepad  – notatnik
paper clip  – spinacz (do papieru)
stapler –  zszywacz
keyboard  – klawiatura
printer  – drukarka
(un)tidy  – (nie)uporządkowany
to leave  – zostawiać
at the end of the day  – pod koniec dnia
filing cabinet  – szafa na dokumenty
drawer –  szuflada
(dis)organized –  (nie)zorganizowany
one-and-a-half  – półtorej
to look for  – szukać
workspace –  obszar roboczy
research  – badania
to receive –  otrzymać
immediately  – natychmiast
to file  – segregować, układać
pile  – sterta, stos
to surprise  – zaskoczyć
to take space  – zajmować miejsce
particular  – konkretny
current  – bieżący
to find  – znaleźć


download lesson (pdf)



Ex. 1
1. research
2. current
3. desk
4. printer
5. keyboard
6. notepad
7. workspace
8. brochure
9. to file
10. paper clips
11. pile
12. filing cabinet
13. drawer
14. file
15. tidy
16. stapler

Ex. 2
1. look at your desk
2. lots of things on it
3. at the end of the day
4. put documents into filing cabinets
5. work at an untidy desk
6. spend time looking for things
Grammar corner
1. disapprove
2. discharge
3. unhappy
4. illegible
5. unload
6. illogical
7. disloyal
8. immoral
9. imperfect
10. non-profit
11. unreasonable
12. irresponsible
13. unsafe
14. dissatisfied
15. insecure