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BBC 6 minute English-Business English: Rules

BBC 6 minute English-Business English: Rules

BBC 6 minute English-Business English: Rules


Transcript of the podcast

NB: This is not a word-for-word transcript

Feifei: Welcome to 6 Minute English! I’m Feifei

Neil: And I’m Neil

Feifei: In today’s programme… what’s that smell, Neil? Have you been smoking

Neil: Smoking? Me? Absolutely not, no

Feifei: Well, I’m sure I can smell it on your clothes

Neil: It’s not me. Smoking is against the rules here: in fact, it’s against the law

Feifei: Yes that’s true. It’s been in the news a lot recently and with more and more employers banning smoking in the workplace, today we’re talking about rules and regulations at work. Neil what do you think about rules at work – are they a necessary evil or are you a bit of a rebel

Neil: Ah, you know me, I’m a rebel through and through! Let’s hear from some other people to find out about some of the rules and regulations they have at their workplace

Voice 1: I’m actually wearing jeans at work today and I think it’s good to be able to be comfortable when you come to work because you feel more relaxed and you can work a bit better

Voice 2: In some countries and cultures, giving gifts as a business gift is very important, for example I lived in Japan for a couple of years and that at New Year’s holidays and at various other times of the year, it was very important to give gifts

Person 3: At my workplace, we are not allowed to give out personal numbers because it’s a privacy issue and you just don’t know what might happen, so it’s for our own protection as well as in the interest of the company

Feifei: So a few different rules there but Neil what’s the best way to talk about rules and regulations at work

Neil: Well, I can’t answer that Feifei! You know the rules of this programme don’t you

Feifei: What do you mean

Neil: We always have to ask the very lovely Business Betty to answer our question, and I think I can hear her now

Neil / FF: It’s Business Betty

Neil: Hello Betty and may I say you’re looking very very lovely today

BB: Thank you very much and what is today’s topic

Feifei: It’s rules and regulations

BB: OK, let’s look at some useful language for talking about rules and regulations at work. To start with, you can say that something is ‘against company policy’. For example, smoking in the office

Feifei: Smoking in the office is against company policy

BB: Smoking in the office is against company policy. Or accepting gifts

Neil: Accepting gifts is against company policy

BB: Good Neil. Another useful phrase is I’m sorry, but we’re not allowed

Feifei: So we could say, I’m sorry, but we’re not allowed to accept gifts

Neil: I’m sorry, but we’re not allowed to give out personal details

BB: ‘I’m sorry, but we’re not allowed’. That’s quite a formal phrase, but you can use it in most situations. If you want to use a much more informal phrase Feifei, you can say ‘I’m afraid that’s a no-no’ when someone asks you if they can do something

Neil: Are we allowed to wear shorts at work

Feifei: I’m afraid that’s a no-no

Neil: Can I have John’s home phone number

Feifei: I’m afraid that’s a no-no too

BB: So you can say that something’s ‘against company policy’. You can use the phrase ‘I’m sorry, but we’re not allowed’ and then we’ve got an informal phrase ‘I’m sorry, that’s a no-no’. Is that enough for you

Neil: That’s absolutely wonderful, thanks Betty

BB: Well if there’s nothing else, I’ll be on my way

Feifei: Thanks for coming Betty

Neil: Bye Betty

BB: Bye! Neil: She’s just the best, isn’t she

Feifei: I know – I don’t know what we’d do without her. So Neil, are you ready for a role-play about rules

Neil: Only if I can be the boss

Feifei: I’m afraid that’s a no-no. Neil: Ha ha, very funny. I like that. Is it against company policy

Feifei: Ha ha, funny, yourself

Neil: So what’s the situation

Feifei: OK, we work at the same place. I’ve been there for years, and you’re new, you’ve been with the company for about a week and you want to know if you’re allowed to do certain things. Do you think you can manage that

Neil: I’ll do my best. Right, getting ready

Feifei: Ready

Neil: Let’s do it


Neil: Hello Feifei

Feifei: Hi Neil! How are you settling in

Neil: Oh, quite well, everybody’s very friendly and everything but there are still a few things I’m a bit confused about though

Feifei: Oh, anything I can help with

Neil: Well yes, the thing is, I know we’re not allowed to smoke inside but what about outside? Are we allowed to smoke in the car park

Feifei: No, I’m sorry but we’re not allowed. Smoking’s against company policy, even in the car park

Neil: OK, I thought so. I just wanted to check. And I was wondering, what about wearing shorts at work? Is that allowed

Feifei: No, wearing shorts, that’s a big no-no

Neil: Hmm but I saw Charlie wearing shorts on Monday and I thought

Feifei: Noooo… Monday was his day off and he just popped in to pick something up. Wearing jeans at work is against company policy, definitely. It’s not very business-like

Neil: Oh, right, I see. OK and I wanted to go home early on Friday. I guess that’s not allowed either, is it

Feifei: No, I’m afraid it isn’t

Feifei: So that’s the end of the role play, how was it for you Neil

Neil: Yep very good, but my word – what a lot of rules, I’m glad we don’t have as many as that here at BBC Learning English

Feifei: Yes I know. We’re quite relaxed here. Join us again soon for another episode of 6 Minute English. Bye

Neil: Bye

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