Please don’t ‘push the envelope’

April 25, 2018

Have you ever caught yourself “thinking outside of the box”? Don’t mention it to colleagues, who are likely to roll their eyes at your choice of words.

New research suggests that fully 70% American workers have added “office jargon” to their vocabularies—with “give it 110%” the phrase that is odds-on the most annoying, according findings of a poll covered by SWNS on April 24.

The study, conducted by OnePoll in conjunction with Jive Communications, looked at the shop talk of 2,000 U.S. workers and compiled the 40 most cringe-worthy office phrases.

We’ve all been there—whether we were the ones wincing or actually using these phrases. According to 72% of American workers, these annoying words and phrases are used out of habit. We also would guess that workers use jargon such as “let’s ballpark this” and “run it up the flagpole,” in order to sound professional.

What about “synergy”? Ranked at 13, this oft-used word is one that many people detest. And, while we all have gone “back to the drawing board,” 27% of American workers draw the line at that phrase.

Interesting enough, fully 29% of workers have used these buzzwords just to get a backlash from their co-workers; and 22% use them for assimilation purposes.

What’s more, while many people are cringing at office communications on a daily basis 60% of Americans can’t even understand what they mean.

Below, are the most annoying examples of office jargon, as determined by the recent poll:

  1. Give it 110%
  2. Think outside the box
  3. Hammer it out
  4. Heavy lifting
  5. Throw them under the bus
  6. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch
  7. Pushing the envelope
  8. Let the cat out of the bag
  9. Let’s circle back
  10. Win-win situation
  11. Blue-sky thinking
  12. Boil the ocean
  13. Synergy
  14. Low-hanging fruit
  15. Take it to the next level
  16. Barking up the wrong tree
  17. Going forward
  18. Let’s ballpark this
  19. Run this up the flagpole
  20. Back to square one
  21. There’s no I in team
  22. Back to the drawing board
  23. Paradigm shift
  24. Elephant in the room
  25. Raise the bar
  26. Drill down
  27. Best thing since sliced bread
  28. Deep dive
  29. Skin in the game
  30. Reach out
  31. Touch base
  32. Play hardball
  33. Don’t reinvent the wheel
  34. Kept in the loop
  35. The bottom line
  36. Down the road
  37. I’ll loop you in
  38. Hit the nail on the head
  39. ASAP
  40. Team player

And we’d like to add a number 41: “Let’s unpack that” has been used far too frequently during the past year.


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