Office Jargon – The 50 Phrases We Love to Hate in UK Offices

Girl boxing a guy for annoying London office phrases

Is anything more annoying than this? We’re all familiar with those awfully cliched office phrases that make you want to rip out your hair every time you hear one.

Well, Londonoffices asked workers which commonly used words and phrases from the office environment got on their nerves the most. We are excited to have our study published with Marginalia, Punchline MagazineDigital Strategy Consulting and more.

This is what we found.

Middle managers be warned, a new study has announced the 50 most annoying phrases heard in UK offices.

Phrases like ‘No ‘I’ in team’, ‘to ‘ping’ an email’ and ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’ are among the most irritating work related soundbites heard around the office.

‘Thinking outside the box, ‘ASAP’ and ‘win-win’ were among the most popular clichéd sayings to regularly appear.

Think outside the box - annoying London office phrases

Other pieces of office jargon that really grind an employee’s gears include ‘results driven’, ‘low hanging fruit’ and ‘streamline’.

One staff member who took part in the study said: “I’m the type of person who loathes the amount of jargon used around the office, but somehow I just can’t seem to get through the day without joining in.

“Often the amount of irritating jargon I use goes up during important presentations and meetings.  As soon as my mouth opens I just can’t seem to hold back on clichéd phrases, and I always find myself thinking about how much of an idiot I must sound like.”

Guy pulling a goofy face using London office jargon

A female manager added: “It’s always men that come up with these pointless sayings, you hardly ever hear a woman come up with these completely random pieces of jargon.”

“I overhear colleagues using some of these phrases because they think it makes them sound clever and important, but mostly they haven’t got a clue what they’re on about.”

A spokesperson for commented: “There’s so much overuse of clichéd jargon and management speak used around offices now that it’s almost beyond parody, ‘circle back’ is one which particularly yanks my chain.”

“If used sparingly these phrases can help articulate what you’re saying, but constant overuse can leave you sounding as though you’ve stolen your speech from David Brent.”

The top 50 in no particular order

  1. Blue-sky thinking
  2. Idea shower
  3. To ‘action’ a project
  4. Going forward
  5. Brainstorm
  6. Getting the ball rolling
  7. Drill down
  8. Out of the loop
  9. Thinking outside the box
  10. Touch base
  11. Singing from the same hymn-sheet
  12. Circle back
  13. Strategic fit
  14. Bottom line
  15. Low hanging fruit
  16. Win-win
  17. Play hardball
  18. Best practice
  19. On my radar
  20. Bench mark
  21. Value added
  22. To run an idea up the flagpole
  23. Results driven
  24. Revert
  25. Game-plan
  26. Hit the ground running
  27. Customer centric
  28. No ‘i’ in team
  29. Back to the drawing-board
  30. Re-inventing the wheel
  31. Dot the ‘i’s and cross the ‘t’s
  32. Action plan
  33. Bells and whistles
  34. Moving the goalposts
  35. Back of the net
  36. On the same page
  37. Open door policy
  38. To ‘ping’ an email
  39. To kick a project into the long grass
  40. Joined up thinking
  41. Pick up and run with it
  42. Streamline
  43. Close of play
  44. To take an idea or project ‘off piste’
  45. Level playing field
  46. Quick win
  47. In the driving seat
  48. No brainer
  49. To ‘park’ a project
  50. ASAP