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Are you using too many office buzzwords?

Ever find your eyes rolling as a coworker interrupts your morning brew to say “let’s touch base”, usually on a subject that only requires an email? Or maybe you have to bite your tongue whenever you’re told to “think outside the box” in a brief or meeting? You’re not alone.

We surveyed the nation to discover just how irritating workers find the office jargon phenomenon filling up their inboxes daily. While a quarter (23%) admitted to using buzzwords daily, one in three (31%) find them an irritating part of the working day – count yourself lucky you don’t work with the 2% who confessed to using them every hour!

This bug-bearing anomaly may be unavoidable, but which phrases are the ones really getting the nation’s back up?

If you ever feel the need to remind someone how valuable teamwork is but don’t want to be uninvited to Friday drinks, refrain from the cliché “there’s no ‘I’ in ‘team’ as a third (32%) of Brits say this is the worst one to hear.

The likes of “110 percent” (15%), “I’ll just ping that over” (14%) and “no brainer” (13%) are also all top phrases annoying your colleagues on the day-to-day.

The top 15 most annoying buzzwords and phrases are:

  1. There’s no ‘I’ in ‘team’ (32%)
  2. Let’s touch base (24%)
  3. Thinking outside the box (21.3%)
  4. 110 percent (15%)
  5. I’ll just ping that over (14%)
  6. Let’s arrange a chemistry meeting (14%)
  7. No brainer (13%)
  8. Smashed it (13%)
  9. Close of play (13%)
  10. Game-changer (11%)
  11. Having bandwidth to take on more (11%)
  12. Win-win (11%)
  13. Run the numbers (11%)
  14. Play hardball (10%)
  15. It’s on my radar (10%)

Wanting to see just how much the most bothering buzzwords are used in offices, we also found the top 15 most common phrases used by workers. Results showed that four of the most annoying including “no brainer”, “thinking outside the box”, “smashed it” and “there’s no ‘i’ in ‘team’” are being used the most by UK workers.

The top 15 most common office buzzwords and phrases are:

  1. ASAP (50%)
  2. No brainer (42%)
  3. Thinking outside the box (41%)
  4. To be fair (38%)
  5. At the end of the day (37%)
  6. Win-win (35%)
  7. Catch up (32%)
  8. Give you a heads up (29%)
  9. I’ve got a lot on my plate (27%)
  10. Close of play (27%)
  11. Back to the drawing board (26%)
  12. Best practice (25%)
  13. Hit the ground running (20)
  14. There’s no ‘I’ in team (19%)
  15. Smashed it (19%)

When it comes to why office workers insist on using language they find annoying, nearly one in five (18%) claim they do it without noticing, while one in 14 (7%) do it to make themselves appear more professional in the workplace.

It seems many are just faking it until they make it though, as a quarter (24%) of people admit to using phrases they don’t know the meaning of – annoying, right?

Not sure if you’re guilty of using too many buzzwords? Take our quiz below to see if you’re secretly annoying your coworkers with your office jargon, or if you actually are the perfect colleague :

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