These are THE most annoying buzzwords used in the office

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Megan Murray
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“Hey, can I grab you to Touch Base? The team are doing some Thought Showering and wanted to Flag Pole something to you...”

If you haven’t already left this article because you’ve just suffered a case of office jargon dé jà vu , thank you for staying with us.

Everyone knows these office buzzwords are irritating, but now we have actual proof that we’re all experiencing the same shudder when our boss asks us for some more “blue-sky thinking”.

Sky News reports that job website Glassdoor has surveyed 2,000 employees in a bid to expose the most annoying office jargon – and, yes, ‘Punch A Puppy’ and ‘Thought Shower’ both make an appearance on the list.

There’s a chance that this could start a full-scale rebellion to take back our dialect and begin communicating in sense-making sentences. In the meantime, though, you may as well give yourself a well-earned break from that report and see if the buzzwords used in your office are listed below…

Touch Base 24%

Apparently touching base is the UK’s most hated office buzzword. The term is used to describe meeting IRL to actually speak about a work-related issue instead of emailing. Sounds totally out-there, we know.  

Blue Sky Thinking 21%

Coming in at second place is this wacky little phrase which encourages you to leave those over-used ideas behind and embrace sky’s the limit thinking – let’s get creative people!

We’re On a Journey 13%

Possibly one of the most patronising phrases on the list, this term is used when your manager is trying to break it to you that your team has not achieved what you need to yet, but not to worry, because “we’re on a journey” and we’ll get there.

Game Changer 13%

Hold on to your hats – this punchy expression signifies that something has just changed dramatically and your workflow will need to accommodate that accordingly.

No-brainer 13%

This one is kind of a no-brainer in itself, and is a quick way of signalling when something or a decision is so blindingly obvious it, you know, doesn’t require your brain.

Thought Shower 11%

If you get invited to shower some thoughts you’re in for a treat. This idiom occurs at the early stages of project when ideas are being shared and explored.

Run It Up The Flagpole 11%

When testing the reaction of your team to a new idea you might ‘run it up the flagpole’ to give everyone a preview and gauge the response.

If You Don’t Like It Get Off The Bus 10%

This is the office equivalent of “Do one”, and if it gets said in a meeting you just KNOW everyone’s thinking BUURRRRNNNNN.

Mission Statement 10%

 Pretty standard for office speak, this expression references the company’s values and goals.

Pick It Up And Run With It 10%

You might be thinking, “Pick up what? Run where?! I hate running!” Well, no need for alarm, this idiom simply means taking on someone else’s half-finished work and getting on with it, which is to be fair, also annoying.

Punch A Puppy 9%

Frankly, we’re surprised this phrase isn’t first on list for its animal cruelty semantics. In the workplace however, thankfully no puppies are actually hurt and punching a puppy means to do something horrible for the long-term good of the company.

Let’s Get Our Ducks In A Row 9%

Commonly used in PR environments, this would describe finalising objectives, clients and priorities ready for an event.

If you fancy proving that you have top office banter, we recommend sending this list to your team buddies and start up a game of ‘Office Jargon Bingo’ together.

Just be careful not to send it to Mike in Finance though, because he genuinely loves flag polling and this probably won’t go down well. At all.

Images: iStock / 20th Century Fox


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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a senior digital writer for, who enjoys writing about homeware (particularly candles), travel, food trends, restaurants and all the wonderful things London has to offer.