These are the buzzwords annoying your colleagues in 2018

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Susan Devaney
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Come on, let’s all think outside the box…

Since entering the workplace, we’ve all become accustomed to certain phrases and buzzwords repeatedly popping up in meetings or being slotted into emails.

While some common office sayings don’t bother us at all (case in point: let me check my diary); others leave us internally eye-rolling.

And we’re not alone. New research has identified the office phrases that have been irking people the most in 2018 – from “synergise” to “ecosystem”. So, is it time we collectively stopped using such sayings?

“The new generation of workers value direct communications,” advises Bradlee Allen, a product evangelist at Fuze (who conducted the research). “Phrases like ‘give 110 percent’ only cause confusion and create barriers between colleagues.

“We need to break away from jargon and move to more valuable conversations between workers.”

The 10 most annoying phrases (and what they mean):

1) Give 110%

Go above and beyond what is expected of you.

2) Blue sky thinking

Being open-minded and brainstorming without worrying about limits.

3) Low hanging fruit

Getting the easiest work out of the way first.

4) Synergise

To work together in order to be as effective as possible.

5) Outside the box

Coming up with fresh ideas.

6) Square the circle

Complete a task that seems impossible.

7) Ecosystem

A complex, interconnected network or working culture.

8) Atomise

To break something down into smaller pieces.

9) Bleeding edge

A new technology or technique that has some risk attached to it.

10) A lot of moving parts

A lot of things to manage. 

Shall we all give 110%?

It’s not the first time that research has confirmed our annoyance at such phrases being used in and around the office. Last year, job website Glassdoor surveyed 2,000 people to find out the jargon that we’re tired of hearing. From ‘punch a puppy’ to ‘thought shower’ and ‘we’re on a journey’, the site also found certain phrases bother us. 

And we have similar feelings toward emails, too. Earlier this year, a study by Adobe found which phrases most commonly used in work emails leave us feeling rather irritated. After surveying over 1,000 workers, some familiar phrases made the cut – like ‘not sure you saw my last email’ to ‘per my last email’ and ‘sorry for the double email’.

As we all try to ignore such office jargon, take a look at our tips for securing your dream job before the year’s up.

Images: Getty / Unsplash / Lead image design: Alessia Armenise


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Susan Devaney

Susan Devaney is a digital journalist for, writing about fashion, beauty, travel, feminism, and everything else in-between.

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