POSTED: July 11 2018
The most annoying office jargon

The most annoying office jargon

A new survey reveals that the UK’s most annoying office buzzwords in 2018 are “touch base”, followed by “no brainer” and “punch a puppy”.

Glassdoor, online job and recruiter, has identified the words or phrases that most irritate UK employees. The most annoying and hated phrase for the second year running is ‘touch base’.


The UK’s most annoying office jargon in 2018:


1) Touch base (according to 24% of employees)

To meet or talk about a specific issue

2) No brainer (14%)

A decision is very easy or obvious

3) Punch a puppy (14%)

To do something horrible for the greater good

4) Game changer (11%)

A unique or disruptive product, idea or process that represents a significant shift in thinking

5) Pick it up and run with it (10%)

To continue a process that someone else has started

6) Mission statement (9%)

A guiding principle or objective for a business

=6) We’re on a journey (9%)

Bringing a team together in order to achieve a unified goal

=6) If you don’t like it get off the bus (9%)

Implying that a colleague should leave a company if they are unhappy

=6) Run this up the flagpole (9%)

Test the popularity of a new idea or proposal

=6) Lipstick on a pig (9%)

Trying to improve a bad product/idea with superficial changes

11) I want to leverage your synergies (8%)

To take steps to amplify situations when two complementary business ideas run in parallel

=12) Let’s reverse engineer (8%)

To disassemble an idea or process, breaking it down into its components

=12) Let’s get our ducks in a row (8%)

To align a team in preparation for a campaign or activity

In addition, the phrases “to agility and beyond”, “put a record on and see who dances”, “rubber meets the road” and “here are the general specifics” were picked by only six percent or less of employees questioned. The phrase “touch base” remains the most annoying office term for the second year in a row, after also topping the 2017 survey, however, new phrases this year include “lipstick on a pig” (#10), “I want to leverage your synergies” (#11) and “let’s reverse engineer (#12).

“Although it’s hard to avoid saying all of these phrases, employees should be aware of overusing jargon which can often be confusing and undermine your credibility,” said John Lamphiere, Glassdoor’s Managing Director, EMEA. “Every company and team will have its own culture, and although terms such as ‘low hanging fruit’ and ‘no brainer’ may seem pretty commonplace, they should be used sparingly to avoid putting off your colleagues. Keeping your language clear and specific will result in you and your teammates consistently delivering the very best work possible.”


Tips on how to be a success with your colleagues without using jargon

Be authentic and make an effort to learn about people. Being truly interested in someone is the best way to find out if you’ll be compatible and will help improve your working performance.

Work across teams when you get a chance. If projects are being worked on across the company, volunteer to participate which will give you an opportunity to work with new people and build better relationships.

Keep positive. Don’t be the office complainer or gossip. When possible, maintain a positive outlook in and around the office.

Offer to help out. If you see a colleague is struggling with something, or if they ask for help, make yourself available. Show that you are there for your coworkers.


Glassdoor survey methodology. The 2018 survey was conducted online in the UK by OnePoll on behalf of Glassdoor from 20/04/18 – 27/04/18 among 2,000 UK adults aged 18 and older.