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We are creatures of habit, be it in our actions or through our words. And when it comes to words, some common ones threaded together need to be eliminated from the workplace. Commonly used (and often overused) workplace phrases and jargon are not only annoying, but can become meaningless when incorporated into conversation after conversation.

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In fact, as per Independent, "A survey for Wonga.com found that office workers annoy their colleagues at least ten times a day with such phrases. A lot of office jargon seems to act as an intelligence amplifier. We feel that we sound brighter by using a jargon word instead of plain English. One way office jargon does this is by replacing plain, useful, straight-to-the-point-language with language that circumambulates the point."

If you aren't one of those to blame for keeping this practice going, then you've surely been on the receiving end, with an open ear that you wish was stuffed with a wad of cotton. Yet, we have become so accustomed to these phrases and jargon that it becomes something we expect to hear during work calls, meetings, and sales pitches, and read in emails and memos.

What gives? Can't we come up with something new to say? We don't use these phrases and jargon in other areas of our lives, so why are they expected and accepted at work? Before becoming the next person to jump on the irritating conversation-crushing bandwagon, take note of these common workplace phrases and jargon and vow never to utter the words again. You'll not only get your point across with more meaning since most of us have become numb to the sound of these, but co-workers, colleagues, bosses, clients, and staff will appreciate your flair for commanding the English language with a new way of communicating effectively and productively.

"Move the Needle"

You've surely heard this one before, if not once, then many times, as "move the needle" is a workplace favorite. And while the concept – "generate a reaction," as described by Microsoft – is an important one, why not more directly say, "generate a reaction?"

"Generate" is more powerful than "move," and in 99 out of 100 cases, there is no physical "needle" to refer to when it comes to assessing change.

How about saying, "Let's positively impact or move a project forward," as Cheesy Corporate Lingo writes. The direct and confident nature of such a statement will encourage the team to get to work and make change that is noteworthy and valuable.

So, let's move "move the needle" to the annoying workplace phrases graveyard.

"Thanks in Advance"

"Thanks in advance" is most commonly used in an email situation, but it is wildly overused and must no longer be the closer of an otherwise well-composed correspondence. Essentially, you are assuming that the person you are asking something of will automatically be on board to assist or comply. It is presumptuous and probably not what you intend to convey in the first place, which is thanks for reading my email and considering my proposition.

Academic Workflows on a Mac notes, "I find this trend bordering on offensive. When you ask someone to do something over email by the time they read to the end of the email they have neither done what you have asked nor have agreed. Another problem with this phrase is it implies that your obligation to say thank you is done and you don't need to express gratitude after the person actually does what you have asked them to do." They suggest swapping "thanks in advance" for a more fitting phrase such as,

  • "I really appreciate any help you can provide.
  • I will be grateful if you can send me this information.
  • Many thanks for considering my request.
  • In the meantime, thank you so much for your attention and participation."

So, thanks in advance for cutting this phrase out of your workplace lingo.

"Let's Touch Base"

According to Intelligent Instinct, "'Let's touch base' means roughly, 'Let's get together to review or gauge our current status'." Yet for some reason, saying "let's get together" isn't workplace-savvy enough to fit the bill.

Surely most people don't use this phrase at home – "Johnny, let's touch base after you do the dishes," or "After our Mommy and Me class, let's touch base at the coffee shop and plan Katie's surprise party," so why must we do all this base-touching at the office? Most of us aren't ball players, so there's no reason to round any bases.

As per Hubspot, "A Glassdoor survey revealed roughly one in four employees think 'touch base' is the most annoying buzzword. So, if you often toss it around, you might be irritating your coworkers, prospects, and connections."

Hubspot offers some less-annoying "Let's touch base" alternatives that are far straightforward and simple:

  • I'll call you at (date and time)
  • Can we meet for (X minutes) sometime (this week, month, etc.)?
  • Let's meet again in a (day, week, month, etc.)
  • Let's share our progress…
  • Let's catch up…
  • Please call me…
  • Please send me an update/ I'll send you an update…

See, it's easy to "touch base" without having to strike out in your conversation.

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Some other doozies?...

  • "I Don't Have the Bandwidth" – "Something business people say to describe the resources needed to complete a task or project," as defined by Urban Dictionary.
  • "Where's the Value-Add?" – "Term used in service and retail industries, meaning to connect a service or additional product to a product at no immediate cost to the buyer. This cost is often included (read: hidden) in the base price, but is called out to make the customer feel as though they are getting more than they paid for," as per Urban Dictionary.
  • "Let's Circle Back" – "Connecting with folks on a business issue and letting things happen, then going back to them after a few days or after things evolve," as defined by Net Lingo.
  • "Think Outside the Box" - "To think imaginatively using new ideas instead of traditional or expected ideas," as per Cambridge Dictionary.

Reboot your workplace vocab and rid yourself of those phrases and jargon that are getting under everyone's skin. "To-the-point" is always better than "What's the point?"

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There’s an internet trend that says that everyone has three drinks: one for energy, one for hydration, and one for fun.


Hydration drinks are usually seltzer, a sports drink, or good old-fashioned water. Fun drinks can be anything from boba to kombucha to a refreshing fountain sprite. But the drink you choose for energy says the most about you. Are you a chill tea drinker? An alternative yerba mate devotee? A matcha-obsessed TikTok That Girl wannabe? A chaotic Red Bull chugger? Or are you a lover of the classics, a person after my own heart, who just loves a good cuppa joe?

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Over two years into the most momentous event in our lives the world has changed forever … Some of us have PTSD from being locked up at home, some are living like everything’s going to end tomorrow, and the rest of us are merely trying to get by. When the pandemic hit we entered a perpetual state of vulnerability, but now we’re supposed to return to normal and just get on with our lives.

What does that mean? Packed bars, concerts, and grocery shopping without a mask feel totally strange. We got used to having more rules over our everyday life, considering if we really had to go out or keeping Zooming from our living rooms in threadbare pajama bottoms.

The work-from-home culture changed it all. Initially, companies were skeptical about letting employees work remotely, automatically assuming work output would fall and so would the quality. To the contrary, since March of 2020 productivity has risen by 47%, which says it all. Employees can work from home and still deliver results.

There are a number of reasons why everyone loves the work from home culture. We gained hours weekly that were wasted on public transport, people saved a ton of money, and could work from anywhere in the world. Then there were the obvious reasons like wearing sweats or loungewear all week long and having your pets close by. Come on, whose cat hasn’t done a tap dance on your keyboard in the middle of that All Hands Call!

Working from home grants the freedom to decorate your ‘office’ any way you want. But then people needed a change of environment. Companies began requesting their employees' RTO, thus generating the Hybrid Work Model — a blend of in-person and virtual work arrangements. Prior to 2020, about 20% of employees worked from home, but in the midst of the pandemic, it exploded to around 70%.

Although the number of people working from home increased and people enjoyed their flexibility, politicians started calling for a harder RTW policy. President Joe Biden urges us with, “It’s time for Americans to get back to work and fill our great downtowns again.”

While Boris Johnson said, “Mother Nature does not like working from home.'' It wasn’t surprising that politicians wanted people back at their desks due to the financial impact of working from the office. According to a report in the BBC, US workers spent between $2,000 - $5,000 each year on transport to work before the pandemic.

That’s where the problem lies. The majority of us stopped planning for public transport, takeaway coffee, and fresh work-appropriate outfits. We must reconsider these things now, and our wallets are paying

the price. Gas costs are at an all-time high, making public transport increase their fees; food and clothes are all on a steep incline. A simple iced latte from Dunkin’ went from $3.70 to $3.99 (which doesn’t seem like much but 2-3 coffees a day with the extra flavors and shots add up to a lot), while sandwiches soared by 14% and salads by 11%.

This contributes to the pressure employees feel about heading into the office. Remote work may have begun as a safety measure, but it’s now a savings measure for employees around the world.

Bloomberg are offering its US staff a $75 daily commuting stipend that they can spend however they want. And other companies are doing the best they can. This still lends credence to ‘the great resignation.’ Initially starting with the retail, food service, and hospitality sectors which were hard hit during the pandemic, it has since spread to other industries. By September 2021, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 4.4 million resignations.

That’s where the most critical question lies…work from home, work from the office or stick to this new hybrid world culture?

Borris Johnson thinks, “We need to get back into the habit of getting into the office.” Because his experience of working from home “is you spend an awful lot of time making another cup of coffee and then, you know, getting up, walking very slowly to the fridge, hacking off a small piece of cheese, then walking very slowly back to your laptop and then forgetting what it was you’re doing.”

While New York City Mayor Eric Adams says you “can't stay home in your pajamas all day."

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We’ve seen companies make this work in many ways, through virtual lunches, breakout rooms, paint and prosecco parties, and — the most popular — trivia nights.

As much as we strive for normalcy, the last two years cannot simply be erased. So instead of wiping out this era, it's time to embrace the change and find the right world culture for you.

What would get you into the office? Free lunch? A gym membership? Permission to hang out with your dog? Some employers are trying just that.

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