While workplace jargon can help streamline processes and create a bond between colleagues, Americans are tired of hearing certain corporate buzzwords, including "circle back," "work hard, play hard," "boots on the ground," and more, according to a survey from Preply.
On average, Americans spend roughly one-third of their waking hours working, which amounts to more time than they spend sleeping or spending time with family and friends. With so much time spent in the workplace, it is not surprising that workplaces often develop their own languages.
While jargon can help workplaces function more effectively, it can also get on people's nerves.
To gauge Americans' attitudes about corporate jargon, Preply surveyed 1,002 in-person and remote workers across all 50 states on Nov. 30, 2022. Overall, respondents ranged from 18 years old to 76 years old, 49% were female, 48% were male, and 3% were non-binary.
According to the survey, the 10 most common corporate buzzwords are:
2. At the end of the day
4. Touch base
5. Think outside the box
6. On the same page
7. Keep me in the loop
8. Circle back
9. Work hard, play hard
Roughly one-third of respondents reported using corporate jargon "a few times a week" (32%), 26% said they use it "multiple times a day," and just 14% said they only use jargon "a few times a month." Even though corporate jargon can be found in many settings, it most frequently appears in email (38%), in-person interactions (29%), and instant messages (24%).
Corporate jargon has even found its way into other parts of Americans' lives, with 58% of workers admitting to using buzzwords outside of the workplace. In particular, "FYI" is the most used buzzword, with 81% saying they use the phrase in other settings. Two-thirds of respondents said they use the expressions "at the end of the day" (65%), "win-win" (64%), and "touch base" (63%) outside of the workplace.
With more Gen Z workers entering the workplace, Preply highlighted the top corporate buzzwords younger employees are using this year, including:
2. No cap
5. Basic (tied)
5. Sus (tied)
9. Cancel (tied)
9. Fire (tied)
While many Americans regularly use corporate jargon both in the workplace and at home, these buzzwords often get on coworkers' nerves.
According to the survey, the 10 most annoying corporate buzzwords are:
1. Circle back
2. Work hard, play hard
3. Boots on the ground
4. Let's table this
6. Put a pin in it
7. Get ducks in a row
8. Low-hanging fruit
9. Reinvent the wheel
10. Throw it up and see what sticks
Meanwhile, the survey found that some corporate jargon does not bother workers, including phrases that describe collaboration. According to the survey, the 10 least annoying corporate buzzwords are:
4. Level set
5. Have in back pocket
6. Window of opportunity
7. Loop in
9. Take offline
10. On the same page
Preply also asked respondents which new buzzwords were the most annoying in 2022. After hearing about the "new normal" since the pandemic began, 42% of respondents said the phrase was the most annoying new buzzword. The second most annoying phrase in 2022 according to 18% of respondents was "lean in," and "hop on a call" followed at 16%.
Americans are also annoyed by jargon found in job postings. According to the survey, 38% of respondents said the most annoying corporate phrase found in a job posting is "like a family."
Additionally, Americans do not like phrases that highlight the stress of a potential job, with respondents ranking "fast-paced environment" (37%), "hustle" (24%), and "work hard, play hard" (23%) among the most annoying expressions in job postings.
"As the youngest working generation comes on board, we should expect to see 'vibe' enter our office chats in 2023. As for retirement, we're all ready to say goodbye to phrases like 'circle back' and 'new normal' in the new year," Preply said. (Preply survey, accessed 3/13)
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