Most hated office jargon revealed: Blue-sky thinking, low-hanging fruit and more

·Lifestyle Writer, Yahoo Life UK
·4-min read
Colleagues speaking with office jargon at work. (Getty Images)
Do you understand the office jargon in your workplace? (Getty Images)

Are you guilty of using office jargon? If so, you might want to think again...

A new nationwide study has revealed the most hated business jargon phrases, with the majority of office workers believing some use it as a cover-up for the fact they don't know what they're talking about.

The most hated phrase in the workplace is 'blue-sky thinking' (used to describe coming up with fresh ideas), with 27% of respondents saying they simply can't stand it, according to research commissioned by Enreach.

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Colleagues in a meeting at work. (Getty Images)
Hate the phrase 'blue-sky thinking' at work? You're not alone. (Getty Images)

'Think outside the box' follows closely at 26%, then 'low hanging fruit' (the most obvious or easy thing that can be done) and 'touch base' is third joint third place at 23%, the study of 1,500 UK- based office workers found.

Next on the list was 'stay ahead of the curve' and 'ducks in a row', both at 20%, followed by 'there's plenty of ways to skin a rabbit' at 18%.

'Throwing a curveball' (17%), 'game changer' (17%), 'moving the goalposts' (16%), 'bring to the table' (16%), 'ballpark figure' (16%), 'riding the wave' (15%) and 'drill down' (14%) followed as the next big annoyances.

Other phrases that wind Brits up include 'synergy', 'taking a deep dive' and 'close of play'. Any on the list springing to mind that you or your colleagues use?

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Man sending an email at work. (Getty Images)
Might be wise to re-think what languange you use in your next email... (Getty Images)

With this in mind, it's not surprising that almost half of office workers (47%) admit business jargon is the most annoying thing ever.

As many as 90% of workers believe some people use fancy business talk and phrases to try and cover up the fact they have no idea what they're doing.

A further 46% of workers say colleagues who use jargon come across as if they're trying hard to impress, while 43% just find them unbearably irritating.

It seems language could also prevent business from getting the hires they want. More than a fifth (21%) said they would actively run a mile if they went to a job interview and their potential employer repeatedly used business jargon.

Woman getting annoyed with office jargon. (Getty Images)
Many office workers are tired of not understanding flashy office phrases. (Getty Images)

In what might be relatable to many, 44% said if they had a pound for every time their boss used office jargon, they would be a millionaire by now.

However, despite being repelled by the lingo, almost two thirds (64%) admit they find themselves sometimes using the hated jargon, with one in 10 saying they can't help but do it constantly.

Duncan Ward, CEO at Enreach, said, "At a time when we still may not be face-to-face with our colleagues, simple clear communication is one of the most important things we all need. Jargon phrases are clogging up valuable time with vague ideas, when people actually need to be making the most of their work hours to maintain a proper work-life balance."

Read more: Let's hop on a call, going forward: The most annoying office jargon of 2021

Man working from home. (Getty Images)
With more us working from home, clear communication is essential. (Getty Images)

Affecting work quality, three in ten employees (31%) can't understand what their boss is talking about due to the constant use of business jargon, with a quarter admitting they've been completely baffled by work documents full of these random terms.

Interestingly, the data also found that just under a fifth (19%) of the office workers polled confess they have a 'work personality' that's completely different to who they are outside of work. More than a third (35%) even admit the way they talk at work could be considered cringeworthy. David Brent would be so proud.

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