Office jargon blue sky thinking
Who’s for some blue-sky thinking? Image: Paisan Changhirun/Shutterstock

What is the worst office jargon you’ve ever heard?

18 Dec 2017

How many times have you been asked to think outside the box?

We’ve all heard the phrases that are bandied about in the office, but have you ever stopped to appreciate how truly awful this jargon really is?

There’s almost an art form to it – the art of finding some extremely roundabout way of saying a simple sentence or word.

People don’t need to ‘work hard’, they need to ‘give it 110pc’. The only minor problem there is that 110pc doesn’t actually exist.

But, over the years, office jargon seems to have taken it up a notch.

It’s almost like people are really trying to ‘think outside the box’ to come up with even more convoluted ways to say simple things and sound important.

I’ve rounded up a list of my favourite terrible pieces of jargon, both from my own experience and from those who opted to send it to me on Twitter.

‘Let’s circle back to that’

Often used in place of: ‘Can I get back to you on that?’ but instead, you’re left picturing office workers running around in an actual circle.

‘I’m going to reach out’

Let’s just take a step back for a second and think about how bizarre that actually sounds. Saying you’re going to email or call someone is just fine. In addition, ‘touch base’ is equally horrendous.

‘Let’s diarise that’

Apparently, this is rampant. Jargon has gone from using words already available to form nonsensical phrases, to making up new ones.

This is just one example, too. It seems many jargon addicts have a habit of turning nouns into verbs, such as ‘anniversarise’ (celebrate an anniversary).

Then there’s this example below, which doesn’t even make sense.

‘Temperature check’

Have you ever been told to take a ‘temperature check’ on someone you need to contact? Once again, there’s nothing wrong with saying you’re going to call someone.

‘Let’s take a bio break’

This is by far the worst and probably the most unique one I’ve heard, and I can’t explain it any better than the person who sent it in.

Honourable mentions

With so much glorious office jargon, I simply couldn’t give them all the same weight, and most others don’t need any further explanation. However, it doesn’t take away from any of these gems, so I felt they were worth a mention:

  • Going forward
  • There’s no ‘I’ in team
  • Ping me an email
  • Legacy perspective

Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the editor of Silicon Republic in 2023, having worked as the deputy editor since February 2020. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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