What are the top workplace jargons?

Survey finds many workers feel disadvantaged if they don't know the lingo

What are the top workplace jargons?

Despite the widespread use of workplace jargons, a new report has found that employees across the world have had enough of them and want them gone due to several disadvantages.

A new study by Duolingo and LinkedIn found that workplace jargons are commonly used, with 58% of over 8,000 respondents admitting that they may have been using it too much.

Per nation, the most common office jargon is:

  • US – “Ducks in a row”
  • UK – “Moving forwards”
  • Australia – “Good to go”
  • India – “B2C” (Business to customer)
  • Brazil – “Feedback”
  • Colombia – “ASAP”
  • Japan – “エビデンス”(“Evidence”), note that the Japanese characters make the sounds of the English word
  • Vietnam – “FYI”

Jargons in the English language emerged as the most common buzzwords even in workplaces that don't have English as an official language. The report blamed this on globalisation.

"This could be due to both the globalisation of business and younger generations of workers bringing those buzzwords to their workplaces, even if there is no direct translation of an English jargon phrase into their country's language," the report said.

According to the report, which sought responses from eight markets, Indian employees use office jargon the most (78%). They are followed by:

  • Vietnam (76%)
  • Colombia (67%)
  • Brazil (66%)
  • United Kingdom (52%)
  • United States (44%)
  • Japan (40%)
  • Australia (38%)

Cut back on jargons

Despite the widespread use of jargons, it turns out that nearly half of the respondents (46%) want to eliminate or reduce their use in the office.

Among the markets surveyed, many from India (70%), Vietnam (58%), and the United States (56%) strongly agreed that workplace jargons should be eliminated or reduced.

The report found various disadvantages on using office idioms, which 60% of respondents said they had to learn on their own.

Still, many office jargons remain a mystery to them, including:

  • “Boiling in the ocean” (For US workers)
  • “Blue sky thinking” (UK)
  • “Boiling the ocean” (Australia)
  • “Keep me in the loop” (India)
  • “Feedback” (Brazil)
  • “By EOD” (Colombia)
  • “バジェット” (budget) [Japan]
  • “FYI” (Vietnam)

Disadvantages of corporate speak

But figuring out corporate speak can also be troubling, as many respondents said it caused them stress, slowed down their productivity, and left them out of the conversation.

According to the report, 57% said misunderstanding jargon often wastes time each month, while 40% reported they made a mistake as a result of not knowing the jargon.

The use of office jargon can also "create exclusionary environments at work," with 49% feeling like colleagues are speaking a language they don't understand when they use office jargon.

"Overuse of jargon at work can also create unequal opportunities for advancement," the report said.

According to the findings, 64% of the respondents said colleagues who understand workplace jargon are more likely to get ahead at work, including promotions and raises.

The use of jargons has been described in previous reports as a "double-edged sword," and their usage in the workplace should be limited to when everyone's aware of what they mean.

"Unless you are positive everyone understands the jargon term you are using, you are potentially confusing them, annoying them or losing their trust," said Kevin Obern, Managing Director of OfficeMax New Zealand.

Andrew McCaskill, LinkedIn career expert, also advised employees to be mindful and keep it simple.

"Remember, jargon isn't equally understood by everyone. While every workplace has its unique culture and terminology, do your best to keep language simple," McCaskill said.


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