We spend around one-third of our waking hours at work — that’s often more time than we spend asleep or hanging out with our family and friends. So, it’s no wonder that workplaces tend to develop their own languages. Workplace jargon can help streamline our jobs and bond us to our colleagues, but sometimes it just gets on our nerves. So which buzzwords can we expect to hear in 2023 and what is the most annoying corporate phrase we hope to never hear again? 

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To find out, we surveyed 1,002 people and asked them about their perceptions of office buzzwords. 

Key Findings

“Vibe” was voted the most annoying word Gen Z brings to the office, and “circle back” is the phrase we all want to eliminate. 

Slightly more than 1 in 4 people report hearing corporate buzzwords multiple times a day.

The corporate jargon people find most annoying in a job posting is “like a family.”

How do Americans feel about corporate jargon?

While not everyone loves corporate jargon, it seems to have found a home outside the office. In fact, a majority (58%) of Americans admit to using buzzwords in their private life at least sometimes. Whether it’s business idioms or popular slang, buzzwords make their way into all parts of our lives.

“FYI” is the one term people say above all others, with a whopping 81% using it at home. Around 2 in 3 people use the expressions “at the end of the day” (65%), win-win (64%), and “touch base” (63%) when not at work. 

Buzzwords can Which buzzwords do people leave behind at the office? Only 11% of people use “on my radar” in their personal lives, and 10% say “ducks in a row.” A paltry 8% admit to using the expression “deep dive” on their own time.

While buzzwords can show up in all sorts of communication, they most often appear in an email (38%), in person (29%), and in instant messages (24%).  

While buzzwords can show up in all sorts of communication, they most often appear in an email (38%), in person (29%), and in instant messages (24%). 

The most and least annoying corporate jargon

Buzzwords can If you want to discuss something later, just say so directly – unless you want to get on your coworkers’ nerves. On our list of most annoying corporate jargon, “circle back” took the #1 spot, “let’s table this” took 4th, and “put a pin in it” took 6th. For a complete look, check out the top ten list of most annoying buzzwords

1. Circle back

2. Work hard, play hard

3. Boots on the ground 

4. Let’s table this

5. Synergy

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

To see where your favorite phrases land, take a look at our top 10 list of least annoying buzzwords:

Fortunately, some corporate buzzwords don’t seem to bother us at all. “Sync” (#1) came in as the least annoying workplace jargon, and terms that describe people working together also appear to be universally approved. 

1. Sync

2. Pushback

3. Pipeline

4. Level set

5. Have in back pocket

6. Window of opportunity 

7. Loop in 

8. Align

9. Take offline

10. On the same page