‘Touch Base’ and ‘No Brainer: The office jargon that your employees probably hate

Anyone who has seen Ricky Gervais in the Office knows that sometimes, phrases used widely in the office can make workmates cringe.

Whether you refer to them corporate speak, office lingo or the latest buzzwords, we’ve all heard them and some people find them overwhelmingly irritating – and most people who work in an office has at least one or two phrases that make you want to punch the water cooler and throw the office fruit bowl right out of the window.

From ‘reaching out’ to ‘circling back’, a new piece of research from Premier Inn has revealed 33 workplace buzzwords that annoy UK office workers and consumers more than anything else.

‘Touch base’ and ‘no-brainer’ were the most loathed expressions, with ‘outside the box’ and ‘go the extra mile’ following closely behind, with almost one in five people in the UK saying they can’t stand these four phrases.

 The top 10 most loathed corporate expressions are:


Rank Expression Percentage Alternative expression(s)
=1 Touch base 17.26% “Let’s make contact” or “Check-in with each other”
=1 No-brainer 17.26% “Obvious decision” or “Easily made decision”
3 Outside the box 17.06% “Think creatively” or “Think in an unconventional way”
4 Go the extra mile 16.66% “To do more than is expected of you”
5 Blue sky thinking 15.56% “No limits”
6 Game changer 13.92% “Significant shift in the current way of doing/thinking”
7 Brainstorm 13.47% “Group discussion to produce ideas/solve problems”
8 Ping an email 13.02% “Send you an email”
9 E-meet you 12.47% “Great to be introduced”
10 Thought shower 12.37% “Group discussion to produce ideas/solve problems”


Other notorious sayings that irk the nation include ’paradigm shift’, ’off piste’, ‘ideation’, ‘reach out’, ‘actionable’ and ‘move the needle’.

To see the full list of all 33 expressions, as well as information on where, why and how these expressions came to be, visit https://www.premierinn.com/gb/en/news/2020/business-jargon.html

What’s more – it’s not just us Brits who appear to have an obsession with weird and wonderful workplace jargon. Here are five of the most bizarre examples of business buzzwords from around the world and what they actually mean in their local language:

  • Now it’s about the sausage! (Jetzt’s geht’s um die Wurst! – origin Germany) – means ‘the final stages of a project’
  • Sliding in on a shrimp sandwich (Glida in på en räkmacka – origin Sweden) – means ‘to have things easy’
  • What does gingerbread have to do with a windmill? (Co ma piernik do wiatraka? – origin Poland) – means ‘what does one task have to do with another?’
  • He cooked the fish on his lips (έψαχνε ένα ψάρι στα χείλη του / épsachne éna psári sta cheíli tou – origin Greece – means ‘he made his life difficult’
  • Nine cows, one hair (Jiu Niu Yi Mao – origin China) – means ‘a drop in the ocean’

A Premier Inn spokesperson said:

“Unlike corporate jargon, which often makes things more confusing, at Premier Inn we aim to make it easier for you to do business.

“Our free WiFi, hearty breakfasts, spacious rooms, luxury king-size Hypnos beds and 40” flat screen TVs provide the perfect place to relax before or after a hard day. And with some of the best placed meeting rooms in the country that offer convenience and comfort – doing business at Premier Inn really is a ‘no-brainer’.”