‘New normal’ and other annoying workplace buzzwords


If you haven’t uttered them yourself, you’ve probably heard them spew from the mouths of co-workers or your boss. They are the most annoying business buzzwords for 2023.

So what’s the most fingernail-on-blackboard phrase for workers?

“New normal,” according to a survey conducted by Preply Business, a language learning platform that connects online tutors with businesses and teams. Preply collected responses from 1,551 Americans working in offices or remotely.

Joining new normal as most hated buzzwords were:


Circle back

Boots on the ground

Give 110%

Low-hanging fruit


Move the needle

Growth hacking

Think outside the box.

The survey asked workers how frequently they heard buzzwords in the workplace, the most popular jargon they heard, the phrases they disliked the most and red flag words in job descriptions.

Perhaps to be expected, some of the most frequently heard words also were the most annoying. Here are the 10 most used phrases:




Think outside the box

Moving forward/going forward

Circle back

It’s on my radar

On the same page

Bring to the table

New normal.

Those responding to Preply’s survey were 38 years old on average, with 54% men, 45% women and 1% identified as non-binary. So think millennials, using the Pew Research Center’s 2019 age groupings for generations.

“Our survey … revealed that 70% of respondents use business buzzwords despite more than 20% of people saying they dislike them,” said Preply’s Andreas Kyprianou in a statement. “It appears that business jargon is sometimes a necessary evil, with the majority of survey respondents admitting that (it) makes a person sound more professional.”

So what did workers consider to be the least dreadful buzzwords. Here’s that list:

At the end of the day


SMB (small and mid-size business)

Table this

B2C (business-to-consumer)

Blue sky thinking


Game changer

Teamwork/teambuilding/team players.

The survey group also offered up advice on words to watch out for in job descriptions, whether you’re job hunting and searching for your next “rockstar,” which tops the red flag ranking. Others include:

Wear many hats

Thick skin

Work hard, play hard

Schedule TBD

Urgently hiring


Hit the ground running

Fast-paced environment


Not surprisingly, workers liked job descriptions that gave them some control of their destiny or emphasized certain qualities, namely:




Lots of perks and benefits

Proven track record


Fun/amazing/unique company culture

Sense of humor


Competitive salary.

But you might have to throw all of those findings out the window if you’re surrounded in the office by Generation Z.

A separate survey by ResumeLab said 4 in 10 Gen Z workers would quit if they had to work too much overtime and nearly 8 in 10 would hang it up without having another job. Eight in 10 also describe themselves as job-hoppers.

Yet 85% of Gen Zers also said they believe they’re transforming workplaces for the better. And 97% consider work to be part of their identity.





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