Cringe alert: 5 cliche phrases that should be banned from the office

We’ve all been there, you’re sitting in the office minding your own business, pretending to be busy and you overhear a conversation ‘we need to hit the ground running’ or, ‘we don’t want to miss our window of opportunity!’ You freeze up, shivers run down your spine, your head shrinks down into your neck and you wish you could fold yourself up and hide in your pocket. You’re sat there cringing in discontent. Why did they have to utter that phrase and be so cringe?!

Business jargon has become synonymous in offices around the globe, but what exactly is its purpose? Business Jargon is largely made up of idioms and other like for like phrases. These can be as simple as shortening phrases eg. ‘24/7’ or using a statement that one would need a PhD to decipher eg. ‘Punch a Puppy’. And what’s worse, it seems as if every person in the business sector knows this unwritten language of idioms and business jargon which makes it incredibly easy for outsiders to get lost in the conversation. One minute you’re talking statistics and customer growth, the next you are in the ‘drivers seat’ whilst ‘peeling an onion’ and doing some ‘blue sky thinking’.

Can we universally agree to stop using these words and phrases and instead just say what we actually mean… or at the very least, be a little less cringe?

‘Nice to see we’re singing from the same Hymn Sheet’ = Glad to know we’re all on the same page/talking about the same thing.

‘Touch Base’ = Check in at X, Y, or Z

Unfortunately it looks like these business idioms are here to stay, after all idioms become popular for a reason.


Here’s our top 5 of the most cringe worthy phrases that the fivesquid team unanimously vote need to be binned:  


  1. Bandwidth: ‘I don’t have the time to deal with this right now’. Unless you are actually talking about your internet connection this probably isn’t the word you are looking for.
  2. Back to the Drawing Board: ‘Our first idea wasn’t that great, so we need to do some more planning.’ Are you actually using a drawing board? Are you an architect or interior designer?
  3. Bang for your Buck: ‘Get more for your money’. This one speaks for itself really.
  4. Came up Short: ‘you didn’t do as well as you thought you would’ / ‘you failed’. There is no need to beat around the bush, just say that you failed learn from it and move on!
  5. Get Down to Business:  (to defeat the Hunn) ‘Stop making small talk and start talking business’. Basically you’re telling everyone to do his or her jobs.

Do you have any cringe worthy business phrases that you would like to see the back of? Drop us a line on our social channels, twitter or facebook, and let’s see how many of us are lined up? Are our ducks in a row?… sorry!