‘Thinking Outside The Box’ – And The Other Office Pet Peeves That Drive Us Mad

  • Marie Claire is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.
  • 'I just wanted to touch base'

    Ever been driven to anger because your colleague said they had ‘a lot on their plate’? Ever been enraged when someone told you they wanted to ‘touch base’? Ever had to bite your tongue after someone told you to ‘think outside the box’? Then you’ll be intrigued to read a survey of 1,000 people, determining their office pet peeves – and what we should avoid saying at all costs.

    The study, commissioned by Igloo Software, found that while people are evenly divided on whether they consider meetings to be productive or a waste of time, nearly half of people found the phrase ‘think outside the box’ incredibly irritating.

    43% found ‘a lot on my plate’ to be irksome, while ‘touch base’, ‘bring to the table’ and ‘synergy’ were voted to be the next most annoying phrases.

    ‘Rockstar’ was another phrase which got people’s backs up, while ‘going forward’, ‘win-win’ and ‘paradigm shift’ were also considered to be irksome.

    And it wasn’t only buzzwords that workers found irritating – 76% were also angered by having to attend meetings that weren’t necessary, 59% by meetings straying off topic, and 58% by people repeating things that had already been said.

    Source: giphy

    Just thinking outside the box, we reckon three of the worst offenders aren’t even on there: ‘closing the loop’, ‘end of play’ and ‘taking this offline’.

    The thought of any of those phrases just makes our blood boil.

    Reading now

    Popular Life stories