At a glance
Loud leaving, asynchronous working and desk bombing are among the corporate jargon we love to hate.
According to global thought leader Gabrielle Dolan, “We are drowning in a sea of corporate jargon”.
Dolan, who created the workplace movement Jargon Free Fridays and wrote Real Communication: How to be you and lead true, wrestles with some of the latest business buzzwords here.
1. “Asynchronous working”
Asynchronous working refers to working in a team that does not require all members to be online simultaneously. Many take “async work” to mean they are under no obligation to respond immediately to queries, meeting requests, instant messages or emails.
Rather, they can choose to answer a query any time within a reasonable timeframe. Dolan questions whether the term is necessary at all.
“Isn’t it just working?” she asks. “We should be saying we respect work/life balance and not unnecessarily complicating it.”
2. “Bare minimum Monday”
By now we have all heard about “quiet quitting” or doing the bare minimum to avoid getting fired. Its next iteration seems to be “Bare minimum Monday”, where workers ease into the working week and take pressure off themselves performing too hard on the very first day of the week.
Some have said that this reduces the work-related depression that sets in on a Sunday night. Dolan says, “We used to call this ‘slacking off’.”
3. “Desk bombing”
There used to be a time when we would all drop by each other’s desks, sometimes on work-related matters, other times just to catch up. In the post-pandemic world, showing up at someone’s desk for a conversation they are not prepared for has been dubbed “desk bombing”. It’s worth noting that it’s also possible to “desk bomb” someone remotely, using Zoom or Teams.
Even though it’s nothing new, the habit has certainly acquired a negative connotation, with various remedies suggested by experts, including scheduling social time or clearly signalling lack of availability with the use of headphones or online status.
4. “Career cushioning”
In the shadow of a global recession, upskilling to prepare for an economic downturn is increasingly popular. Dubbed “career cushioning”, it often involves keeping one eye on the job market in the event of sudden unemployment.
This used to be called “being strategic”, says Dolan, and no matter what word you use to describe it, it remains a smart idea.
5. “Boomerang employees”
Sometimes, quitting a job is a wonderful career move. Other times, it is a terrible mistake, only recognised in retrospect. A boomerang employee is someone who leaves a company, only to return at some point to work for that same company again.
In the aftermath of the Great Resignation, large enough numbers of employees reconsidered their choices that the term “boomerang employee” entered the vernacular. Boomerangs aside, it is always a good idea not to burn bridges when changing jobs, should you want to return to the same company in future.
6. “Loud leaving”
With so many people getting the job done in their living rooms and on their kitchen benches, work has started to creep into more aspects of our lives. To help staff set clear boundaries between work time and off time, many managers lead by example, clearly signalling they are leaving work for the day, whether by announcing they are going to make dinner, go for a jog or pick up the kids.
“A boss does need to role model workplace-friendly behaviour to give permission to everyone else, so ‘loud leaving’ is a good thing,” Dolan says.
7. “Productivity paranoia”
Some managers have difficulty trusting their staff when they can’t see them working. A 2022 study by Microsoft found that only 12 per cent of leaders have full confidence that their hybrid team is productive, despite 87 per cent reporting that they themselves are productive in a hybrid environment. Microsoft subsequently called for an end to this “productivity paranoia”.
“Numerous studies have shown that most people are more productive working from home, possibly because they are not getting ‘desk bombed!’,” Dolan says.
“What does productivity look like anyway? It’s not constantly working. I am sometimes the most productive and creative while going for a run during the day.”