Get your ducks in a row with our work place jargon buster


It’s your first week in a new job, and you suddenly start to hear work jargon you don’t quite understand. We’ve taken a look at some of the most popular phrases you’ll hear in the workplace and importantly what they mean. 

So pull up a chair, sit back and get ready to hit the ground running… 

Touch base

No, you’re not physically touching something, just catching up with your team. You’ll likely hear this from managers wanting to update you on a project in an informal way (usually involving coffee). 

“Hey, let’s touch base next week, I’d love to hear your ideas for the new client!” 

Deep dive    

So, your boss has asked you to deep dive into a project, but what do you do next? Put those swimming goggles DOWN, deep dive means thoroughly examining a project in a lot of detail and immersing yourself in the assignment. 

“I’ve carried out a deep dive of your website and found a number of ways you can improve the site!” 

Hit the ground running 

You’ve been drafted onto a big project, and been told to hit the ground running. If you’re starting to feel out of breath at the thought, don’t panic; what it means is to perform well from the start and start cracking on with your part of the workload straight away. 

We’re thrilled to have you as part of the team Helen, we really need your expertise on this, so it’s important that you hit the ground running” 

Annual leave

“Where’s Ali?” 

“Oh, he’s on annual leave.” 

You might be scratching your head but no, Ali isn’t away for a year. Simply put, Ali’s on holiday. You’ll be very familiar with this term throughout your career, as who doesn’t love to book ‘annual leave’.

Close of play

The latest way to say the end of the day in the workplace. You’ll likely hear it when you request something from another employee. With a typical response being“it’ll be with you by close of play.” Extra points if you can decipher the acronym EOP (usually found in emails) which translates as ‘End of Play’! 

Out of the loop

You weren’t cc’d in the last email, so you’re a little bit out of the loop. It just means you’re not quite sure what has gone on or haven’t received the appropriate information. 

“Can you share the minutes from the last meeting with me please? I’m a little out of the loop!” 

Going forward

Business jargon at its finest – going forward is a stable of office terminology. It’s relatively useless in a sense it doesn’t add much to a sentence, and is just a fancy way of saying “in the future” 

“Going forward, you should focus on keeping your worksheet up-to-date.”

Can I pick your brain for a second? 

Not literally... picking your brain is probing for answers or getting your opinion on something. A colleague might ask you this if they would like a second opinion or they would value your thoughts on a situation. It doesn’t hurt half as much as it sounds. 

“I’m really struggling to decide between these two designs, can I pick your brains for a second?”

Get your ducks in a row 

A particularly quackers one; this means to get organised, get your act together and make sure you have everything in order. 

“This fundraising pitch is worth a lot of money to the company, make you have all your ducks in a row before the presentation”


A gentle reminder, a slight nudge – a little ‘heads-up’. Whether the boss is in town or the local post office is closing early, it’s always a warning on a particular matter. 

“Heads up, Dave’s back in the office early and he looks like he hasn’t had his coffee yet” 

Get the ball rolling

Move fast, move quick and the get the ball rolling. It might be the first project you’re leading on, or generating a new conversation with a prospective customer. If someone asks you to get the ball rolling, you should be ready to kick-start proceedings yourself! 

“There’s a really fast turnaround on getting these products out, so we need to get the ball rolling” 

You might have heard of a few of these nuggets before, but we hope you’ve found a few new ones. From ‘Blue Sky Thinking’ to ‘’washing its own face’ and ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’ the list goes on and on.

Follow us on social media for all the latest news on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.