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The Business Phrase Most Workers Say They Can't Stand

But relief may come thanks in part to evolving uses of technology in the office.


It may be time to cut back on those business cliches -- 47 percent of participants of a recent survey said the phrase “think outside the box” was overused in their office. Eighteen percent pointed to the world “synergy” and another 18 percent said “bandwidth” were the words they heard all too often.


However, you may get some relief from these cliches, because pretty soon, you and your co-workers very well could be working remotely. Already, on average, most employees work remotely at least one day per week, and if they’re not now, they are expecting to in the future. With the help of advanced video conferencing tools, 53 percent think that half of the workforce will be remote in the future.

Related: 10 Words You're Probably Using Wrong -- and What to Say Instead

The 2017-2018 State of Work report by software company Workfront surveyed more than 2,000 workers in the U.S. to understand how workers feel about their jobs today and in the future -- from email to remote work to automation.

The survey also dug into productivity killers. Most of us can agree that 30-minute meetings that turn into indecisive hour-long conversations are no fun. Without them, we’d have much more time to focus on other job-related tasks. Overall, 57 percent of workers said that wasteful meetings were one of the largest factors cutting into their workday.

Related Video: How to Master the Art of Productivity

The next biggest time killer is lengthy emails. While most survey participants unsurprisingly said that lengthy emails and messages that could be discussed in-person are some of their biggest frustrations, one-third of U.S. workers said they think email in general is a problem. Sixty percent of participants admitted that the time they spend on email could be used do something more productive. Of course, that could be because people are working hard to keep their emails at inbox zero. At the time of this study, nearly half of all workers said they have zero emails currently unopened or unread in their email.

Related: A Quick Guide to Email Etiquette (Infographic)

Overall, people also think that tech will free up their time so they can be more productive -- 69 percent think automation will give them more time to do their primary job duties. While there's talk of fear over a robot revolution, it turns out most of the survey participants weren’t actually worried. In fact, 86 percent said they are excited and 81 percent said they are prepared for the future of the workplace.

Rose Leadem

Written By

Rose Leadem is a freelance writer for