Top 10 office slang words for 2023 revealed

Gen Z has arrived at the workplace - and they’re bringing a whole host of slang words and phrases for older colleagues to decipher.

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Written and reviewed by:
Helena Young

Remember when modern slang used to mean words like ‘newbie’, ‘peeps’, ‘sweet’? Well, move over millennials. Generation Z, the group born post-1996, is introducing a whole new lexicon to today’s workspaces.

According to new research from the careers website,, ‘goals’ or ‘work goals’ will be the most popular phrases used in workplace chat this year. 19% of workers surveyed said they were already using the term ‘goals’ in meetings and catch-ups.

Rather than objectives or KPIs, the expression instead refers to work aspirations, as the so-called ‘Great Resignation’ sees many people upping and leaving for a career change. As evidence, Reed found there has been a 22% increase year-on-year in job applications.

Also making their way into corporate dictionaries this year are the phrases ‘feeling it’, ‘vibe’ and ‘its giving’.

Feel old yet? Here’s a rundown of the latest lingo that staff members will be using in 2023 – including definitions:

Top 10 business-slang phrases for 2023:

  1. Goals – 19%. Something that is desirable (applicable in any context)
  2. Feeling it – 13% To agree with something positively
  3. Vibe – 12% To describe your feeling about a thing or situation, good or bad
  4. Basic – 11% To say something is unoriginal, uninteresting, or characterless
  5. Hits different – 10% To describe a special or unique example of something
  6. It’s giving – 10% Used by itself as a positive affirmation, similar to ‘feeling it’
  7. Extra – 10% To describe something as over the top or dramatic 
  8. Iconic – 7% To say that something or someone is amazing
  9. Sleep on – 7% To refer to something not getting the attention it deserves
  10. Manifest – 6% def. To make a goal come true by mentally visualising it

Younger workers are breaking the rules of ‘business speak’

Based on Reed’s survey, almost a third of company employees in the UK say they are increasingly finding themselves using slang words and phrases within the workplace.

Age differences are a clear influencer when it comes to company slang use. We’ve written previously on how Gen Z and younger staff members are changing the way that staff members express themselves in the workplace.

They’re already ushering in a new, informal dress code. Now, it seems there’s a whole new language for managers to translate, as 19% of 18-34 year olds say they use colloquial terms from social media to feel more like themselves when at work.

Reed uncovered that our work colleagues are the most influential when it comes to picking up new words or phrases, with 34% of people saying their coworkers have the biggest impact on their language choices.

Lifting the language barrier

While they might seem like harmless fun, there is a danger that social media jargon could make it tricky for workers from different generations to collaborate with, and understand, each other.

Nurturing an organisational culture where all staff members feel comfortable can be a tricky task for businesses working to such a sizable generational gap. 26% of workers aged 35–44-years old admit to using modern slang to fit in with their colleagues.

Complex acronyms and other forms of business speak can be equally confusing for people who aren’t ‘clued-in’ to terms that might seem obvious to those in the know.

Slang should be tolerated for informal office scenarios. However, being clear and effective in formal communication, such as meetings or presentations, will keep staff on the same page.

This is a surefire way to nurture an engaged workforce where everyone is aiming for the same, shared ‘work goals’.

Managing Director at Reed, Simon Wingate, says: “When people use shared language at work it’s about making them feel closer to their colleagues. We know that people love their job when their colleagues are more like friends.”

Written by:
Helena Young
Helena is Lead Writer at Startups. As resident people and premises expert, she's an authority on topics such as business energy, office and coworking spaces, and project management software. With a background in PR and marketing, Helena also manages the Startups 100 Index and is passionate about giving early-stage startups a platform to boost their brands. From interviewing Wetherspoon's boss Tim Martin to spotting data-led working from home trends, her insight has been featured by major trade publications including the ICAEW, and news outlets like the BBC, ITV News, Daily Express, and HuffPost UK.

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