English Workplace Expressions You Can Use

Learning a language brings many benefits. Communication is key. People learn a new language for many different reasons, such as talking with family from abroad, for personal achievement, and, of course, for work opportunities. 

Its widely known that although starting from the start with a new difficult, it’s easy to plateau after a certain point with your language skills. We’re here to help you in the workplace and learn a few new phrases that will help you get from fluent conversational to native sounding in the workplace! 


Why it’s Important to Learn English Expressions

It’s obvious, but learning new expressions can help you build a rapport with your colleagues. You can join in with the jokes and humour around work, and express your point of view in meetings. These work relationships are vastly important when building your career. Gone are the days when hard work and skills were enough to succeed! 

Learning new phrases is also very important to succeed in your current position. Do you ever not understand something in a meeting and then feel behind in the rest of the conversation? Well, don’t worry we’ve got you covered! I bet that our list of workplace expressions will cover a lot of the words said in a meeting. 

Besides what English fluency can do for your career, it can also help you a lot personally. A sense of achievement is a powerful feeling. It will boost your confidence and help you grow as a person. You’ll be surprised that these expressions can actually come up in daily life too! 


Workplace Expressions to Use 

We have compiled 6 of the most common workplace expressions that we think will help to become more bilingual while working. Although these are work orientated, you’ll also be able to use them in your day-to-day life. Enjoy!

1. Multitasking 

This means doing more than one thing at the same time, or doing “multiple tasks” at once (hence where the word comes from). This is very common to hear in the workplace when it comes to things such as deadlines and customer service. Most jobs require a good multitasker (adjective variation of multitasking). Because it’s a great attribute to have, a lot of job seekers will put this on their CV/resume as a skill. Here are some examples of how you can use it: 

  • Sarah is good at multitasking because she can prepare for meetings while answering the phone. 
  • David is known to be a great multitasker handling many accounts at once! 

2. To Pull Strings

This is a little metaphor that originates from puppets. It means to be able to manipulate to get what you need or want. Puppet masters pull the strings of puppets and have them do dances. This is where the expression comes from. Puppet masters also hide themselves from the audience. This is relevant because pulling strings is also done in a secret way. This may sound a little mischievous, but it’s pretty common to pull strings in the workplace and is not as callous as it sounds. Here are some examples: 

  • Kevin pulled strings to be able to attend a meeting with the senior management. 
  • My boss asked me to pull some strings at my local shop to introduce our new products. 
  • Pulling strings is a vital part of my work as a wedding planner. I get a lot of deals! 


3. To Brainstorm

You’ll hear this one a lot in project management in any industry. It is a vital part of planning. To brainstorm is to sit with a group of your peers and think and talk about all the different possibilities of the project or different routes to go down for a certain issue. Yes, you got it, a storm of brains thinking up amazing ideas for the future! Here are some examples: 

  • Every month before the next sale, we all sit around and brainstorm ideas for social media campaigns. 
  • Our team brainstormed ideas all night and finally came up with the perfect resolution to the problem. 

Another bonus word is brain-swarm. This is a new word that we’re not even sure is in the Oxford dictionary yet! But, it will definitely impress your boss or peers if you use it. Even better that they don’t know what it is, and you explain it to them. Definitely, some know-it-all points are in there for you! The difference between the two expressions is that brain-swarm means to think individually, and then regroup later with all ideas. With this method, ideas that are suggested are original and not coerced by others. It’s also great when a few people come up with the same idea, so you can confirm that it’s fantastic!


4. To Get The Ball Rolling

This expression is quite important as you’ll usually hear it from management during a meeting. It literally means to start something now or soon enough, normally a project or new process. It originates from pushing a ball down the hill to get it rolling. If you hear your boss saying this in a meeting, it’s definitely time to make the project a first priority. Here are a couple of examples to get you started: 

  • My boss said that he wanted to get the ball rolling on the new project. 
  • I am thinking about getting the ball rolling with my promotion. 

get the ball rolling

5. To Think Outside The Box

In the modern world, it’s easy to feel like all the good ideas and intuitive companies are taken already. But, now is the time to think outside the box! So, what does this mean? This means to think of an unusual, creative idea or solution to a problem. To look past the horizon and come up with a new solution. This can be used in both a small and big sense. You can think outside the box for process issues. You can also think outside the box for a new department or even business. 

  • Changing the cash machine to an automatic system was really thinking outside the box
  • I need my marketing team to think outside the box to be able to reach the right customers. 

think outside the box

6. On the Back Burner

For our final workplace expression, we’ll explain what on the back burner means. In a literal sense, this means that you will be putting a project or task to the side for a while because there are other tasks that are more important right now. This can be said as a command or a decision that you have to make at work. Here are some final examples to leave you with: 

  • Let’s put this project on the back burner for now. We have more important things to get done. 
  • I’d like to put this on the back burner for a while as I have too much on my plate. 

We hope this helps you out, and if you hear of any other expression that you don’t understand, feel free to ask us! Stayed tuned for more next week. Practice makes perfect. Remember, if you’d like to use these workplace expressions in your next meeting, write them down, and practice with your teacher or in front of the mirror. Bye for now. 


Related Blogs