You’re on mute! Remote rhetoric tops employee hit list due to hybrid working

you're on mute

Something for the weekend: Two-thirds (69%) of UK employees have noted a rise in specialist language and terminology following the advent of hybrid working, with “you’re on mute” being a particularly notable addition to workplace rhetoric.

Although Covid-19 (Coronavirus) lockdown and social distancing restrictions eased some time ago, many businesses are still seeing staff work remotely, either permanently or on a hybrid basis.

Business management solutions firm The Access Group surveyed 1,000 employees to find out how this type of working model has affected them. It revealed that 90% thought that how they communicated had changed with the increase of hybrid working.

The survey asked respondents what were the most irksome phrases among office jargon. Many of them, such as “touch base” (35%), “keep me in the loop” (31%) and “get the ball rolling” (24%) are old staples. However, with “you’re on mute” gaining 23% of the vote, more than “on the same page” (22%), “moving the goalposts” (19%) and “blue sky thinking” (18%), among others, it is clear that hybrid working has had a widespread effect.

Claire Scott, chief people officer at The Access Group, said: “Many of these phrases reflect how most employees are still working remotely from their colleagues, with a huge number of meetings still taking place online rather than face-to-face. It’s interesting how the most annoying phrases can be linked to people feeling disconnected from their colleagues and trying to find out what people are working on, or where they still fit in.”

Veronika Koller, professor of discourse studies at Lancaster University, added: “The processes are now online and hybrid, so things that used to be communicated face-to-face are now talked about on channels where you lack some information, and there is a fear of missing out in the workplace. The phrases highlighted by the survey are about information flow and what you’re missing, and therefore link to a lack of those informal channels of communication that have slipped away in the workplace or become greatly reduced.”

Here at Employee Benefits, we have certainly heard all of these phrases on a Zoom or Teams call. Whether remote or in person, though, it is always nice to connect with colleagues and understand their thinking – just remember to un-mute!