This is an Americanism that has crossed over into British English too. Most
offices these days have a water cooler, and this phrase has come to mean
anything that people talk about when they happen to meet at the water cooler.
This tends to refer to gossip or trivial things like discussing what happened in
the soap opera that was on last night.
Close of play
Often shortened to COP in emails and text messages, and also as end of play
or EOP, this simply means by the end of the working day. Why do bosses ask if
they can have this work done by close of play rather than just asking if they
can have it done today? Perhaps they are trying to make work sound more fun, as
close of play is a sporting term, particularly used when it comes to cricket,
where it means when the game ends for the day.
In the days before office-speak took over, people would simply say that
they were going on holiday. But that doesn’t sound quite corporate, serious and
professional enough. So you’ll often find people referring to their summer
holiday as their ‘period of annual leave,’ for example, in their out-of-office
auto reply email.
More and more of our work documents are created and shared online without
the need for printing, which is better for the environment as well as saving us
time and effort. But sometimes real, physical documents are required. When
someone wants a physical print out of a document rather than an electronic copy,
they will ask for a hard copy.
Think outside the box
No one knows what the box is, or what’s inside it, but bosses seem to like
it when workers are outside it. If someone at your work asks you to think
outside the box it means they don’t want you to limit your thinking. They want
creativity, and ideas, and thinking outside themainstream. This term is used to
try and encourage new ideas and a fresh approach to problems.
Brainstorming is another way to encourage workers to think outside the box.
It’s a technique by which a group discussion is held to produce ideas. Ideas are
spontaneously bounced around the group, often as a way of trying to solve a
problem. Brainstorming actually goes back a long way, all the way back to 1939
when it was first devised by advertising executive Alex F. Osborn. He began
developing methods for creative problem solving, as he was frustrated by
employees’ inability to develop creative ideas individually for ad campaigns. In
response, he began hosting group-thinking sessions and discovered a significant
improvement in the quality and quantity of ideas produced by employees.
This is a pun on the term disc jockey, and the chances are you’re being a
desk jockey right now. Instead of spinning lots of records, you might be on your
laptop checking emails, reading this article, while you’re eating a pasta salad
or drinking a coffee from your work’s canteen. Ringing phones, beeping pagers,
overflowing inboxes – they’re all the tools of the desk jockey.
This stands for Unique Selling Point or Unique Selling Proposition. It’s
used a lot in the marketing sector and was introduced as office-speak way back
in the 1940s. It refers to those successful products that have unique, specific
attractions to consumers – so much so that they were willing to switch to it
from their brand of choice.