Free-range worker to Zoom bombing â your complete guide to the new âofficeâ jargon
Over the past year, something has happened when discussing work. You might have noticed it. New phrases have crept into our language, so when, for example, youâre working with a colleague on a project, youâre now âcollabingâ, and if someone makes an unexpected appearance in an online meeting (be that a co-worker, your unruly toddler, or even your cat) theyâre âZoom bombingâ.
Yes, we all knew the pandemic would change how â and where â we work. But most of us didnât realise that it was going to provide us with a whole new vocabulary to learn.
As many of our jobs shifted from office-based to remote, unique work-based jargon developed to help articulate the change. Sometimes it feels like you need a dictionary to do your job â so weâve made you one. Read on for our handy guide to the new language of home working.
If thereâs one term you know, it should be this. Meaning âworking from anywhereâ, itâs the 2021 version of WFH (working from home). âIt also used to be called telecommuting â thatâs an example of how language changes over time,â says Tracey Fritcher, a principal strategist of employee experience at ServiceNow. âI havenât heard that term in a long time!â
The term for someone who can WFA, be it their home, a coffee shop, or a wifi-enabled train. Essentially a new spin on what weâve been calling a âdigital nomadâ for years. Possibly intended as a counterpoint to those home workers who felt increasingly like caged battery hens during lockdown.
Think of it as the couture of the video call: where you dress for only your upper half to be visible. Or, in the words of Gaylan Sankey, a principal strategist of employee experience at ServiceNow: âItâs when you wear yoga pants on the bottom and a nice dressy shirt on the top. Itâs business on top, party underneath.â
When youâre WFA, itâs easy for the days to blend into each other until you donât know what day it is. If youâre not careful, every day is Blursday.
It stands for Voice over Internet Protocol and is just a way of referring to a virtual phone system that lets you use the same number to make a call, regardless of which device you use to login. Hosted online, obviously. This IS 2021.
Communicating with someone in real time. Think phone calls, video meetings or anything that feels like a live interaction. In other words, the opposite of â¦
Where you communicate with someone whenever you can get round to it. Mainly an elaborate way of saying âemailingâ or âmessagingâ.
As already mentioned, the term for appearing unexpectedly in a video call. âItâs when someone gets into the meeting uninvited,â says Fritcher. âThere are lots of words about operating in a constant world of video calls now â Zoomed out (Zoom fatigue) and Zumped (fired over Zoom) are a few of the new terms I have heard floating around recently.â
A business physically based around what, in pre-pandemic times, we called âthe officeâ. Itâs somewhere whose workforce largely comes together in one physical place.
A workforce made up of both remote and co-located employees. Also known as a âdistributed teamâ.
The term given to any form of tech that employees use that isnât part of the IT departmentâs sanctioned suite of software. Using Zoom or Google Meet instead of your work Microsoft Teams account? Or an unauthorised Dropbox account? Youâre running shadow IT. Naughty.
The uncontrolled spread of an organisationâs use of cloud-based services â often exacerbated by shadow IT. Problematic for reasons of cost and data security.
Before Covid. Usually used for analysing how a companyâs performing compared with the times before our new WFA reality. âWhen we talk about the employee experience and HR stuff, I end up using the term âBCâ a lot,â says Sankey.
A term familiar to all fans of hip-hop and social media influencers, which means âcollaboratingâ. How to get colleagues to collab is increasingly a big deal for WFA, given that it often lacks the kind of informal office interactions that we used to depend on to exchange information and ideas.
Hub and spoke
A less centralised approach to the traditional office, with the central âhubâ headquarters complemented by local âspokesâ that offer smaller offices in other locations, possibly in areas where lots of employees live.
The different ways people can communicate â visual, written, audio and touch. Different tech uses different communication modalities, with some workers preferring one to another and most preferring to mix it up so that they throw some written (email) in among all the audio/visual (video calls).
Want to learn more about whatâs next at work? Visit us at servicenow.com/uk