Depending on the situation, you may hear phrases such as, «think outside the box» or «win-win situation» in the workplace. Of course, life would be much easier if you knew what these mean or how to use them correctly in your speech. Before I introduce some common idioms related to work, let’s have a refresher on what idioms are. An idiom is a phrase whose meaning is different from the individual words that comprise it. They are used to paint word pictures or create mental images.
Five of the most common idiomatic expressions used in the workplace are as follows:
Have a lot on your plate: to have a lot of work and responsibilities at the moment
Michael’s job as the head of the department makes him have a lot on his plate all the time.
Test the waters: to try something new to see if it will be successful or not
They’re testing the waters to see if changing the product’s design will increase sales.
Put something off: to delay doing it
The director has put off the meeting until tomorrow.
Off the top of your head: from memory or without much or careful thought
I don’t know the exact figure but off the top of my head, I’d estimate the cost to be around $250,000.
Ramp up: to increase something
We need to ramp up our efforts to find new customers.