Blog 10 Buzzwords 2021

Buzzwords. You know – the short, snappy phrases floating around the workplace? You either love or hate them. If you love them, chances are you overuse them. If you hate them, you probably cringe the moment you hear a buzzword come out of someone's mouth.

The interesting thing about buzzwords is – while overused – many people who find themselves on the receiving end, are not 100 per cent sure what they mean. Yes – they have a vague idea, yet if you asked them to explain it, they would probably find themselves with a case of verbal diarrhoea.

While different industries have their own unique set of buzzwords, they all have one thing in common: both leaders – and employees can overuse them to the point of no return. Not only do they become irritating, but they slowly creep into sentences where they simply don't belong.

And, since language is a living thing that adapts and changes over time – buzzwords – like human beings, evolve, change, and expire. Only to make room for new ones to surface and bloom throughout the workplace once again.

So, to avoid confusion and blank faces, here's a list of the top 10 buzzwords you might hear buzzing around the workplace in 2021, and what they mean.

Wellbeing Leadership

The buzzword' wellbeing leadership' describes a form of leadership where companies embed the responsibility of employee wellbeing within their company mission. Such leadership models provide strategic plans, programs, and tools, that aim to maintain and improve the health and wellbeing of their employees. The idea behind wellbeing leadership is that by taking care of your workforce, you will produce a flow-on effect throughout the organisation, resulting in increased productivity and better financial results. Another common term for it is conscious leadership, where financial gain is not achieved at the cost of social or environmental factors.

Evidence suggests that workplaces with health and wellbeing programs in place see a correlation between healthy employees and a more engaged, productive workforce. 

Zoom Fatigue

'Zoom fatigue' refers to the tiredness, worry, and burnout associated with overuse of virtual communications platforms such as Zoom and Skype.

Covid-19 didn't just bring a pandemic, it came with baggage and a whole lot of associated problems. Some have been economic in nature, though the vast majority seem to be social and mental health-related, such as working from home on a long-term basis, and lack of person-to-person contact.

And, while a proportion of the 300 million-plus daily users of Zoom have flourished in this work setting, many have struggled. So, when you hear the words' Zoom fatigue', know it's all about the lack of human contact when communicating and socialising, which pre-Covid-19 times, for the most part, was done in-person.

The science behind 'Zoom fatigue' suggests being on a video call requires more focus than a face-to-face chat. Our bodies and brains need to work harder to process those vital, non-verbal cues like, facial expressions, tone, pitch, and body language.

So, next time someone at work mentions' Zoom fatigue', you can suggest the following: limit video calls to only those that are necessary and catch up in-person when possible.


'Uptooling' simply means to expand your skills and proficiency in any area, but most commonly refers to the digital space. Think of it as another word for; 'upgrading', 'up-skilling' 'enhancing' or 'advancing'. Ultimately, the reason a company or person decides to 'uptool', is so they remain relevant within their industry. It can include updating gear and services with emerging technologies to meet changing audience, consumer or market needs, circumstances or environments. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has ignited this need to 'uptool', where companies and individuals have been pushed to find new ways to connect and work. Zoom, video conferencing, online learning and setting up a website or online training are all examples of 'uptooling'.

'Uptooling' may be a new term, however, it's an old concept. It's simply the idea of providing training to up-skill an individual or team, or buying and learning how to use more advanced gear to help you deliver better results or new, more advanced products and services.


'Telecommuting' is just another word for 'working remotely'. It's the idea of working from anywhere that is not your actual physical place of work, which may be your office, factory or site.

Prior to Covid-19, the concept of working remotely or 'telecommuting' was either only partly implemented by some forward-thinking organisations, or completely ignored by those who had no trust in their employee. Today, it seems the idea of working remotely is a concept that is more likely here to stay, than go. According to a recent study by Pew Research, 54 per cent of adults say, given the option, they would work from home most, or all of the time. However, 51 per cent of employers identified 'working well remotely' as challenging for their team.

Chief Wellbeing Officer (CWO)

No – that isn't a spelling error. CEO (Chief Executive Officer) is one thing: that's the big boss of the company or organisation. A CWO is the big boss when it comes to all thing's employee wellbeing related. So, think; educating employees about wellbeing, morale and providing programs that enhance mindfulness or improve their physical and mental wellbeing.

You can think of it as an arm of the Human Resources sector of a company. CWOs are a bit like the right-hand man/woman responsible for creating wellness programs that bring the ideas of wellbeing leadership into practice.


You may have heard the term, 'pivoting' used in a basketball game; it's a type of turn on court. Though, today, 'pivot' is also an office buzzword used to refer to a change in business direction.

'Pivot' is a term often used by start-ups who change the direction of their business or product after a 'failed' attempt. It's also a term that is sometimes synonymous with something not working out. According to experts, 'pivoting' should be a last case scenario and the right time for a business to 'pivot' is only if:

• There is too much competition.
• The company's progress has plateaued.
• Only one of your company's features or services gets traction; or
• Customers aren't responding to your product.


'Pinging' is a common, simple, slang term used to refer to the idea of using some form of texting or messaging co-workers to spread new information.

A 'ping' can be an email, instant message, or any other type of workplace communication or alert.


As the name suggests, taking a '360-approach' at work, means to look at something holistically.

A team leader or employees may take an informed, and holistic approach to something, so they can understand the many aspects to it, such as the workplace environment, customer experience and client satisfaction.


'Hyperlocal" is a great buzzword used to refer or relate to matters concerning a small, specific community or geographical area.

When businesses focus on the 'hyperlocal', they are focusing or marketing their services towards a specific community or geographical area such as a neighbourhood. The term 'hyperlocal' has gained a lot of traction recently because of its relevance in today's highly connected, technology-enabled goods and services market.

A good example of this, is when your smartphone suggests a new Italian restaurant in your area after you've scrolled through pasta recipes online.


When someone at work uses the buzzword, 'unpack', they simply mean to explore something in more detail. So, they may say something along the lines of: "I think we need to really unpack this concept before we pursue the idea any further."

While some buzzwords can feel used and abused, they usually arise from technical terms in business that needed an easier term for daily use. Buzzwords are how co-workers communicate. And while it's fine to use them when needed, it's best to avoid splashing them around if there is a simpler, clearer way of getting your message across to co-workers and employees.


• Wellbeing leadership – the wellbeing of workers is part of the company's strategic mission.
• Zoom fatigue - exhaustion, worry or burnout from overusing virtual communications tools.
• Uptooling – upskilling or enhancing skills or tools to remain relevant in the market.
• Telecommuting – working remotely.
• Chief Wellbeing Officer (CWO) – responsible for implementing programs to aid and improve employee wellbeing.
• Pivot - change in business direction; whether it's services or products provided, often due to a 'failed' attempt or last resort.
• Ping – another term for messaging co-workers whether it be an email, text or skype message.
• 360-approach – to look at something holistically and from all angles.
• Hyperlocal – small, specific geographical area such as a neighbourhood.
• Unpack – explore, research, or analyse a problem or idea further.

If you need any assistance with hiring, contact a recruitment agency like Trojan Recruitment Group and receive advice from the experts in labour-hire, permanent and contract staff.