Australian Jargon in the Workplace

When English isn’t your native language, you may find entering the Australian workplace confusing as often Australians use ‘jargon’ or ‘slang’ in everyday conversations, including in the office.

This presents a unique language challenge for graduates. And is something you should get acquainted with before your first day so you understand, and can potentially, use a few colloquial phrases yourself!

Performance Education’s guide to the top Australian jargon/slang phrases used in the workplace:

1. Get your ducks in a row

Meaning: Be organised.
Example: I’m going to get my ducks in a row before the meeting this afternoon, so I’m prepared and across everything that needs to be achieved.

2. Circle back

Meaning: To come back to or reconsider.
Example: I want to circle back to my original point on the program’s structure.

3. Think outside the box

Meaning: A metaphor meaning to think differently, unconventionally or from a new perspective.
Example: In a challenging situation sometimes it’s necessary to think outside the box.

4. Grab a cuppa

Meaning: Let’s sit down together in an informal setting and have a cup of tea.
Example: Let’s grab a cuppa & work through the presentation together.

5. My week’s Chocka Block

Meaning: Chocka Block is slang for being ‘very full’ or ‘busy’.
Example: This week is already chocka block for me, we’ll have to organise the meeting next week.

6. Touch base

Meaning: Briefly make or renew contact with someone.
Example: I will touch base with you after lunch to go through the to do list.

7. Going forward

Meaning: A progression in time from the present; the term suggests a continuing and progressive movement.
Example: Going forward, I would like to allocate 15 minutes at the end of our team meeting to type up my notes.

8. Giving it 110%

Meaning: An expression that is defined as giving all that you’ve got, plus more.
Example: I will give it 110% to have the task completed on time.

9. Close of play

Meaning: The end of the trading day, office hours (i.e. 5.00pm) or the point when trading ceases.
Example: I will have that report done by close of play.

10. It’s on my radar

Meaning: In a person’s awareness.
Example: Don’t worry, it’s on my radar – I’ll have the project finished for the deadline next week.

11. At the end of the day

Meaning: When everything is taken into consideration.
Example: At the end of the day, if the customer is satisfied with the service, we have done our job properly.

12. It’s a no-brainer

Meaning: The decision is so obvious or easy, it requires little or no thought.
Example: When you’re given the opportunity to take on extra duties in your position, it’s a no brainer as it offers the opportunity to learn new skills.

13. Arvo

Meaning: A shortened reference of the word ‘afternoon’.
Example: I’ll see you in the meeting later this arvo.

14. It’s a win-win situation

Meaning: A situation or outcome where everyone comes away happy.
Example: When offering a special promotion, it’s a win-win for all parties – the client gets a great deal, and the company gets a new client.

15. No worries!

Meaning: Another way of saying ‘No problems’, ‘That’s all right’ or ‘Do not worry about that’, it can also mean ‘Sure thing’ or ‘You’re Welcome’.
Example: No worries, we can get it done tomorrow.

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