Office Buzzwords in 2021: How Covid-19 Changed Our Workplace Lingo?

Monaah M Shuklla

Exactly a year back, the world witnessed a massive shift in the job market owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. It disrupted how work happened, forcing people to isolate and work from the confines of their home instead of commuting to their offices. Meetings went virtual, and workwear became obsolete as the world dealt with the deadly virus. We started speaking differently, using a range of completely new words and phrases, which are now a part of our everyday vocabulary at work.

Before you go ahead and start recollecting them, we have already compiled a comprehensive selection of Covid-19 related buzzwords that have altered our workplace lingo.

  • Blursday – One of the first things that we realized during the lockdown that followed the pandemic was that people kept losing track of the days of the week. For most of them, every day became the same as they followed same routine continuously. There was a definite blur between the weekdays and weekends, making it difficult to remember what day it was, leading to the term ‘Blursday.’
  • Coronacation – A staycation is a vacation that you take while staying in at home, or taking a vacation in your own town. So, what do you call a prolonged break where you stay at home due to the Coronavirus pandemic restrictions? It’s a no-brainer. Just call it Coronacation. 
  • Covidiot – From wearing their masks below their nose to refusing to wear masks at all – we saw or read the news about how some people blatantly ignored public health advice as the world struggled to flatten-the-curve. This led to the term – Covidiots.  
  • Lockdown – Lockdown is synonymous with the Covid-19 pandemic, and it even made it to the Collins Dictionary’ word of the year’ for 2020. From a child to the elderly, today, everyone is well-aware of the word.
  • Lunch and Learn – Aimed at facilitating a collaborative learning environment and help in up skilling, Lunch and Learn is a voluntary training session or a presentation that took place during the employee’s lunchtime. 
  • New Normal – The post-pandemic world or the New Normal is all about adjusting the sails and moving on. We have adapted to new ways of life, including remote working and embracing digital more than ever. 
  • Nice to E-Meet You – How do you greet someone you have never met in person? You say, ‘Nice to E-meet you.’ Whether you are getting introduced to someone on an email or via a social media direct message, this phrase has become a sort of a prerequisite at various virtual setups. 
  • Quaranteam – Interactions with large groups of people became a rare event in 2020 to prevent the transmission of the virus. People started living in a social bubble or Quaranteam, wherein a particular group of people would interact only with people within a group and no one outside it. Think of flatmates, family members, or people who quarantined together. They were labelled as a Quaranteam. 
  • Quarantini – What do you do when your favorite local brewery or bar is closed due to the lockdown restrictions? Simple. You create a quick-fix cocktail at home, resulting in a Quarantini. 
  • Remote Working – Telecommuting, or remote working, was the only option to keep the work going in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. It was the top buzzword as companies, businesses, and educational institutions shifted entirely to a virtual working model to ensure safety of employees/learners.
  • Unmute – With virtual meetings, meetups, and conferences becoming commonplace, online tools such as Zoom and Google Meets gained prominence. With audio and video being the two mainstays of these meetings, the term ‘Unmute’ became popular when people were reminded to unmute their microphone to speak during a meeting. 
  • Virtual Happy Hour – To prevent burnouts due to extended working hours and motivate the employees, virtual happy hours were a welcome change. For instance, virtual fun Fridays facilitated socializing with colleagues, meeting up a new teammate, or celebrating festivals such as Halloween. 
  • Waist-Up Fashion – Working from home lifted the restrictions on wearing work-appropriate outfits from top-to-toe. People started working in their most comfortable pajamas, tracksuit bottoms, and slippers. The only exceptions were during face-to-face workplace meetings when they ensured a well-groomed appearance from the waist-up. The comfortable track pants and slippers remained as it is, out of the camera view.
  • WFH – Everyone knows what the abbreviation of Work-From-Home. This happened once remote working became the regular norm. Today, using the term WFH is acceptable in official communications as well as in casual conversations.
  • Workation – While Coronacation meant staying confined to one’s home due to the pandemic restrictions, workation is the ‘old-new word’ where people started taking vacations once the travel ban was lifted and continued to work from different holiday locations.
  • Unprecedented – This phrase was used left, right, and center during the pandemic. From company presentations to emailers and newsletters, it was just everywhere. In an unprecedented way.   
  • Zooming – Online meeting platforms Zoom is one of the most popular tools used by businesses and organizations for carrying out their remote communications. Owing to its widespread use during the pandemic, Zooming became a verb that stayed with us.

Conclusion The post-pandemic era got us comfortable with hearing ‘Am I audible?’, ‘You are on mute.’ and ‘Can you see my screen?’ And that’s just the tip of the icebergas more words and phrases will be added to list of buzzwords in 2021 and beyond. Do you have a favorite Covid-19-related workplace buzzword that we missed out on? Let us know in the comments.

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