Useful Words and Phrases to Use at Work in English

Here are some English words and phrases that you may find useful in the workplace.


Working hours expressions

  • Part – time

Meaning: Go to work a part of the day or week.

E.g. When I was a student I had a part-time job in a bar. I worked weekends only.

  • To be punctual

Meaning: To start or arrive at the specified time.

E.g. She is very punctual. She’s always on time.

  • Home working

Meaning: To work from home rather than going to the office. 

E.g. Modern technology means that home working has become real possibility for many people.

  • Time sheet

Meaning: A record of the numbers of hours worked by an employee.

E.g. We no longer have time sheets as this is done automatically now.

  • Unsocial hours

Meaning: Hours outside of the normal working week (such as night).

E.g. Lots of profession work very unsocial working hours and don’t necessarily get compensated for it.

  • To take a break

Meaning: To stop work for a short time to relax.

E.g. Sometimes it’s a good idea to take a break and come back to work refreshed.

  • To clock in/out

Meaning: To record to start/finish time of work on a special machine.

E.g. Flexi time means that everyone has to clock in and out to keep a check on the hours worked.

  • Public holidays

Meaning: National holidays that are not generally worked.

E.g. If a public holidays is on Thursday, many people take a Friday off and have a long holiday.

  • Hourly rate

Meaning: The salary that is paid per hour of work.

E.g. The part-time employees are paid an hourly rate but the permanent staff are paid a fixed salary.

  • Fixed hours

Meaning: The working hours of an employee do not change and cannot be varied.

E.g. As a freelancer, I don’t have any fixed hours but work when the work is there.

  • Across the board

Meaning: Including everyone or everything

E.g. The company is expected to increase salaries across the board.

  • A tough break

Meaning: When something unfortunate happen

E.g. It was a tough break for us when Sarah quit. She was one of our top performers.

  • Ace up your sleeve

Meaning: If you have an ace up your sleeve, you have something in reserve with which you can gain an advantage.

E.g. Our new product is an ace up our sleeve.

  • At a loss

Meaning: If something is sold at a loss, its price is lower than its cost.

E.g. Thanks to competition, companies are often forced to sell products at a loss.

  • Bang for the buck

Meaning: When you get bang for the buck, you get value for the money spent.

E.g. I think you will get much bang for the buck if you start advertising on the internet.

  • Banker’s hours

Meaning: Banker’s hours are short working hours. People working hour

E.g. If you want to banker’s hours, you shouldn’t apply for a job in sales and marketing.

  • Bigwig

Meaning: An important person, a leader

E.g. Some of the bigwigs of our company came to visit our factory.

  • Bring (something) to the table

Meaning: To have something to offer during a negotiation

E.g. We were able to bring a new offer to the table during the negotiations.

  • Call it a day

Meaning: To decide to stop working for the day.

E.g. Well, John, it’s 7:00 and I’m getting hungry. How about we call it a day?

  • Fifty – fifty

Meaning: Means something is divided equally.

E.g. My business partner and I split everything fifty-fifty.

  • Business as usual

Meaning: After an unpleasant or unexpected event, this expression means that everything is continuing in a normal way, in spite of the difficulties.

E.g. It was business as usual at the supermarket the day after the hold-up.

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Useful Words and Phrases to Use at Work in English

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