Gen Z employees are influencing more casual language around the office. Here's a breakdown of the jargon.

Gen Z employees are influencing more casual language around the office. Here's a breakdown of the jargon.
A screenshot from a TikTok by @wethepvblic.wethepvblic/TikTok

Chronically online Gen Zers are bringing the slang they've learned through social media to the office, which could make it tricky for other generations who are trying to work with — and understand — them.

Employees who are part of Generation Z — those born between 1997 and 2012 — are introducing coworkers to a variety of new phrases in the workplace. These days, the jargon circulates through TikTok and is starting to appear in more mainstream office settings, The Washington Post reported, keying in something we've all probably heard more of around the office — or in Slack channels.

Now, a study published on Tuesday by Barclays LifeSkills revealed that 71% of workers in Great Britain believe that their Gen Z colleagues are changing the formal tone of some workplaces. Many said that formal sign-offs like "yours truly," and "yours sincerely" will be obsolete in the next 10 years.

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Managers in the US said they've seen similar trends in their workplaces, though one urged at least some caution.

Kevon Martin, assistant human resources manager for Hyatt Regency Houston, told Insider there's a time and a place for slang.


"Older colleagues can benefit from being more adaptable and relatable to their younger coworkers, so they know how to appeal to a younger consumer base," Martin told Insider. "However, Gen Z must also recognize you can't come to work and use whatever slang words you'd use with each other because it's not the same environment."

While some of these phrases originated from Black and LGBTQ+ creators, they are wide-ranging in their origins and references. Below is a list of phrases a Gen Z colleague might use and what they (usually) mean.


The term "ick" has long been used to describe something gross or unpleasant, but it has taken on a new meaning thanks to a current trend on TikTok. At first, "give me the ick" was used by Gen Zers to refer to traits or habits that turned them off from a person they're dating, but now many are sharing "icks" in all aspects of life.

In December, a group of Atlanta-based nurses were ridiculed publicly for sharing their "icks" about patients in a TikTok video. The caption read "Icks, Labor & Delivery (Edition)," and the video featured multiple nurses sharing things they didn't like about patients.

The employees appear to have since lost their jobs, based on an apology posted to Facebook by Emory Healthcare which referred to them as "former employees."


Stories, like those of the hospital workers, may give young people pause when considering more casual behavior around the office. But Martin told Insider it can work if executed appropriately — and not disparagingly — in an environment of open communication between colleagues of multiple generations.


Simply put, naur just means no or know. It functions as a more dramatic way of saying "no" or "know," and sounds like "no" with an Australian accent.

@wethepvblic Who knew gen z internet lingo will be needed at the office one day? #fyp #foryou #naur #work #dayinmylife #millennialsoftiktok #letsgaur ♬ Monkeys Spinning Monkeys - Kevin MacLeod & Kevin The Monkey


To "slay" anything means someone is doing an exceptional job at their work or a task at hand.

@sam_thegirl Just some new ideas if you find your friends are getting board of slay #slay #slayqueen ♬ Monkeys Spinning Monkeys - Kevin MacLeod & Kevin The Monkey

Understood the assignment

If a coworker says this, they mean a task has been completed exactly as it was meant to be done.

@stephanielerin Amazon has my back #greenscreenvideo ♬ original sound - Stephanielerin

Say less

A shortened version of "say no more." It's used when you completely agree or understand what someone has just said.



This is a more fun way of saying something or someone is ridiculous, or that it can't be taken seriously.


It's short for charisma. Someone with rizz is a smooth talker who knows how to navigate conversations like a pro. Those with "zero rizz" are awkward or have poor conversation skills.

@itscarsoncox Rate his riz 1 out of 10 #rizzler #riz ♬ original sound - Carson Cox

L or W

Although referring to wins and losses as "Ws" or "Ls" probably didn't start with Gen Z, the youngsters do like to use it to describe a positive or negative experience.

Your colleague might tell you your opinion is an "L take" if they disagree with you.