New words – 2 January 2023

an office with several young people working at desktop computers at a shared table
Estelle Johnson / EyeEm / Getty

productivity theatre noun [U]
UK /ˌprɒd.ʌkˈtɪv.ə.ti ˈθɪə.təʳ/ US /ˌproʊ.dəkˈtɪv.ə.t̬i ˈθiː.ə.t̬ɚ/
a way someone behaves at work that makes them appear to be working very hard, even if this is not the case

We know there is a disconnect between the views of employers and employees on the productivity of working from home. Employees are happier and believe they are more productive; their managers are not so sure. Now it seems, that some of those employees are indulging in what has been termed “productivity theatre”. They make sure their mouse moves frequently – even if they are not working productively – in case their keystrokes are being monitored. They also attend online meetings which do not directly involve them so managers can spot their participation.
[, 12 October 2022]

anti-perk noun [C]
UK /ˈæn.tiˌpɜːk/ US /ˈæn.t̬iˌpɝːk/
an advantage someone is given because of their job that is in fact not useful or helpful

“Anti-perks” are perks that sound good but don’t actually matter to workers. The biggest offender? Unlimited vacation, which doesn’t really work unless the company encourages employees to take time off. Other perks that drew feisty replies include free booze, free massages, and special-purpose rooms (e.g., fitness, nap, and meditation rooms).
[, 28 September 2022]

boomerang employee noun [C]
/ˈbuː.mə.ræŋ ɪmˌplɔɪ.iː/
someone who goes back to work for a company they have already worked for in the past

Returning workers are also more likely to be given short shrift: coming back to a past employer means there is greater pressure to perform compared to new starters. “Although boomerang employees generally tend to be better performers, they’re also more likely to be fired than external hires – managers expect them to know the organisation right away,” says Keller. “While new starters may be given the benefit of the doubt, a re-hire not living up to expectations is more likely to be laid off.”
[, 9 August 2022]

About new words

3 thoughts on “New words – 2 January 2023

    1. None taken, Aleov!

      I find “productivity theatre” [and indeed lots of the theatre-related words in civilian life and workplace life] all too relatable.

      Someone likes to put up a show of doing or doing well.

      And I am sure you or your colleagues may have experienced an “anti-perk”.

      [in school and university, too, too wide a swathe of accommodation can be an anti-perk – for example – extended/extra time – when what may be needed is closer to a cognitive or sensory break].

      Boomerang employees – do not know the organisation to which they have returned as well as they or their employers think they might.

      We can say that being a boomerang employee exposes you to anti-perks at a greater level than being a new hire.

      What do you think?

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