Business Idioms 16: Work 1

Close-up of gears

This lesson will focus on using a variety of expressions related to work.


You will learn 5 idioms to describe work. You will also get a chance to talk about your own experiences.

Warm Up: 

What's the most exciting thing about your job?


Please consider each expression and match them to the images. Your instructor has an example and a question regarding each one.

  1. behind the scenes—happening privately without being known or seen by the public or other people.
  2. raise the bar—raise standards or expectations.
  3. ramp up—increase.
  4. a change of pace—a variation in usual activities or pattern.
  5. call it a day—stop what you are doing.
A. B.
C. D.



A. Complete the anecdote

Read each section and choose an appropriate idiom from the list above.

  1. Nigella was absolutely exhausted after months of long working days, and it was clear to everyone that she needed…
  2. It was clear that in order to meet the increased demand, production would have to…
  3. The sales director told his staff that, because they had failed to meet their quarterly targets, during the following three months they would have to…
  4. The team worked solidly from early morning till nearly midnight. At that point, the project leader decided to…
  5. When receiving the award for Most Innovative Business Leader of the Year, Jo acknowledged all the hard work that her team did…

B. Discussion

Use idioms to discuss the following topics.

  1. What impact does work-life balance have on your effectiveness at work?
  2. What's the biggest challenge you're facing right now at work?
  3. What do you think about working for your present company? Why?



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Frans Vledder via Unsplash
Stephan Henning via Unsplash
Simon Migaj via Unsplash
Oli Haleon via Pixabay