The phrase "On Bench/ On the Bench" indicates an employment status wherein you haven't been allotted any project in your company. The term is quite used in the IT industry and several people dread getting into the 'on bench' mode.

I was curious to know if there are any single-word alternatives for the phrase "on bench". Synonymous idioms/ phrases to "on bench" are also welcome.

An example sentence where this word could fit in is the following -

Yes, I am employed, but I'm currently ... (on bench)

  • It sounds like a football metaphor. If you are not in the team, but named as a substitute, you are said to be on the bench.
    – WS2
    Jan 7, 2017 at 9:22
  • 1
    Not staffed is what we'd use at our consulting firm, but that's still two words.
    – Glorfindel
    Jan 7, 2017 at 9:28
  • If you're looking for something slightly humorous (you should say what slant your desired word should have), then the actor's resting might do. It would be helpful to use the checklist in the tag info.
    – Andrew Leach
    Jan 7, 2017 at 10:20
  • Another euphemism is to be in [induction] training
    – k1eran
    Jan 7, 2017 at 13:05

1 Answer 1


Yes, I am employed, but I'm currently unassigned [to a project].

An example from Microsoft Project

Typically, once tasks are entered into a schedule, people are assigned to work on them. After all, projects don’t get done by themselves.

Also see Network World

[...] as shown in episode of three of HBO's Silicon Valley from last year, when Hooli (the show's obvious stand-in for Google) hires a programmer for insight into a competitor's project, only to exile him to the bench when it turns out he can't help. From a synopsis of the episode:

"[He] finds a whole world of guys who are "unassigned" at Hooli – there's a group of them who hang out on the roof all day and drink beer. They're waiting out their contracts, doing what they call "rest and vest."

  • 1
    The word assigned also reminded me of the word "allocated" (to a project). Probably, the person can also say "I'm currently awaiting allocation to a project". Thank you for the answer.
    – Monzoor
    Jan 7, 2017 at 12:40

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