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How did we go from calling emojis inappropriate for the workplace, to typing smileys in our closing lines? Is it a change in corporate culture, or have you simply crossed a line? What if we told you it’s a bit of both?
The shift toward hybrid and remote work has left a gap in organizations, so professionals have had to find creative methods of connecting with their peers. From Zoom sessions to shared Google Docs, collaboration in everyday work is as great as ever. Still, it can often feel as though words don’t convey message or emotion, which can simply get lost in translation.
The workplace messaging platform Slack recently shared the results of a survey of 9,400 hybrid office workers from North America, Australia and parts of Europe and Asia. It found that 58% of participants globally believed that emojis at work provide more nuance in fewer words (69% in the U.S.) and 54% believed emojis provide greater efficiency in communication (67% in the U.S.).
The Slack survey also reported that “Interestingly, Indian, Chinese and American workers are most likely to find emoji-less texts or messages lacking, especially compared with global respondents.” And it predicts that these numbers will grow and the gap will decrease as digital-native generations take over the job market.
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Do emojis equal better emotion?
Researchers have found that emotions in the digital workspace are likely to be more contagious than in the context of a regular office, described as “digital emotion contagion.” Hybrid work has employees glued to screens and absorbing more of others’ emotions through them. Their emotions can then be persuaded by others they’re in contact with either directly through communication or indirectly.
This leaves us questioning: How prepared are companies in supporting their employees with these kinds of disruptions in the new norm of digital work?
The dynamics of workplace relationships also play a major role in perceived emotion in communication. A CNN article shared researcher findings — from Vyvyan Evans, a professor of linguistics at Bangor University in the UK, and Linda Kaye a senior lecturer in psychology — on what emojis say about individuals.
Kaye stated that people who use emojis with frequency are more “socially receptive and empathetic, making them more approachable.” This suggests emojis are a simple way of reducing the emotional toll of communication in a work environment with great hierarchical barriers. Evans went so far as to say that “someone who is not using them [emojis] is not an effective communicator and therefore not effective in inducing an emotional response.”
So, we’re here to tell you that emojis indeed belong in the workplace. Whether you’re a veteran team leader or an entry-level associate, the way you communicate has a great impact on your colleagues’ work. Consider implementing emojis in your everyday work — but, of course, do so responsibly and respectfully.
Yair Nativ is the founder and CEO of Hour25.AI.
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