Derived from emoticons, the first known emoji was launched in 1997 on the J-Phone in Japan. These electronic ideograms have come a long way since that original set of 90 symbols. Today, there are thousands of them in the Unicode standard complimented by millions more custom ones, over 26 million on Slack alone.
Your Guide to Using Emoji’s in the Workplace
First, let’s acknowledge that emoji use is on the rise…
Emojis have long been a staple of social media communication… check out emojitracker.com for a real time dashboard of emoji use on twitter and you’ll see the number one spot is the Face With Tears of Joy emoji… clocking in at almost 2.5 trillion uses. No wonder it was Oxford Dictionary’s 2015 word of the year. I was also surprised it was considered a word!
Thanks to explosive growth in professional messaging options like Slack, Flock, Teams, Facebook Workplace and Zoom, businesses are embracing what is becoming known as the ‘team collaboration market’.
A recent study by a company in Austin, Texas called Mio surveyed 200 companies and revealed that 91% of them are using at least two messaging apps to aid in communication for work.
What’s their biggest driver for implementing these new technologies? Having a faster and more effective way of communication. The ability to use emojis easily also contributes to faster and more effective communication because a few well-used emojis can replace full sentences in communicating a sentiment or reaction.
“What did you do over the weekend?”
Emotions Through Emojis
According to recent research, our brains process emojis the same way they process faces, meaning there is a visual benefit not found through text communication. This helps us form relationships and understand each other creating a stronger, more positive workplace culture.
7 of the top 10 most used emojis actually convey positive emotion, and only one (😭) represents what could be interpreted as negative. This confirms what research has shown as people are much more likely to express positive emotions through emojis!
But are emojis appropriate to use in professional communication?
Although perception is changing, many professionals still see emoji use as too casual, unserious and informal. To avoid seeming less competent, it’s best to refrain from emoji use at work in initial communications and until you understand the company culture of emoji use.
Popular Emojis That Might Be Misinterpreted
🙏 – Not a religious moment of prayer, instead a way to say thank you or give praise.
🙌 – Also not worshiping, instead expressing celebration.
🤗 – This guy isn’t shoving you… it’s a hug.
😫 – This guy is tired, not passing a kidney stone.
😪 – If you ever thought this was a tear, you’re not alone. However, this is actually a snot bubble used to denote sleep in Japan, similar to America’s “ZZZs.”
😲 – This is an astonished face.
😊 – This expresses happiness! In fact, a good rule of thumb is to pay attention to the eyes… these eyes are smiling and convey a different emotion than the one below.
😬 – These eyes are grimacing.
😤 – But sometimes the eyes won’t give it away and you just need to know the meaning. This is ‘Face with Look of Triumph’
💨 – This is a dash… not a fart.
👻 – This ghost is just a way to make a silly face.
😘 – Here’s a kiss.
😏 – Here’s a smirk.
💯 – Use this to either agree strongly with someone or tell them they did a great job.
🔥 – And this means something’s extremely popular or exemplary, it’s on fire.
💩 – And finally, this is a pile of poop. Maybe stay away from this one at work…
Emojis may seem silly or amateur, but research shows their use can be instrumental in improving both communication and culture which is critical to the success of any organization.
What has your experience been like using emojis?
Connect with our team of workspace experts for answer to all your questions!