If you've ever considered yourself too mature or too professional to use emojis, your time to finally enjoy the popular digital emoticon has come.

While many regard them as impractical, for the amateur, and even childish, emojis are fast becoming a respected and absolutely essential way to communicate more effectively at work. In fact, according to Adobe's just-released Emoji Trend Report--published on World Emoji Day--61 percent of those surveyed use emojis at work.

Why? Because a picture really is worth 1,000 words.

Just ask Marek Nowak, a 32-year-old engineer at CircleCI, an enterprise cloud software company. Initially wary of using emojis at the workplace, Nowak now routinely posts emojis in the business's Slack. Not only is now a fan of using emojis at work, it's company policy.

At CircleCI, emojis allow Nowak to communicate more effectively with his team. In a Wall Street Journal interview, he explained, "If you hesitate to write a message because you think three-quarters of the team already knows, that's not a problem, you just preface it with the 'over-communicating' emoji."

Over-communicating or not, emojis are now being utilized at work to signal progress or express feedback. They're an easy and efficient way to acknowledge or respond to news and updates, and significantly decrease your chances of being verbose. At Slack, for example, the "eyes" emoji is often used to signal that you are currently reading a memo that has recently been posted.

And, at other companies, emojis can be used in ways that benefit a company as a whole. The five core values of Joyride Coffee, for instance, are displayed in the company's Slack channels as custom-designed emojis. Anytime an employee does something that boosts the team, the "fostering community" emoji is used in a Slack post.

Aside from them being quite useful in the office, there is another reason we are starting to shift towards using these modern-day hieroglyphics.

Researchers have been studying the effects of emoji use on visual business communication--something they believe is happening for neurological reasons. Because we process emojis in the same areas of the brain where we process faces, emojis allow us to convey and understand human emotion in ways that benefit our communication practices and how we communicate with others.

As Carlos Gantiva, a professor in the department of psychology at Universidad de los Andes, notes, "In computer-mediated communication, I don't see your face, but when you send to me an emoji, my brain generates a similar response as when I can see you."

New to emojis? Don't be intimidated--they're relatively easy to understand and they're becoming widely accepted (and even required) in the workplace.

And if you need help deploying emojis strategically and with ease, you can always consider asking for guidance from your younger colleagues.

Published on: Jul 29, 2019
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