People's love for emoji is universal.
In a recent survey of employees globally, 58 percent of respondents said using emoji at work allows them to communicate more nuanced feelings with fewer words, and 55 percent said using emoji can speed up workplace communication. Two thirds of global respondents said they felt closer and more bonded in a conversation when messaging someone who understands the emoji they're using. The July survey from ed tech company Duolingo and Slack polled 9,400 hybrid workers in North America, Asia, and Europe--1,000 of whom were based in the U.S.
"Emoji is an incredible workplace tool when it comes to conveying common replies and sentiments," Slack's senior director of product management Olivia Grace tells Inc. "Emoji can be that extra magic that replaces hand gestures, vocal intonation, and eye contact that you would get in-person. When you thank someone for doing something and add a colorful thank-you emoji, it feels [more] sincere."
But they can definitely be misused. Even as many companies are now back to some form of in-person work, communication tools--like Slack--that grew even more prominent during the early part of the pandemic will likely remain a fixture. So it's good idea to mind your emoji P's and Q's.
Here are three ways to ensure you're using emoji optimally:
1. Use them for efficiency.
When the pandemic first hit, the survey saw a huge spike in the :heart: emoji at work. Employees use it to show support, love, and solidarity--sentiments hard to put into appropriate words at work--through difficult times. In addition, many emoji reactions replace the role of repetitive follow-up messages in daily workflows:
2. Use them judiciously.
There are, however, certain emoji that may be misunderstood in the workplace and you may not want to use them:
3. Just use them.
Ultimately, even if you're not sure you're using them right, you should still use them. According to the Duolingo survey, American workers in particular say they find emoji especially important in the workplace. The survey shows that Americans are more likely to find emoji-less texts or messages to be lacking, compared with global respondents (71 percent versus 57 percent).
As emoji have become a must-have in the hybrid or remote workplace, Grace suggests business leaders embrace the fresh talent who have grown up fluent in emoji.
"While not everyone loves simplifying communication with one emoji or another, the usage of emoji is now ubiquitous," Grace adds. "They are as embedded in the workplace as fax machines used to be. So learning how to smartly utilize emoji for culture, efficiency, inclusion, and communication is essential to attracting and retaining emerging minds."