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How did we go from mentioning emojis that are inappropriate for the workplace to typing smileys in our closing lines? Is it a change in corporate culture, or have you just crossed a line? What if we told you it’s a bit of both?
The shift to hybrid and remote work has left a gap in organizations, so professionals have had to find creative ways to connect with their colleagues. From Zoom sessions to shared Google Docs, day-to-day collaboration is as great as ever. Yet it can often feel like words don’t convey a message or emotion, which can just 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 global participants believed emojis at work provide more nuance in fewer words (69% in the US) and 54% believed emojis make communication more efficient (67% in the US).
The Slack survey also reported that “Interestingly, Indian, Chinese, and American workers are the most likely to miss emoji-less texts or messages, especially when compared to global respondents.” And it predicts that these numbers will grow and the gap will narrow as digital-native generations take over the job market.
Do Emojis Equal Better Emotion?
Researchers have found it 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’. In hybrid work, employees are glued to screens and absorb more emotions from others through them. Their emotions can then be won over by others with whom they interact, directly through communication or indirectly.
This raises the question for us: how prepared are companies to support their employees through these kinds of disruptions in the new normal of digital working?
The dynamics of workplace relationships also play a major role in perceived emotion in communication. A CNN article researchers shared 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 more often “are more socially receptive and empathetic, making them more approachable.” This suggests that emojis are a simple way to reduce the emotional toll of communication in a work environment with high hierarchical barriers. Evans even went so far as to say that “someone who doesn’t use them [emojis] is not an effective communicator and therefore ineffective in eliciting an emotional response.”
So we’re here to tell you that emojis do indeed belong in the workplace. Whether you are a seasoned team leader or a starting employee, the way you communicate has a major impact on the work of your colleagues. Consider incorporating emojis into your day-to-day work, but of course do so responsibly and respectfully.
Yair Nativ is the founder and CEO of Hour25.AI.
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