Emojis in the Workplace: Hot or Not?
Jul 26th 2022
Because of the high number of emoji and emoticons in the text below, there is no lector available for this article 🙂
This text was fully written by humans.
SUMMARY / KEY TAKEAWAYS
According to prof. Marcel Danesi from the University of Toronto, properly using emojis is associated with a certain form of digital emotional intelligence, or, “emoji competence.”
In this article, we introduce emojis, and explain how they differ from emoticons and memes.
We also approach a simple question: when and how is it OK to use emojis in the workplace?
Table of Contents
- Do Emojis Help In Communication At Work?
- Emojis in the Workplace Are On The Rise. Why?
- What Are Emojis, Actually?
- When and How To Use Emojis at Work?
- Examples of Emojis Useful in the Workplace.
- When NOT To Use Emojis at Work?
- Conclusion: Emojis at Work: Hot Or Not?
Do Emojis Help In Communication At Work?
Do you encounter this dilemma over and over again: shall I use emojis in my workplace? Am I too old-school when I don’t plug in emojis here and there in our team Slack chat? And what the hell is the difference between 20 different types of smiling faces? Well, if so, then this article is for you!
Do emojis make for better communication? Many people seem to be on the fence about how to discern between professionalism, respect, and emojis in the workplace.
According to prof. Marcel Danesi from the University of Toronto, properly using emojis is associated with a certain form of digital emotional intelligence, or, “emoji competence.” Prof. Danesi calls this competence “an ability to intersperse emoji images into a written text in order to imprint a positive emotional tone into it.”
In this article, we would like to ask a simple question: when is it OK to use emojis in the workplace? And, how? We will list the dos and don’ts when it comes to appropriately use emojis in a professional setting. We want you to make the best out of emojis at work!
Emojis in the Workplace Are On The Rise. Why?
Emojis first hit the scene in the early days of smartphones around 2010 — making a big splash primarily among the teenagers of the time. Emoji use has been steadily on the rise, not just in personal conversations, but in the workplace as well! Why?
Well, partially, it is a consequence of the fact that the same teenagers who used to communicate via emojis a decade ago, are now grown up, work in a variety of workplaces, and are stuck to their original habits.
But it is also a matter of a broader cultural shift. Today, we are bombed with information. In 2011, Americans were absorbing five times as much daily information as they did back in 1986.
No wonder today, the ways of exchanging information have changed. We need to communicate more often and faster. That’s why we often choose to use all kinds of pictograms. A picture can convert more information than a thousand words.
Lastly, we live in times of “Great Fusion.” Due to the use of social media, professional and social life are not as separate and distant as they used to be in the past. We essentially develop one online persona that we use across social platforms.
Facebook and LinkedIn have become more alike in terms of the types of information users choose to post. Today, most people are willing to appear relatively serious on Facebook, and relatively fun to be around and sociable on LinkedIn.
And today more than anytime before, professionals just want to have fun at work. And, they can afford it. Employers struggle to find good employees today and build their motivation at work. To keep good people close, they try to make corporate environments feel like home, or even like a family. This is also why emotions at work have become acceptable — or even welcome.
But wait, isn’t the workplace supposed to be a sacred place of focus, respect, and professionalism? Well, yes and no. Yes, the workplace is the place to get into the zone and get your business taken care of. But in the effort or work, rest must also be considered.
If all you do is work work work away at the computer screen day in and day out, you are being deprived of an emotional connection with others. The best remedy to this would be to put work into your relationships a little at least instead of putting it all into your profession. A close second to face-to-face interaction is sharing images that express emotions. Emojis.
What Are Emojis, Actually?
Let’s first make sure we have the same understanding of an Emoji. Imagine the old hunter-gatherer societies. While hunting or cooking together, they saw each other’s faces which helped them bond with each other and relax — which is often impossible today, now in the times of digitization.
With this in mind, you might think of emojis as a sort of digital version of taking a break and seeing some friendly faces. In this context, emojis aren’t just what teenagers are up to these days. Emojis are actually a digital extension of a long human history of looking at faces and images.
There are many ways to define an Emoji. Emojis can simply be images that you can insert into the text. In general, they are used as an extension of communication to add a new dimension of emotion or intensity.
You can do this for a variety of reasons, such as to be funny: or convey a type of emotion or its intensity: Suddenly, “I won’t be able to make it today” reads very different when sent as “ I won’t be able to make it today”. The emoji helps to give quick and easy context.
A category of Emojis that isn’t given as much attention as it deserves is the ASCII art emojis. These are simple, “vintage” emojis consisting of signs available in the Unicode Standard: an IT standard for the consistent encoding and representation of text expressed (currently, a total of 144,697 characters). There’s one to convey uncertainty: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, like a shrug, or one to convey a desire: ༼ つ ◕_◕ ༽つ, like a hug or food.
The Difference Between an Emoji, an Emoticon, and a Meme.
The term “emoticon” is often used interchangeably with the term “emoji” while in fact, it is not the same. Emoticons are a typographic display of a facial representation, used to convey emotion in a text-only medium, such as 😉
On the other hand, memes are more general terms than emojis. They describe some cultural concept, behavior, or “mood.” It can be an image, a video, a piece of text, et cetera. Memes are usually humorous, but it is not a rule.
When and How To Use Emojis at Work?
Now back to the modern professional times that we live in, using emojis just simply helps us to convey a more full message along with the emotional intent involved.
When To Use Emojis At Work?
When we talk out loud, we don’t speak with a monotone voice in the way text might be read. We say things with emotion like the way we go screaming down a roller coaster or solemnly give a sad goodbye to a loved one.
And when text is not enough and emotion-filled words are too much, we find the middle ground of emojis. So there are certain times when it is best to use emojis — and that means there are also times when it is not OK to use them.
How To Use Emojis At Work?
The main aspect to consider when deciding to use emojis or not is the level of professionalism in the room; be it a real room or a chatroom. Generally, emojis should be reserved for situations where grammar and punctuation are less strict.
You may stumble upon public chat rooms, such as group Slack, Telegram, or Discord channels, where co-workers regularly discuss non-work-related topics or share jokes. It can be tough to discern the appropriate place for emojis, so it is best to follow the team members’ habits.
If your team mates already use emojis, send memes, or just joke around in general, that can help lead the way. Especially when it comes to communicating with your boss, wait for your boss to use emojis before you start doing so.
Sometimes, you will encounter situations when you don’t have that luxury of having others to follow, for instance when you need to give a public presentation. In that case, you must read the room so to speak, and determine if it’s more of a professional and strict setting or a relaxed and friendly setting.
If you are unsure, a simple smile 🙂 is always a simple and subtle way to test the waters. After all, smiles are welcomed and contagious. So, go ahead and see if your boss, co-worker, supervisor, et cetera is receptive to an added smile in your personal messages, and work from there.
Examples of Emojis Useful in the Workplace.
According to research conducted by FastCompany, using emojis at work is associated with certain caveats. For instance, the study participants had a hard time identifying many of the emojis in the study.
Out of the 10 different emojis listed in the study, only two: (“face with tears of joy”) and (“loudly crying face”) were properly identified by over 75% of participants.
This means that as a rule of thumb, it is better to use simple emojis at the workplace — or otherwise, you fall into danger of being misunderstood. The bottom line is: don’t try to be sophisticated when choosing emojis at the workplace. The simpler the better.
We list a few basic and useful emojis useful in the workplace setting below:
- Slightly Smiling Face. The most basic emoji is used to express a wide range of positive, happy, and friendly sentiments. WARNING: Its tone can also be patronizing, passive-aggressive, or ironic as if saying “This is fine” when it’s not. In other words, this emoji can be good news or bad news, depending on the context – reading it properly requires using emotional intelligence.
- Grinning Face: pleasure, cheer, or humor.
- Grinning Face with Big Eyes: happiness, amusement.
- Grinning Face with Smiling Eyes: happiness, amusement.
- Beaming Face With Smiling Eyes: radiant, gratified, happy.
- Grinning Squinting Face: excitement or hearty laughter.
- Grinning Face with Sweat: a close call, as if saying Whew! and wiping sweat from the forehead.
- Rolling on the Floor Laughing: hysterical laughter.
- Upside-Down Face: irony, sarcasm, joking, or a sense of goofiness or silliness
- Winking Face: signals a joke, hidden meaning, or general positivity. The tone varies, including playful, affectionate, suggestive, or ironic.
- Smiling Face with Smiling Eyes: genuine happiness and warm, positive feelings.
- Smiling Face with Open Hands: offering thanks and support, showing care, or expressing warm, positive feelings in general
- Face with Hand Over Mouth: shock or surprise.
- Waving Hand: “hello” or “goodbye.”
- OK Hand: “I’m okay” or “yes, that’s correct.”
- Thumbs Up: approval.
- Clapping Hands: a round of applause.
- Raising Hands: celebrating success or another joyous event.
- Folded Hands: a respectful greeting or a prayer.
For more examples, please check emojipedia.org
When NOT To Use Emojis at Work?
Now in the 21st century, the recruitment process is still conservative and formal in nature. Emojis are a form of an informal code, therefore, they shouldn’t be used by strangers at work. After all, you don’t know your employer just yet, and you haven’t developed friendly relations and mutual trust just yet.
Therefore, as a rule of thumb, it is not OK to use emojis during a job interview, or when creating a professional document such as a resume, press note, cover letter, or professional recommendation.
Furthermore, remember that emojis can facilitate but cannot replace communication. For instance, if you need to apologize to someone at work, knocking at their door and saying, “I am sorry!” will be a much better solution than sending an emoji in an email.
Conclusion: Emojis at Work: Hot Or Not?
Emojis clearly have benefits for building the working culture as well as motivation at work. Everyone feels better when they can freely express themselves, and it’s a simple fact that better communication makes for better communities and builds motivation at work. Be it in the workplace or otherwise.
According to prof. Vyvyan Evans, the author of “The Emoji Code,” using emojis can help develop emotional intelligence. In face-to-face contact, as much as 70 per cent of our emotional expression tends to come from non-verbal cues. Emojis are a proxy for such non-verbal cues when it comes to written communication.
Also, be creative! Emojis are not only a chance to share emotions and joy at work but also, to be creative and release your fancy and humor. Many online emoji creators such as Avatoon allow you to surprise and amuse your colleagues by producing your own, original emoji.
So if you just remember to discern the level of professionalism, test the waters, and adapt, you will be an emotionally intelligent emoji master in no time! Good luck out there! 🙂
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Please cite as:
Wright, D., Bielczyk, N. (2022, May 23rd). Emojis in the Workplace: Hot or Not? Retrieved from https://ontologyofvalue.com/emojis-in-the-workplace-hot-or-not/
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