In 2020, five billion emojis will be sent each day on social media. This number is only going to increase. The word emoji, despite its popularity for decades, can still seem frivolous.

Emojis are a great way to express yourself, and they can be used in a variety of ways. They’re also incredibly useful for today’s dispersed workforce.

The Japanese term “emoji” means “picture character”. Its history dates back to late 1800s, when an American humor magazine began using typographic characters to express a variety of emotions. Emojis are now a major part of social communication, and have come a long way since their humble beginnings. Its applications in professional communication, however, are even more compelling. This is especially true as we move away from the old 9-to-5 office-based top-down attendance system to one that is more distributed, remote and productive.

The importance of connecting has never been greater. With the advent of the digital headquarters and nearly 80 percent employees preferring flexibility, it is now more important than ever. Channel-based messaging provides a deeper connection, is transparent, efficient, effective and secure. It is also more efficient and effective than email. Slack is the hub for digital HQs around the world, with up to 300,000 messages being sent per second. Emojis can convey a variety of emotions to these messages, which is much faster and more efficient than formal responses. A new generation of workers has been exposed to emojis from an early age. You want to hire people who are fluent in emojis.

Slack has more than 50,000,000 custom emojis created by companies. The number of custom emojis is increasing, and with it the need for etiquette guides and suggested usage cases. Reactions, or “reacjis”, are the most common method of using emojis to increase efficiency. Slack reactions in Australia have increased 61% over the past year. These can be added to any message, and they allow for more efficient workflows by reducing the time spent on back-and forth.

  • The ‘eyes emoji’ means you’re looking at something.
  • The ‘tick emoji’ signifies that a task has been successfully completed.
  • You can say yes or no by giving a thumbs-up or thumbs-down
  • Use the emoji number “one” to select a preference in a list.

Emojis are also used to show status in Slack – when someone is taking a break for lunch, on the commute, or slow to respond, etc. They can improve the “psychological security” of the office, allowing everyone to work more comfortably.

Emojis help Canva’s ‘Canvanauts,’ who are spread across Australia, China, the Philippines and the United States, make their channel-based messages more expressive and productive. Canva, ranked as one of Australia’s best workplaces, uses Slack in order to showcase its diverse, supportive and unapologetically quirk company culture. Canvanauts can use emoji reactions to show their appreciation for colleagues who embody the company values.

The language and communication between humans are constantly evolving. As the tools that we use to communicate change, so too must our communication within them. Emojis can make the workplace more enjoyable, efficient, and human. They can influence company culture in a positive way by encouraging feedback and engagement. It is possible to shine through in a way which can be difficult for others or even more difficult across physical distances.

This is often overlooked and dismissed. But we have seen that this is part of a larger, fundamental shift towards a happier, engaging work environment. Emojis are more than a century old but they are an important part of the work of tomorrow.