How to use emoji at work

Posted on Wednesday, July 17, 2019 by Abby Draper

By Abigail Draper, OSCPA communication & engagement manager 

Happy World Emoji Day! Apple and Google designed dozens of new emoji to celebrate — from sloths to garlic to a range a diverse people (new skin tones and those in wheelchairs, for example). Concerned emoji balloon.

With the popularity using emoji in our everyday lives, is it appropriate to use them in the office? Here are some dos and don’ts of workplace emoji usage.

Dan Gingiss, author for Forbes, said emoji can be helpful in the customer service sector. Digital customer service provider, Sparkcentral, created an “emoji cloud” for monitoring customer’s emoji usage when submitting a concern. They found that customers are using them more frequently to show how they feel about their situations. 

When customers are sharing their emotions, it’s important for those interacting with them to reciprocate to build trust and show empathy. “A good rule of thumb for agents is to mirror the poster's tone when appropriate,” Gingiss said. “If they use an emoji, it's fine to use one back. I also like agents proactively using emojis to communicate.”

Constant Contact shared a list of ways to use emoji in email subject lines to stand out. Even if you email is serious or your audience is conservative, you can still get away with using something like a graph or thumbtack emoji, says Constant Contact.

They also say to make sure the emoji are relevant — if you’re talking about a target, use a target emoji and not something unrelated. As long as you’re using relevant emoji and not an overabundance, they can be an attention-grabbing addition to your email campaigns.

Know the person you’re messaging. If your boss has sent emoji to you before or seems carefree, go for it (tastefully). But, if you have concerns about how she will react, don’t risk it. Also, make sure your message is universally clear.

Some emoji mean different things to different people, like the two hands together image (🙏) that can be seen as praying or a high-five. Likewise, don’t use too many emoji. For example, in 2015, Chevrolet wrote a press release entirely in emoji. Honestly, I tried to understand it and don’t want to take any more time to do so — it’s too much. Don’t confuse your co-workers or customers with too many emoji, they’re likely to just ignore the message.

Overall, it seems people are generally OK with emoji in the workplace. As long as you are aware of what you’re sending and the audience to which you are sending it, emoji can be used to your advantage.

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