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Less meetings, more likeable: How emojis changed the vibe at work

Workers in an office around a laptop
Emojis are making virtual work better. (Source: Getty)

Love dropping an emoji in the team chat at work? So does pretty much everyone else, and for good reason: the use of emojis makes remote work easier, makes you more likeable, and can even get you out of meetings, a new study has revealed.

The majority of workers around the world (69 per cent) use emojis at work – and like it when other people do, too (66 per cent).

That’s according to Adobe’s 2021 Global Emoji Trends report, released ahead of World Emoji Day (17 July), which surveyed 7,000 people across the US, the UK, Germany, France, Japan, Australia, and South Korea.

The little digital icons make us better at communication: more than seven in 10 believe emoji use at work helps in sharing ideas more quickly (73 per cent), make decision-making more efficient (63 per cent) and even reduces the need for calls or meetings (51 per cent).

(Source: 2021 Global Emoji Trend Report, Adobe)
(Source: 2021 Global Emoji Trend Report, Adobe)

And those who use emojis may be earning themselves more brownie points: workers said they felt emojis positively impact likability (71 per cent) and credibility (62 per cent), the survey found.


Using these icons could also make one a better boss, with just over half of Gen Z workers saying they’d be more satisfied if their team or boss used more emojis in work-based communications.

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And if you’re trying to give someone praise or positive feedback, emojis can make you come across as more sincere, two in three people (66 per cent) believe.

“These cute, colourful pictograms are full of communication power,” said Adobe typeface designer and font developer Paul Hunt.

“Language can be very abstract, and this is especially the case when much of our communication is done in the digital realm — without seeing someone’s facial expressions or gestures or hearing their tone of voice,” he said.

Emojis can help us better understand tone of voice, gestures, and emotional reactions, Hunt added.

“This is the potential strength of emoji: to help us connect more deeply to the feeling behind our messages sent by digital text.”

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These digital icons also seem to have persuasive power, and can even influence behaviour: six in 10 Australians said they were more likely to open emails or push notifications that have an emoji.

More than one in three (36 per cent) will actually be more tempted to buy a product if it’s advertised using an emoji, and nearly half of all Aussies see brands that communicate through emojis as more relatable.

Australia’s favourite emojis

While your most frequently-used emojis will certainly look different to every other person, there are some that are used most in the Australian workplace: and that’s the thumbs up emoji (👍).

Australian users rate this emoji as the most effectively motivating, followed by the clapping emoji (👏).

Most effective emojis at motivating workers
(Source: 2021 Global Emoji Trend Report, Adobe)

In third place is the ‘ok hand’ emoji (👌), commonly used to signal agreement, approval, or a job well done.

Outside of the workplace, the emoji most-used by Australians overall is the thumbs-up emoji again.

This is followed by the ‘crying laughter’ face (😂); the ‘sad but relieved’ face (😥); the tear drop face (😢); and then the red love heart (❤️) in fifth place.

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