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How to Effectively Use Emojis at Work

Do you use emojis at work? If so, you’re not alone.

These days, emojis are their own language. Some even argue that they’re a universal language. However, emoji usage and interpretation aren’t equal across all age groups.

“Generations have used language differently for hundreds of years to display youthful uniqueness,” said Dr. Dustin York, associate professor of communications at Maryville University. “In the 1990s, older generations didn’t connect with slang like ‘Da Bomb,’ and now the skull emoji means funny to GenZ while the crying laughing face means funny to Millennials.”

The question is how suitable the language is for the workplace. There are recent studies about the effectiveness of emojis within this space. Are they suitable for emails, or just instant messaging? Should you only send them within the company?  

According to a study by Loom, 77% have felt the need to use emojis in a work setting, with 25% saying they do so often.

Here’s what to know about using emojis at work.

💻 Keep emoji use casual

There’s no denying that emojis are a valid way to communicate. But they can’t replace words. And even if they could, take a moment to think about the specific words you use in the workplace and those you use outside of it. Odds are that the way you communicate varies given the setting you’re in.

Like words, emoji use is more appropriate on certain work channels. Try using emojis on chat apps such as Slack and Teams instead of using them in emails. Also, they tend to be more appropriate when you’re communicating with your team as opposed to an outward-facing client or customer.

💥 Use emojis to communicate nuances

A wonderful thing about emojis is that they can add emotion to a message and set a tone. This can help you at work when you’re asking a coworker for help with something or explaining where you’re coming from. Instead of accidentally insulting someone, rely on emojis to communicate nuances.

For example, a simple “thank you 🙌” will look more appealing than “thank you.”

💡 Remember emoji context is important

As briefly noted above, emojis can be like words. And you don’t always use the same words and phrases within the workplace as you would outside of it. Different emojis mean different things—especially given the context they’re in. Be careful to only use work-appropriate emojis within your work setting to avoid miscommunication and any awkwardness between you and your coworkers.

According to, these are safe emojis to use at work:

👩‍💼 👨‍💻 🙋‍😃 😎 🎉 🙌 💡 ✅ ➕ 💥 💼

While these emojis are less appropriate:

💩 💣 🍑 🔥 😜 😈 😘 👯

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