Emoticons used by 95% of knowledge workers, study finds (truestory)

| November 21, 2016

hipchat_emoticonsAt HipChat, we heart-14177525862x us some emoticons. We use them all the time in our team chats and conversations, and they’re a big part of our company culture. We love them so much, we conducted a study to see how people are using emoticons in the workplace.

Our results show that people are not only using emoticons and emojis in their workplace communications but also feel that they positively influence the way they work with their teams. For instance, 95% of people said they’re likely to send an emoticon to a coworker.

Emoticon usage in the workplace is alive and well. Let’s see what else emoticons are doing for teams.

But first. An emoticon…isn’t that like an emoji? philosoraptor-14177542002x

Well, yes and no. Emoticons came first in the world of shorthand communication, and were formed by typing symbols on your keyboard such as : ) for a happy face or : ( for a sad face.

Emojis, then, were the next iteration of this phenomenon, when mobile devices started loading in pre-created images to their devices.

Emoticons have evolved to represent a word or phrase, such as “true story” truestory-14139203182x. But, history lesson aside, here’s what we learned.

Emoticons help teammates make personal connections

These results get us really excited because we are all about teams and how they can work together better. And sure, agile processes are awesome and all, but feeling a personal connection to your coworkers is what really makes people happy on teams.

In our study, 62% of people reported feeling closer to their coworkers through using emoticons in their chats and conversations.

How awesome-14177544922x (awesome) that something as simple as a tableflip-14140319372x  (table flip) can help people feel closer to each other.

And emoticons can help bridge the friend/coworker divide. For instance, nearly half of respondents (49%) reported they would send the same emoji to a coworker as to a friend. Maybe that’s because emoticons help them share more of their personality, or just plain have fun, as 61% reported using emoticons to add emotion or personality to a message.

Emoticons help teams communicate better

Sometimes words just won’t do. In fact, they can muck up a lot of things. In this study, we found that 56% agree that using emoticons improves communication in the workplace.

You can pack tons of meaning into a simple smile2x and show approval with thumbs_up2x (thumbsup). Celebrate major wins with success-14140259482x (success), and get your teammates’ help with nearly anything with the promise of a beer-14140226612x (beer).

For any tone you’re trying to convey, emoticons can help with that, too. 51% of people said that using emoticons helps them better communicate tone.

Like humor! 56% of people use emojis to make people laugh. And who doesn’t enjoy a good laugh at work? It’s totally therapeutic!

Emoticons mirror company culture doge-14140290482x

56% of people believe that emoticon usage reflects a company’s culture (like friendly, hip, or modern). It breaks those stodgy corporate buttoned-up barriers down. We’re all people at the end of the day, no matter if we work in finance or at a trendy startup.

But, some barriers still apply when it comes to emoticon usage. For instance, 73% of people wouldn’t use the same emoticons with their boss that they’d use with co-workers. Which makes sense, right? Your boss might not love to be addressed with a sultry heygirl-14136844512x (heygirl), but then again, you could always try whynotboth-14140290732x (whynotboth).

And, 34% of people report thinking they receive too many emoticons in the workplace, so make sure your message has some substance to it, too

Emoticon game strong bicepright-14177545762x

Well, now you know. Emoticons for business are here to stay. Is your mindblown-14178063412x (mindblown)? Shout it from the rooftops! Check out all the emoticons available in HipChat, and you can even make your own! Not yet on HipChat? Get your team started for free.