Slack says emoji like party parrot have a massive impact on workplace productivity — because typing words is too hard

July 17 is World Emoji Day. Image: Getty Images
  • In Australia more than 1.1 million emoji reactions — or “reacji” — are sent on workplace messaging platform Slack each week.
  • Arturo Arrarte, head of Asia-Pacific growth at Slack, told Business Insider Australia the use of emojis has a “huge impact on productivity”.
  • Arrarte spoke to Business Insider Australia ahead of World Emoji Day on 17 July, an annual celebration of the emojis we know and love.

July 17 is World Emoji Day, which celebrates the tiny digital icons you’ve probably sent several times already today.

While emojis have become a staple in modern personal communications, their use has drifted over to the business world in a big way.

In Australia more than 1.1 million ‘reacjis’ (emoji reactions) are sent on workplace messaging platform Slack each week. And the company says their use is not just cute but actually boosts productivity.

“The whole idea of emojis and reacjis [is] that tongue in cheek approach to the way we work,” Arturo Arrarte, head of growth at Slack told Business Insider Australia.

Arrarte added that the scale of adoption of reacjis has “a huge impact on productivity”.

“Especially for executives who are on the road on their phone,” he said. “It changes the game because they’re no longer having to do all the overhead of typing characters on their phone. [They say] ‘hey I’ve clicked a button – I’ve already finished that task’.”

He added that emoji can allow businesses make workflow processes more efficient. “Rather than typing ‘I approve’ or being able to say ‘this needs to go into this process’, you can actually react with a thumbs up or a green tick and that can actually kick off an approval in other systems like your CRM or Salesforce.” 

A number of companies have jumped onboard the use of emoji at work, a Slack spokesperson told Business Insider Australia.

For example, accounting platform Xero uses emojis to solve customer issues faster, adding icons to indicate someone picking up an issue, while co-working space Fishburners uses emojis to add more flair in their communications and the US Government has distributes a ‘Slack handbook’ filled with types of emojis that are appropriate for official usage.

A study by software company TechSmith found 67% of employees perform better when communicated with visually compared to text alone. It also highlighted that employees absorb information much faster with visual icons.

Emoji began with the humble emoticon (remember :-) ) and have ballooned to everything from the thumbs up to the dancing salsa girl to heavily-trending party parrot Party Parrot, a delightfully hip bird that dances in sunnies. World Emoji Day — which was developed by Jeremy Burge, the founder of Emojipedia, in 2014 — shows the communication method’s coming of age.

For World Emoohi Day 2019, Apple announced it is adding 59 new emojis to the iPhone in spring 2019, including more disability-themed emojis as well as new foods and animals.

In addition, new Indigenous emojis are going to be rolled out across Android and iOS such as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags and a boomerang, the Guardian reported.

These set of emojis were designed by young Aboriginal people in central Australia.

New emojis can only be added to the official set by The Unicode Consortium, the Guardian reported, which sets the industry standards for text used on modern software.

So go ahead and send a party parrot to everyone you can think of. In the name of workplace productivity, of course.

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