Emojis in the Workplace

Is there a place for emojis and GIFs in the workplace?

MS Teams has released some reaction emojis to be used in meetings. My initial reaction was Really?…. Do we need emojis in a meeting?… I thought at the very least it will be an icebreaker when someone sends a love heart in the middle of a meeting !

But it did get me thinking, at what point did it become ok to use these tools in the corporate environment? Many moons ago Skype for Business released emojis in their Instant Message feature and most clients immediately disabled them as they “aren’t appropriate”. Yet here we are, several years later, sending laughing faces and thumbs up during a team catch up.

However, emojis aren’t just for internal use, they are customer facing too. Our contact centre platform has hundreds of them (who knew there were that many!) and MS Teams has a good selection too.
The simple fact is, to keep up, we need to embrace the channels that our staff and our customers wish to use and emojis are quite simply a part of that now. Sending an a smiley face icon tells the contact centre agent that you are happy with the service, who needs to type words?

Sending a GIF of someone pulling a silly face whilst punching the air shouting “Yeah” is a great way to let my colleague know that we won that deal….

So, after my initial reaction, which as our wonderful Apprentice Tavian points out is my age 😱😆, I absolutely agree there is a place for them (Like what I did there? emoji to place context – it’s says cheeky but I’m not offended!).

It actually leads right back round as to why consultancy and training are key to an organisation. You can’t just enable or disable a feature, you need to educate staff and empower them to make informed decisions – it’s about how your business wants staff to use tools available and about the culture of the organisation. What might be appropriate for one client may not be for another.

So, now you have heard my thoughts on emojis in the workplace, lets show you the new Teams feature; The Raise Hand feature is now combined with the reactions to create “Live Reactions”.

Click on the Reaction icon to see the options.

When you click a reaction it shows on your video pane for a few seconds.

It’s actually a great way to get immediate feedback.

I cannot tell you how many times I have completed training remotely and I say to a bunch of blank tiles, “is everyone ok with that ? Any questions?” to be met with silence. Now I can say “Hit a reaction to let me know if you are ok with what I have just shown you or raise your hand if you have a question”.

But this is the really cool bit that you may not see unless someone shows you…

If you are presenting a Powerpoint or similar, the emojis show in the participant list on the right but they also float up on the screen like we see in Facebook Live – this looks great if you have a lot of participants!

microsoft teams reactions

However, if you aren’t keen to allow this feature, fear not!  When you schedule your meeting just ensure you disable reactions in the meeting options.