These days, emojis are almost everywhere—from email and Slack communications to Instagram and iMessage.
They’re a part of everyday language, helping to convey sentiment, personality, and purpose to make virtual interactions a little more enjoyable.
That being said, when choosing emojis for the workplace, it’s vitally important to use your best judgement. In some cases, appropriate emoji use will depend on who you’re messaging—but you’ll always want to keep it on the PG side.
“Echo the energy of the person on the other side of your conversation, and try to keep the same emojis in rotation as they do,” suggests Dr. Tzur Gabi, Co-Founder of Caligenix. However, the “water,” “peach,” and “eggplant” emojis should never be used in the workforce.
“These are emojis that have been corrupted by NSFW shorthands and despite their innocuous appearance are so commonly used in inappropriate settings that they should be avoided altogether,” adds Dr. Gabi.
“Just because the person on the other end of your message may know you meant the emoji literally, we all know what it’s usually used for.”
Below, we’ve outlined some of the safest emojis to use on Slack—these go-to smiley faces will ensure you’re perceived in a positive light without accidentally crossing the line or coming off as overly friendly, or worse, inappropriate.
The starry eyed emoji
“The starry eyed emoji is the perfect choice for using on Slack as it reinforces a culture of openness at the workplace,” explains Adam Garcia, CEO at The Stock Dork.
“It shows excitement and the motivation to work. The best part about using this emoji is that it isn’t very informal, yet it conveys a friendly message.”
The smiley face emoji
According to Janelle Lara LLC, Founder of The Part-Time CEO™, the smiley face emoji is a great option to use when you want to emphasize that your message is coming off as friendly rather than stern or strict.
“That sounds great” feels insincere. “That sounds great!” may feel too eager. “That sounds great :)” hits the mark by showing an appropriate amount of emotion, energy, and enthusiasm.
The sad face emoji
“The plain, frowning sad face emoji does the best job of communicating the emotion, without trivializing or exaggerating what the person on the other end may be feeling,” explains Lara.
“I’m sorry to hear that” alone could come off as patronizing, while “I’m sorry to hear that! :’(” Could feel like an exaggeration. “I’m sorry to hear that :(“ feels sincere, and still appropriate.
The chart increasing emoji
This is an incredible emoji to use when celebrating or sharing wins, as it gives a visible picture to the company’s goal, growth.
“Your boss will love seeing the increase, right before their eyes!” adds Lara.
The first bump emoji
According to Martin Seeley, Chief Executive Officer at MattressNextDay, the first bump emoji is a great option to encourage teamwork and a job well done while still remaining totally professional and appropriate for all members of the team.
The clapping emoji
It might seem basic or overly enthusiastic, but, according to Seeley, the clapping emoji is one of the best ways to motivate the team to keep going while also celebrating everything they’ve accomplished.
Raised hands emoji
“You can use this emoji when celebrating the team’s success or just for any joyous event,” shares Chris Muktar, Founder of WikiJob.
It’s also a great way to say an informal thank you to a colleague.
The thumbs up emoji
You can use the thumbs up emoji when you want to tell someone that they did great or to show understanding or agreement to something.
The party popper emoji
“It’s a good norm and practice to celebrate your accomplishments and achievements whether you work from home or office,” says Kristi Stoll, Founder at KidVisionaires.
“This emoji denotes celebrations and achievements very appropriately.”