PEOPLE forced to work from home during the coronavirus pandemic should incorporate emojis in their emails, a University of Chichester psychologist has revealed.
Dr Moitree Banerjee wants Britain’s remote workers to start using more of the ideograms and smileys to compensate for losing as much as 93 per cent of non-verbal communication cues, taken from body language and tone of voice.
The advice comes as a new survey from market researchers Savanta revealed that more than half of the UK’s population are now working from home, following the government’s lockdown.
Clinical psychology researcher Dr Banerjee, who leads the psychology degrees at the University of Chichester, commented on the findings: “As we move over to emails, we lose all non-verbal communication cues.
“Adding emojis or images helps the reader decode the tone of the email.
“In the world of cyber psychology, emojis are termed as quasi-nonverbal cues – in other words, they are ideal to help you convey your attitude to the readers.
“They allow receivers to correctly understand the level and direction of emotion, attitude, and expression.”
Research shows that as much as 55 per cent of non-verbal communication is taken from a person’s body language, including facial expressions and eye contact, while another 38 per cent comes from the pitch and tonality of their voice.
While scientific work into non-verbal cues is nothing new, having been first examined in the 1960s, a report by the International Journal of Business Communication last year found that employees with colleagues and managers who were transparent in their communication – whether in-person or by email – were happier in their jobs.
More than five billion emojis are sent every day, according to Facebook, with the face crying tears of joy proving to be the most popular.
The best emojis to use in emails or online messaging, according to Dr Banerjee, are simple icons that can be easily and quickly interpreted by the receiver.
Dr Banerjee added: “This coronavirus pandemic is unnatural for everyone – but finding small ways of improving our lives while working at home, such as using emojis in online communication, can make work feel better.
“I’ve had very positive feedback from both academic colleagues and students so far and would urge everyone to tailor it for themselves”