From cutting down on committing times to conducting (camera off) business meetings in your pyjamas, there are many positives to working remotely.
However, if you feel like you’ve fallen into a trap of embellishing every email you send with an emoji, use several exclamation marks to convey a friendly tone (especially if you’re a woman) or are partial to a LOL at the end of a sentence for fear of offending, you’ve fallen into the communication quandary known as Slack-splaining.
While you might think this way of working is harmless in the grand scheme of things, it’s making us less productive to the tune of $128 billion (£107 billion) per year. That’s according to Loom’s study of 3,000 knowledge workers in the UK and US, which found that fear of being misinterpreted by colleagues amounts to 19 additional minutes per day rereading emails and 18 minutes per day explaining any confusion that may have arisen from an instant messaging (IM) app like Slack.
The communication software company’s research also uncovered that 97 per cent of workers feel the need to add embellishments like emojis and unnecessary exclamation marks when communicating with co-workers to convey a friendly tone in case what they’ve said is misinterpreted. Loom also found that 93 per cent of respondents believe they must write several sentences to fully explain something instead of prioritising speed for fear of it being misinterpreted, which ultimately ends up slowing them down.
The research above shows how Slack-splaining makes you less productive but is it also making you appear less professional? The answer is yes if you work with an older demographic. That’s according to data compiled by Survey Monkey which found that 29 per cent of older professionals (45 and older) find emoji use unprofessional in a work setting and also added that this form of communication made their colleagues appear less genuine.
Conversely, younger generations (Millennials and Generation Z) rely on emojis to express their feelings (53 per cent) and equate emoji use with approachability (43 per cent and kindness (35 per cent).
And it’s not just an age gap that is widening the possibility of IM communication getting lost in translation; women have always been particularly susceptible to Slack-splaining, even before remote work became the norm. A 2006 study published in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication found that 73 per cent of exclamation use in emails comes from female workers for fear of coming off rude or unfriendly.
So, what can you do about Slack-splaining going forward? If you feel like your relationship with your colleagues has taken a hit, try and schedule a face-to-face meeting or approach your manager about arranging an in-office day to allow everyone to reconnect in a more informal setting.
Or if you feel like you need a clean slate, free of Slack-splaining lexicon legacy, it could be time to look for a new role so you can start afresh, free from the shackles of smiley face and thumbs up emojis. If so, The London Economic Job Board is a great place to start as it’s filled with hundreds of roles with industry leaders that are currently, like our three top picks below.
Chief Compliance Officer – Global Payment – UK, ByteDance, London
ByteDance, the company that includes TikTok in its portfolio of products, is seeking a Chief Compliance Officer for its UK payments centre. The successful candidate will play an integral role in assisting with compliance decisions and will act as a strategic partner on the leadership team. You’ll also build strong working relationships with regulatory bodies, notably the FCA, review legislation and act as the money laundering reporting officer. See the full job spec here.
Senior Machine Learning Optimisation Engineer, Microsoft, Reading
Working within the Microsoft Applied Sciences Group, the Senior Machine Learning Optimisation Engineer will work on several exciting projects that will shape how computers and other devices perceive the user and the user’s environment. The ideal candidate should have a PhD or similar degree in computer vision or machine learning, publications in top-tier conferences or journals, three years experience of Python or C++, experience in deep learning and its different toolkits, in particular Pytorch or Tensorflow. Apply now.
Credit Risk Analyst, Monzo, London
Monzo’s borrowing business is growing rapidly and the online bank is adding a Credit Risk Analyst to its borrowing team. Day-to-day tasks will include leading work streams to improve credit underwriting, boost growth and manage portfolio risk. You’ll also be responsible for delivering market insight, developing customer-lending strategies and overseeing the development of credit models to protect cash flows. Find out more here.