HALF of UK workers feel they have grown closer to their colleagues during the pandemic – despite being forced to work separately from their homes.
Research of 2,000 adults currently working remotely revealed 53 per cent believe they now have a better understanding of their colleagues as human beings.
And 43 per cent think it’s easier now to actually connect with their colleagues than it was when they were in the same office.
Over the past year, workers have bonded by virtually meeting their colleagues’ pets (44 per cent), and by learning about their interests through their backgrounds on video calls (40 per cent).
Almost four in 10 (38 per cent) even feel they have become closer to those they work with after meeting their family over video calls, while 37 per cent have had more opportunities to message about personal interests.
More than a third (36 per cent) also said informal communication has allowed them to see more of their colleague’s personalities, which has also helped them to get to know each other.
Commissioned by Slack, the survey was completed after reaching the one-year milestone of many people beginning to work from home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It also found 59 per cent believe communication between colleagues has become much more informal since beginning to work remotely.
Nearly four in 10 (37 per cent) “always” or “often” send emojis, with the ‘thumbs up’ emoji revealed to be the most popular (47 per cent).
Stuart Templeton, Head of Slack in the UK, said: “Especially during a time when many of us are working remotely, emoji have given us a way to express ourselves more quickly, clearly and with joy.
“While emoji can be playful, they’re far from counter-productive. In fact, emoji can help unlock nuances that make interactions more empathetic, authentic and efficient.
“Nobody wants another ‘reply all’ email, but a quick ‘thumbs up’ emoji is great.
“As companies look to reinvent work with new and better tools and methods of communication, one thing is for certain: emoji in the workplace are here to stay.”
The study revealed Brits are maintaining office banter and their sense of humour during lockdowns, with the ‘crying with laughter’ emoji (or face with tears of joy) being the second most popular emoji for respondents to use with their co-workers, followed by the blushing face with smiling eyes (26 per cent).