New emoji pack to help with your remote work balance

Sharing more about your WFH reality helps your team come together

An illustration by Slack to accompany piece on remote work
Image Credit: Ping Zhu

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When we first released statuses in Slack, we included a few default status updates so that you could let colleagues know whether you were on vacation, offline, sick or, perhaps, working remotely.

We picked these because when working in the office together is the norm, it’s useful to let people know when you’re not in the building. As it turns out, times change. And so does the way we work together.

According to our customers (and our own recent experience!), when the majority—if not all—of your company is “working remotely,” that status is basically useless. Instead, you need to give a little more information or context around your availability.

To that end, and with people who might be new to Slack particularly in mind, we’ve created a handy set of custom emoji for using in your status (or in messages or reactions) for those moments when you need to convey more information.

This emoji pack for remote work is rolling out now and will be available to everyone in the coming days.

You can add this set of emoji by clicking the “add emoji” button within the emoji picker. If you still need help, here’s a link to our help center article on adding custom emoji to Slack.

A grayscale version of the Slack emoji picker

The images range from socially distanced high fives to heads-down work and family time. There’s even one about your cat’s love for your keyboard.

So what is it we’ve been hearing from our customers? And why this, rather than using the emoji that already exist?

Many of us are taking care of our children and/or supervising schoolwork during our normal work hours. The Unicode set of emoji covers family groups and teachers, but not the more realistic sense of, My children require all my attention… and they require it right now! Whereas in the past we might occasionally have gone out to lunch, we’re more likely now to need to take a little extra time to make lunch.

There are also new emoji for instances when you might be used to signaling to your colleagues visually: Sitting at your desk with headphones on might communicate that you’re in a focused state, heads-down, and don’t want to be disturbed. Or we might need to take a moment to exercise, or take a deep breath before turning our minds back to work.

Of course, it’s always been possible to make a custom status. Some people might take one of the existing standard emoji set and imbue it with meaning by adding a custom message to mean “Do not disturb” or :school-bus: to designate time away from the keyboard for a school run. Others might have uploaded custom emoji to do the same job.

But to lend a helping hand to those who haven’t created their own, we worked with artist Jen Lewis (we’ve been fans of her work in the field of emoji for years) to create this set. If you like them, you can upload them all at once to use immediately, and an admin on your team can create a new set of custom default status suggestions to better reflect the needs of your team.

The new remote work "emoji pack" by artist Jen Lewis

This is by no means intended to be an exhaustive set of all the custom emoji for remote work that you could ever need—there are many more nuances that could be covered, depending on what people are working on and the way they work. These are merely the most frequently requested.

As time goes on, we’ll be expanding our emoji packs to meet more specific needs of different teams, languages and work cultures. But for now, if you want to upload this little set of helpful remote emoji (or “remoji”? Nah, but always worth trying), you can do so by clicking here.

Looking for more support for remote work? We have you covered:

About Slack

Slack has transformed business communication. It's the leading channel-based messaging platform, used by millions to align their teams, unify their systems, and drive their businesses forward. Only Slack offers a secure, enterprise-grade environment that can scale with the largest companies in the world. It is a new layer of the business technology stack where people can work together more effectively, connect all their other software tools and services, and find the information they need to do their best work. Slack is where work happens.