Emojis at Work: To Use or Not to Use?

Written by Salina Jivani

You’re pounding out a terse email to your team, but you don’t want to sound too leave on a dry note, so what do you do? Lighten the mood by trying to include a pleasant closing, and maybe perhaps you even throw in a smiley face for good measure. And that’s exactly why emojis exist—to add a warmer, more accurate feeling to a correspondence than what can sometimes be communicated through words.

But is it okay to use them at work? And if so, the more salient question is when is it okay to do so?

What the stats say

According to a study called The Dark Side of a Smiley: Effects of Smiling Emoticons on Virtual First Impressions, emoticons do not—contrary to popular belief—increase your chances of coming across as warm. Instead, they make people perceive you as less competent, making them question your opinions and ability.

So why use or even have emojis?

When a smiley is—and isn’t—okay

We know it’s tempting to insert those cute little faces right into your emails sometimes, but here are instances you should veer away from those tempting, bright icons:

– With someone you haven’t built a rapport or work relationship with
-With your manager or superiors
-In messages that are unclear or vague
-With clients
-In a formal work environment
-When relaying bad news or making an uncomfortable request

The silver lining is that there are instances when it’s perfectly acceptable to use emojis at work. For example, if you’re emailing your BFF who also happens to have landed a job at your company, smiley face away. Or if you’re working in a laid back team environment (usually techy places), it’s usually acceptable to use emoticons. Instant messenger-like platforms are also places where the use of emoticons are okay.

So while you’re out trying to be friendly and make light of the daily grind, don’t rule those smileys out of your work life forever, but it won’t hurt to pause and make sure that including those little boogers on your next email won’t harm your impeccable rep or work against you!

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