Considering the average American sends and receives about 32 textsÂ per day, according to Informate, it’s quite easy to fall into the trap of including the all too familiar smiley face emoticon in your emails at work. But the question is, when communicating with colleagues in the workplace, should workers hit “send” on that smiley face?
According to research from the staffing firm OfficeTeam, moderation is key. Nearly 4 in 10 (39%) senior managers interviewed said it’s unprofessional to include emojis or emoticons in work communications, but 61% stated it’s OK, at least in certain situations. When office workers were asked how they feel about these symbols, 59% said they never or only sparingly use them, while 41% send them at least sometimes.
“Emojis and emoticons are showing up just about everywhere, but that doesn’t mean they’re always appropriate for the workplace,” said Brandi Britton, a district president for OfficeTeam. “While using these symbols can help employees convey their feelings and personalities in written communications, they can also be distracting and appear unprofessional.”
The OfficeTeam offers workers compiled five tips for using emojis and emoticons:
- Limit it. Use emojis and emoticons minimally, if at all. Going overboard with these icons could annoy others and muddle your message.
- Consider your audience. Be mindful of the corporate culture and your relationship with those you’re communicating to. Sending an occasional smiley face to a work friend may be OK, but is less so when interacting with your boss or company leaders.
- Evaluate the situation. Including these images can add levity, but it depends on the topic. Leave them out when discussing serious matters, as it can appear awkward or rude.
- Stick to what you know. Don’t use an emoji or emoticon if you aren’t absolutely certain what it represents and how it will be received. Some symbols can be taken the wrong way or have multiple meanings.
- Just say it. When in doubt, rely on words to get your point across. Opt for in-person or phone discussions with colleagues if it’s helpful to see facial expressions or hear vocal inflections.
What are your thoughts about using emojis or emoticons in work communications? Leave me a comment below.