Emojis are popular, but when is it appropriate to use them? In an office environment, it may seem unclear when the right or wrong time to use an emoji is. There are certain situations when adding even a smiley face emoticon can come across unprofessionally.
Even though it is just a small graphic, emojis can mean a lot. According to a study by GroupLens Research about emojis, they can often be interpreted in the wrong way and there is room for miscommunication. Not only can emojis be misconstrued on their own, it could be misinterpreted even further when used in a work environment.
Here are some of the worst situations to use an emoji at work:
1. The moment you receive any kind of sad news
It might sound obvious on the surface but when you get sad news – no matter how small – it is not appropriate to send a sad-face emoji. Do you really want to come off as sarcastic when you find out that your colleague’s laptop is broken and their day’s worth of work is gone.
2. Serious topics
It might slide by if you were talking to your friend about something serious over iMessage, but it won’t be the best reaction to any serious message at work. Sending an emoji as a reply for a serious topic at work might come across as immature.
3. Your first email to someone
First impressions are important. When you send your first email to someone for work-related reasons, adding an emoji won’t make your email seem more exciting or sharp. There are many ways that you can express what you need to say without using emojis, like exclamation points, other forms of punctuation, and especially your word choice.
4.🚪😘🐝🙈😈🎿🚁🙄🙋 (String of emojis)
What does that string of emojis even mean? People don’t want to spend their work day deciphering tiny graphics; a message isn’t meant to look like a cave painting.
5. Striking emojis
Any emoji that could be interpreted harshly should not be used at work. This includes several including the winky emoji, heart emoji, gun emoji, and knife emoji.
6. Before, during, or after a meeting
If you’re meeting with your team and communicating online at any point, messaging the crying face emoji is not going to make the meeting go by any faster. In a situation like this, it would be rude to use something like an emoji as feedback for the meeting.
7. Using it as a whole sentence
There is a difference in the sincerity between “thank you” and just an emoji within an email. A graphic does not do the same job as words can do in this case. Texting outside of work and talking to coworkers online are very different and should not be treated the same.
All of these situations where an emoji is used at work can come across unprofessionally. Maybe it is best to skip over the emoji tab on your phone, email, or app the next time you send an important message.