Express Yourself in the Workplace: Add a Smiley!

By Aminah Madihah

Ending that work email with an emoji might be a good idea - but it could also be risky.

To add an emoji or not… That is the question these days many young professionals have, especially those who have just embarked on their professional career journey. After all, we have a habit of texting or posting on social media with emojis on the daily. Is using emojis in a business setting considered unprofessional? Or could it be game-changing in the workplace?

For starters, using emojis while communicating with colleagues isn’t harmful; in fact it can enhance communication in the workplace. However, there is a time and place to how you can utilise emojis while at work. Here’s why you should include them in your messages, and also when you shouldn’t use them.

Why You Should Use Emojis

1. Fosters open communication and comfortable conversations
Adding emojis to your messages when talking to someone can give you a vibe that says “you’re cool”, and thus encourages others to engage in open and comfortable discussions. It can also act as an icebreaker when you’re interacting with a colleague for the first time to initiate a lighthearted and relaxed atmosphere in your conversations.

2. Convey nuance that texts alone cannot
Emojis act as a visual language that helps us convey emotions with precision and clarity. While words can sometimes fall short in capturing complex feelings, emojis offer a range of expressive symbols to depict joy 😄, sadness 😢, excitement 😃, or even skepticism 🤨. These tiny illustrations enable us to convey our messages with the intended emotional context, allowing others to better understand and connect with our underlying sentiments.

3. Cultural understanding and global communication
In our increasingly interconnected world, communication often transcends cultural boundaries. Emojis, with their universal visual language, help bridge the gaps created by language and cultural differences.

If you are working alongside employees from other nationalities, it might be difficult to read someone’s tone through text-only messages because of the language barrier. Thus, adding emojis could help you understand each other better.

When You Shouldn’t Use Emojis

1. When speaking to bosses or superiors
When it comes to communication within professional settings, particularly with bosses or superiors, the use of emojis requires careful consideration. According to SurveyMonkey, older professionals find the usage of emoji is unprofessional and they may be less receptive to emojis. We should keep the emoji usage within colleagues and clients that we’ve built a relationship with.

2. To fully replace words
You can’t just send someone a single 👍 if you’re good or a 👎 if you don’t agree with an idea presented by a coworker. The usage of emojis should still be kept to a minimum when in the workplace; it should help enhance communication - not replace proper communication completely.

3. In a workplace that is inherently more formal
While emojis have become widespread in digital communication, their suitability in inherently formal workplaces may be limited. In some corporate organisations where professionalism, clear communication, and adherence to the company’s norms are prioritised, it is advisable to refrain from using emojis.

Ultimately, the usage of emojis in the workplace depends on who and where you’re sending that message to. If you’re in a WhatsApp group chat with your teammates, then go ahead and use as many emojis and stickers as you want! But when you’re communicating with clients or superiors via email, you might want to rethink about adding too many emojis in it.

But hey, I’m sure a little 😊 wouldn’t hurt anyone, right? Tell us what you think at @Graduan!

Photo by wu yi on Unsplash.

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