So much of our communication these days is through text or social media. We share selfies, retweet memes, and tick “like” on content we enjoy. It’s all very informal and fun. Still, we should be careful about letting it spill over into our professional lives.
As the Telegraph reports, a new study by researchers in Israel found that using emojis, such as a smiley face, in work emails had a negative effect. Correspondence which included a light-hearted smiley face was perceived to signify less competence, suggesting the sender was acting in an unprofessional manner. Interestingly, those reading the emails also assumed that the sender was female, not male.
Using emojis might also impact how a colleague responds to an email.
“The study also found when the participants were asked to respond to emails on formal matters their answers were more detailed and they included more content-related information when the email did not include a smiley,” Dr. Ella Glikson noted. “We found that the perceptions of low competence if a smiley is included in turn undermined information sharing,”
In other words, recipients seemed to take the email less seriously.
It’s a fascinating study, and I wonder if attitudes will change as our society grows more and more reliant on tech-speak and social media. For now, however, it’s a clear indicator that you should save cutesy emojis for when you’re off the clock.