The Rise Of Emojis In The Office

Emojis in the workplace

What would a text message conversation be without the use of emojis? We’re all so used to seeing them on social media and in our own messages that it would perhaps be considered normal to use them in the workplace.

But the workplace is an entirely different environment, a place where professionalism rules above all else. By their very nature, emojis are perhaps one of the most casual ways to communicate with people. Simple and easy to use, they allow people to convey a large range of emotions quickly and easily and can change the tone of a conversation – a simple smiley face 🙂 can turn what sounds like a negative comment either neutral or positive.

Millennials Approve of Emojis

A new survey from Microsoft and YouGov looked into the attitudes of working millennials when it comes to the use of emojis, often called emoticons as well. This is the generation most likely to use them, particularly given that they have grown up with the evolution of technology, emoticons included.

The study, perhaps unsurprisingly, found that millennials felt that emojis were perfectly fine to use in the workplace. 70% of the respondents agreed that emoticons could be used in a right way in the workplace.

What the right way means however, is being used with the correct people. When used with friends or colleagues, millennials were okay with using emojis with 88% using them. When it came to using them with their boss or with clients, they were much less comfortable using them.

This is understandable of course, while emoticons are perfectly fine amongst friends, there is a professional limit to their use when dealing with people higher up. When dealing with customers, it is perhaps even more important to portray a professional and corporate approach, unless your company’s culture would explicitly promote them.

Using The Correct Emojis

While the millennial generation is most comfortable using emojis, the type of emoji being used is very important. The study found that when receiving positive feedback, they appreciated emoticons more. So receiving ‘You did great work! 🙂 from a boss would make them feel happy or proud.

On the other hand, emojis were not appreciated when bad news was being given; in fact it was found that they do not make uncomfortable situations less awkward. As well as this, any manager or boss who wants to start using emojis with their staff should be careful to avoid ‘love-related’ emoticons.

These were found to make millennials feel uncomfortable with 63% responding that they would feel embarrassed or awkward if their boss sent them a response with a heart emoticon. So beware the emojis you use!

While this study focused on the millennial generation, it is important to note that the older generation can, and perhaps do, use emojis as well. The benefit to an emoji is that it is not limited to an age group or professional status so anyone can use them effectively.

Will we see the rise of emoticons more in work correspondence as they become more popular in society? You may one day think nothing of receiving or sending emojis to your boss or clients!

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Sarah Jubb
Sarah Jubb

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