by Graham Pierrepoint
Let’s face it – when we’re texting or messaging family or friends, we’ve all used an emoji or two. It’s often useful to help convey mood or feeling outside of simple words and phrases. Emoji itself has become nothing short of a phenomenon lately, though the bubble may well have burst with The Emoji Movie having been met with derision from critics – is it the future of language? Who’s to say – but studies have shown that if you are the sort of person who enjoys signing off with a smiley or two, you may do well to leave this sort of behavior at home.
A study undertaken at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, based in Israel, has found that the use of happy, smiley emoji in professional correspondence such as internal work email could imply that the sender is incompetent at their job – and that, according to researcher Dr Ella Gilkson, smileys and emoji negatively impact positive impressions with regard to competency rather than offer the intended warmth they were inserted in the message for. This will likely come as a blow to some of the office’s more bubbly emailers – as it could mean that they are being perceived negatively, likely unfairly, by other members of the workforce.
It’s thought that research involved those participating to judge several work-based emails on competence and warmth – and the findings were rather conclusive – showing that not only were emoji-laden emails perceived to come from less competent staff, but less trust was placed in them in return. This means that those taking part in the study shared nowhere near as much information back as they did with those emailing without the odd smiley. This is a curious result – as it indicates that emoji in the workplace really is universally frowned upon.
It may be easy to slide in a smiling or winking face into the odd message or two, but this study proves that there is a time and a place for such banter – and that if you want to be taken seriously in the office, both by clients and by colleagues, it is perhaps for the best that you keep communication clear, simple, and free from any wacky faces. Take a deep breath and store your emoji fixation for your lunch break – as we’re sure your family and friends will enjoy them more than your colleagues or clients will. Sorry to put a dampener on your day!