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Is It Appropriate To Use Emojis At Work?

Using Emojis

In our ever-growing technological world, emojis are something we most likely encounter daily. From laughing faces to crying faces, their little visages are great ways to express exactly how you are feeling. 

They are so popular that some have even been crowned as “word of the year” by Oxford Dictionaries. With this distinction, however, are they acceptable to use at work? 

Due to their increase in popularity, many people have started using them for all forms of communication. This, however, has brought up the question of where you should use them at work.

When sending emojis, many factors such as company culture, age, nationality, and much more can affect how a recipient interprets them. While some colleagues may find them unprofessional and immature, others may find them uplifting and even more communicative than regular messaging. 

With all of these factors in play, it is hard to say whether there is a definitive answer to if you should use emojis at work. 

Understand Your Audience 

Using emojis appropriately follows the rules that apply to most forms of writing: know your audience. Good writing always speaks to your reader in a personal way. Letting them know you understand them can create a strong connection that gets your message across. 

For those who appreciate emojis, they can easily make your writing more understandable and personable. Similarly, it can make the conversation seem meaningless and confusing for those who don’t like them. 

Consider who you are specifically writing to. If you are writing to specific people, you can individually judge who may enjoy seeing an emoji or two. If you are writing to a broader audience, there will be some who do and some who don’t. 

It is also important to not pander to a younger audience with emojis. Doing this can make your writing feel out of touch and ingenuine. Additionally, some people (especially younger people) may take emojis sarcastically or read into them more than you want, so it is important to be careful when using them. 

Send The Right Message 

Even in conversations with someone you know well, emojis can come across differently than you meant them to. For this reason, you should always be careful when sending emojis. Many people even disagree if a given emoji is positive, negative, peaceful, or aggressive. 

Even though emojis are technically standardized, the image can swap across platforms. For example, a smiley face you send on your brand phone may look more frowny when it comes across on your friend’s phone. These subtle differences in platforms can easily confuse a conversation. Additionally, since emojis are so small, sometimes the emotion can get confused even if you send the right image! 

Be Careful When Sending To New People In The Workplace 

Emojis can be most dangerous when sending a message to a new person, especially if they are involved in your workplace. Due to this reason, you should have caution and care when doing this for the first time. 

Some companies have house writing styles that dictate how and what you should write to clients and customers. Sometimes these styles allow emojis, but it wouldn’t hurt to check the style you are working with. For example, customer service-oriented companies may allow them, while corporate office spaces may not. 

Especially in the business world, it can be easily confusing if you use an emoji as a creative tool. Using emojis incorrectly (such as putting a laughing emoji in a serious message) can skew emotions and make you look insensitive. If used carefully and positively, however (such as putting a proud smiley face after a kind message), they can work to uplift morale. 

Using emojis positively can make you/your company look more positive, uplifting, caring, and even personal. One great place that many companies utilize this is in customer service. Utilizing happy emojis to help convey happy emotions to customers helps them feel seen and cared for! 

Sending Emojis To Well-Known Colleagues

An emoji can truly speak a thousand words with well-known coworkers (and even friends). When you have a well-defined rapport with someone, emojis can easily convey your emotions and feelings in a way that words simply cannot. In other words, emojis can create quick and effective communication between colleagues. 

If you use emojis like abbreviations and slang, however, you should follow the rules associated with them. For instance, you wouldn’t add multiple periods or exclamation points to a sentence, so don’t add multiple emojis to one! 

Additionally, try to identify what type of emojis your colleagues may understand and like to use. Mimicking the emoji culture in your workplace is a great way to understand what is appropriate and what is not. 

Should You Just Type Everything? 

With all of these stipulated rules and social understandings, emojis may seem more of a hassle than they’re worth. In truth, most people find emojis at least somewhat fun, and they can be useful in the workplace. With this, you should try to use emojis in the workplace if you want to. 

If you see that people don’t like your use of them, however, you can always stop. Additionally, if you are relying on them too much, you should stop. In other words, using an emoji here or there won’t hurt anybody, but using them in the wrong place too frequently can be detrimental. 


In the end, emojis can be a pretty confusing thing. For being incredibly expressive, they can confuse a lot of people. For this reason, most people don’t know if it is acceptable to use them at work or not. 

In short, emojis are something that can be used at work. However, there are a few things to think about if you want to. You should take into account your company’s culture and policies around writing. If they allow them, go crazy! On the other hand, if they frown upon them, it is probably best to refrain from using them. 

You should also make sure that your emojis are very clear to your recipient. Be careful when sending emojis to a new people, as you don’t know how they will respond. It normally won’t hurt to use them once or twice, but remember to gauge whether they are being appreciated or not! 

How do you feel about emojis? Will you use them at work, or do you think they are inappropriate? In any case, this article should have cleared up the intricacies around using emojis in the workplace. 

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By Ryan Fisher

Ryan holds degrees from Pacific Lutheran University and specializes in proofreading, editing, and content writing with an emphasis on business communication.

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