Three Ways People Use Emoticons at Work

Work related emails and other correspondences are an essential component of everyday (work) life. With the increasing speed of communication -both in our work and personal lives- it’s important to try and make sure what we’re trying to communicate is interpreted properly. Emoticons are an effective way to do that, which is why more and more people are relying on them regularly.

When emails and the Internet were still in their infancy, at least with regard to the majority of businesses and individuals, emoticons had no place in formal communication (workplace emails, for example). It was considered immature, unprofessional, and often frowned upon. Today, everything is different.

Emoticons Are Acceptable Now

Not only are they more acceptable, they can be highly beneficial for many types of communication. We highlight three ways people often use emoticons in the workplace, and explain why it’s actually helpful.

They can help establish attitude
How easy is it for most people to explain whether they’re happy, relaxed, worried, or just downright frustrated when communicating by email? It’s actually quite a challenge. Some may misinterpret the intent of some comments as being hostile, aggressive, or nonchalant.
A well placed and timed emoticon, though, is a powerful way to help let the receiving party (or parties) of those emails be clear on whether you’re frustrated, angry, or in a good mood.

They help highlight jokes, irony, or something light
Work can become dull and drab and downright boring at times. Little tasteful jokes or teasing done by email may help to lighten the mood, but without an emoticon, some things could be taken the wrong way.
When a coworker who mostly works with someone via digital communication, they won’t have the visual clues, like body language, to determine the seriousness of a comment, joke, or question.

An emoticon helps to let someone know when they’re joking with some light humor or irony or when they are being more serious with the content of their message. can give people an idea of the many emoticons that allow workplace communication to not just be more fun, but more effective as well.

They can strengthen or soften the content of the message
Have you ever needed to send an email with a more serious message, but didn’t want it to come across brash or even brazen? For example, if someone is constantly leaving the break room a mess and you’ve grown tired of picking up after everyone, you might say something in a blast email to all who regularly use it. You might say something like, “Can we please all clean up after ourselves in the break room? If we all simply do our part, it won’t be up to one person to spend the better part of a morning cleaning it up! ”

Emoticons can be effectively used in emails, social media, text messages, and much more. While we spend more and more time communicating through these digital methods and modes, helping people understand our intent quickly and easily is often done through the use of these little smiley faces and other expressive little dudes.