Maybe you use it as a way to keep things warm and friendly, but if you’re using smiley face emojis in work emails you probably will want to hear this. A new study suggests that adding smiley faces to work emails won’t put a smile on your reader’s face, but often works to make you seem less competent in the eyes of your colleague.
Time reports about the study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science that suggests these friendly emojis don’t belong in the workplace and should be saved for your more personal correspondence.
The study’s participants included more than 500 people from 29 countries. Researchers had them read nearly identical emails with one containing a seemingly harmless :) smiley. What they found was that the emails that included the smiley face caused readers to assume the sender was less competent. What’s more is that the smiley emails tended to elicit a shorter and less detailed response from the reader than the smiley-free emails. Study authors explain, “Information sharing was significantly lower in the smiley condition than in the control condition.”
One of the study’s authors, Ella Glikson, explains why the findings should encourage people to keep their smiley faces out of work emails. She says, “Our findings provide first-time evidence that, contrary to actual smiles, smileys only marginally increased perceptions of warmth and actually decrease perceptions of competence.” Glikson adds, “In formal business e-mails, a smiley is not a smile.”
Are you guilty of including smiley faces in work email?
Will you now think twice before adding emojis to business correspondence?