Emoji usage is something which is synonymous with texting and messaging. For the unfamiliar, Emojis are small icons that help express the exact emotions in an animated manner. The use of emoticons has continued to increase and they often substitute words to express an emotion. However, a new Study reveals that using emojis while sending emails or texts at work may give off the wrong impression.

What does the study say?

According to a new study, people who used the emojis while sending mails at work were perceived as incompetent by the co-workers.

This is especially true if the mail is being sent out to a colleague whom the sender does not know personally. The researchers from the Ben-Gurion University studied the effect of using smileys and emojis in work-related posts.

The revelation of the study came as quite a surprise, as most researchers did not expect such negative aspects to arise as a result of the smiley usage. These emojis are usually considered warm and humorous expressions used by people, but at work, these expressive icons does not promote any positive feelings toward the sender and instead undermines the level of competence that they may have.

Researchers feel that the results will promote greater awareness in people and many may stop using emojis. The private messages carrying emojis do not attribute negative values to the sender, but only the messages related to work sent to other colleagues. So, it may be better to refrain from using these in the workplace altogether.

How was the study conducted?

The researchers conducted a series of tests among 549 participants from 29 countries.

In the first experiment, researchers asked people to read a work-related email sent by an unknown person. While the content of the mail remained same for all of the people, some of the mails had the emojis but others did not. The participants were then asked to judge the warmth and competence of the person who wrote the mail.

It was discovered that although the presence or absence of the emojis did not affect the judgment of warmth, it had an impact on the competence judgment of the sender.

The participants were seen to give lower competence scores to the email with emojis. The researchers also revealed that people were more likely to give a more detailed and thorough reply to a work email which does not have an emoji compared to a mail that made use of smileys. Based on the study, it is advisable that one avoids their usage in work mails to come across as unprofessional.

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