World emoji day: do they have a place in the office?

World emoji day is upon us (17 July) and so HRreview asked professionals in the industry are these animations displaying emotional reactions appropriate to use in the workplace?

Alan Price, group operations director at Peninsula and a chartered fellow of CIPD, feels that the use of emojis in the office very much depends on what your company does and who works for you.

Mr Price said:

The successful use of emoji’s in your company will be heavily dependent upon on your company culture. For example, if you specialise in law or finance, you may be put-off from permitting emoji use due to wanting to maintain certain levels of formality. Alternatively, tech based or creative companies may wish to encourage a more laid back, fun method of communication. There is also your workforce to consider. If your company contains employees from the millennial generation, they will likely appreciate being able to use emoji’s due to their familiarity when compared to the usual forms of workplace communication.

He also added that a company should make clear if the use of emojis is acceptable conduct or not in workplace communications.

Amanda Augustine, careers expert for TopCV holds the opinion that if your company has a relaxed, good-humored work environment then the use of emojis may be well received.  However, she points out that emojis can be easily misread and so your message may become confusing.

Ms Augustine said:

Should you decide to incorporate emojis in to your business communication, take heed: Since there is no consensus on what specific emojis represent, the meaning behind your emoji-filled message can easily get misinterpreted if you aren’t careful.

She goes onto say that if you have an established relationship with the person then an emoji maybe appropriate but you must use your own judgement.

Karen Owen, managing director at Wurkplace an outsourcer of HR, employment law, occupational health, training, payroll and book keeping service company sees the changing demographics of the workplace to play in to the use of emojis.

Ms Owen said:

Research shows that 70 per cent of millennials consider it ok to send an emoji in the working environment.  It has also been suggested that it is more acceptable to send emojis to peers and colleagues via correspondence but not to a boss, client or customer.

The rise in remote working has established that emojis are a powerful tool in establishing working relationships.  In this working situation it is suggested that feelings are conveyed more effectively.

Perhaps emojis are acceptable in the workplace but there is a time and a place for them and staff and employers should be aware of which emoji’s are appropriate to be used in the workplace and to whom.

She still believes employees must be mindful when using emojis in the workplace as they should not be used all the time.

Interested in wellbeing? We recommend the Workplace Wellbeing and Stress Forum 2019.





Darius is the editor of HRreview. He has previously worked as a finance reporter for the Daily Express. He studied his journalism masters at Press Association Training and graduated from the University of York with a degree in History.