Emojis are no longer just cute little icons you use in texts once and a while—they’re so mainstream and versatile to pretty much every situation that they’re basically part of the English language. But is getting into the habit of using “praise hands” at work detrimental to your career? According to a new study, the answer is a bold “thumbs-up.”
Based on responses from 549 participants in 29 different countries, researchers found that using emojis—particularly smiley faces—to convey all your emotions, especially early on in a professional relationship, doesn’t increase the intended perception of warmth. Rather, the act actually decreases perceptions of competence, making you seem less able to successfully complete your job.
“People tend to assume that a smiley is a virtual smile, but findings show that in the workplace, this is incorrect.”
“People tend to assume that a smiley is a virtual smile, but the findings of this study show that in the case of the workplace, at least as far as initial ‘encounters’ are concerned, this is incorrect,” study author Ella Glikson said in a statement.
This doesn’t mean you need to cold turkey on emoji usage in e-mails; as long as your message is to someone with whom you’re already close, go for it. (Glikson said a smiley might suffice in place of a smile when you have a relationship with the other person.)
But when it comes to formally responding to your boss or interacting a new #bossbabe on your team? You might want to stick to the old-fashioned stalwarts on your keyboard (period, question mark, the occasional exclamation point) to punctuate your thoughts.