The power of emojis for business communications

Written by Caroline Vibert

13 December 2021


I’ve always loved emojis. And considering how much they are used all over the world, I don’t think I’m alone. There were 76 of them in 1995 when they were first introduced and this number will likely hit 3,460 in 2022 (new ones to include beans, a pregnant man, and finger hearts). The global love of speaking through images has even inspired an emoji movie (IMDB rating: 👎 🙅💩)

For personal comms, their use is ingrained in our daily lives, but this is open for debate for our work-based exchanges. A friend I know professionally said she thought they were an excellent shorthand way of expressing emotion in a brief text or email message.

However, on the other side of the argument, another friend mentioned that emojis made a senior colleague’s abrupt emails seem passive aggressive. It made me question: “what place, if any, emojis should have in our workplace messages?”

Should you use emojis in a business context?

Although I rarely use emojis in a B2B context, I do use them with colleagues, mostly smiley faces, or the crying with laughter emoji when something really tickles me. So do they make my emails such as ‘thanks’ and ‘no problem’ seem passive aggressive? I hope not.

I like to think of myself at the restrained end of the emojis-used-at-work spectrum, as I once saw a fabulous out of office reply that was written entirely in emojis. To this day, I still can’t translate it all, but I do admire the creativity and the effort that went into creating it.

Then there is the question of when is it acceptable to use emojis in business communications? I never use them unless the other person has used them first, although I am tempted occasionally. I particularly like it when someone with a very serious job title ‘Assistant Global Director of Procurement and Contracts, Supply Chain and Logistics’ for example, replies with a line of smiling faces.

I also use them on LinkedIn occasionally when someone sends me a message which doesn’t really need a response, but I want to show that I appreciate it.

On a recent LinkedIn seminar, Jason Squires quoted a statistic that using emojis in a specific context increased overall engagement by 32%, a boon for marketeers looking for a quick, fun way to brighten someone’s day and improve their own open rate.

Overall, I think emojis enrich our written communications. Sometimes it’s really hard to decipher the sentiment behind a message and in the boring rounds of setting up meetings, booking rooms, acknowledging receipt of documents etc, it’s really nice to pop in a little flirty wink.

I’m joking of course. That’s probably way too familiar unless you get one back 😉.

Would you use emojis for work? Let us know!

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