Are you feeling cool today? Do you want to give your co-worker a thumbs up? How about throwing your hands up in the air to celebrate – perhaps over a beer?

Gone are the times when many stick to an email or text message to get a point across. Now, we have access to a wide array of emotive facial expressions, animals, vegetables and more – some emoji boggle the mind in their possible application. Emoji help us to add a creative and emotional flair to our messages and deliver the most powerful punch when used in the right setting.

But in the professional world, what would happen if you sent your boss an emoji? Do you know how they would react?

It depends on your working relationship

Do you have a relationship with your boss that’s conversational and down to Earth? Do you join each other at office happy hours? If so, the occasional use of an emoji is probably acceptable. In fact, depending on the age of your boss, it’s possible he or she has already used emoji in communication with you – and if that’s the case, you definitely have the green light. However, if your relationship is more akin to The Devil Wears Prada, you’re probably safe to avoid emoji usage and keep things as business-like as possible.

Keep emoji usage in check

You’re a business professional and want to remain as such in your boss’s eyes. Excessive emoji use can make it appear that you can’t actually express yourself in words, and that’s not good. Also, remember that some emoji are open to personal interpretation as to their intended meaning. You wouldn’t want your selected emoji to get lost in translation, or in the worst case scenario, be offensive.

For example: “Good morning [smiley face, cup of coffee, sunshine]” makes sense. In contrast “Running late, be there in five [race horse, bomb, frantic cat face]” might make sense to you, but look to others like you were randomly hitting buttons.

Read the room

Ultimately, it helps to know your audience. If you’re new at your office or have just recently been assigned to your boss, take some time to get to know the situation. Is your business setting more formal or more informal? Is your working relationship with your boss one that seems to support emoji use, or one that seems emoji would be frowned upon? It really all boils down to common sense. If it seems an emoji could be misunderstood or misconstrued, it might be best to rely on words alone to communicate.

And how about that boss, anyhow?

In other words – do you currently have one, or are you looking for one? If you’re in the market for a new IT job, we can help. Simply contact RightWorks to learn more!