Emoticons, sometimes called smileys, are frequently used in electronic communications like emails, text messaging, and even instant messaging. However, much like texting shorthand such as LOL or LMAO, emoticons are usually looked down upon in any form of business communication, including business instant messaging.
This type of communication, which usually involved creating “faces” with different keyboard symbols, is seen as more casual and thus should be avoided when it comes to instant messaging with co-workers, clients, and colleagues. This is especially the case when you are a new employee or are dealing with acquaintances that you don’t know very well yet.
Of course, there are always exceptions, including when talking to co-workers that happen to be friends or having a more casual tone overall in your work environment. When starting out a new company, it is always best to see how other co-workers are corresponding with one another before deciding whether or not to use emoticons in business instant messaging. This is the best way to gauge the overall type of communication– whether it is formal or more casual. Doing this can help you decide your tone of communication.