Popular with teenage IM users, emoticons or smileys (visual shorthand used to convey emotions) do not belong in business communications. While just about every reader is likely to recognize : ) as a smile and : ( as a frown, it’s unlikely that the average business reader will know, for instance, that ;-) is the symbol for winking.
Aside from confusing readers, the use of smileys in business instant messages will likely peg you as unprofessional and may cause your reader (perhaps a client, prospect, or the boss) to dismiss your message as unimportant and unworthy of the time it would take to read it and respond.
Do yourself and your readers a favor. Leave the ‘‘have a nice day’’ smileys where they belong—on the screens of teenagers.
Employees must abide by the Company’s IM content and language guidelines. Using language that is obscene, vulgar, abusive, harassing, profane, suggestive, intimidating, misleading, defamatory, or otherwise offensive is a violation of the Company’s instant messaging policy and can lead to disciplinary action or termination. Jokes or inappropriate commentary related to ethnicity, race, color, religion, sex, age, disabilities, physique, or sexual preference are also prohibited.