London - Putting a ‘smiley’ face emoji on work emails is likely to make colleagues grumpy, a study has found.

Rather than putting a cheery grin on the reader’s face, they are more likely to think the sender is incompetent.

The smile emoji, or emoticon as it is also known, is formed on its side from a colon and a parenthesis mark :) but it can also appear as a character like this .

Emojis depicting the whole range of facial expressions and emotions have become hugely popular in recent years – with researchers finding that 90 per cent of us have used them in texts or emails.

Emojis have even been made the subject of a recent animated Hollywood film, but this research suggests that they should be handled with care when at work.

Dr Ella Glikson, a post doctorate fellow in management at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, in Israel, said: "Our findings provide evidence that, contrary to actual smiles, smileys do not increase perceptions of warmth and actually decrease perceptions of competence."

"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, this is incorrect."

The study of 549 participants from 29 countries also found that when the emoji sender’s sex was unknown, it was more likely assumed to be a woman than a man.

Daily Mail