Don’t LOL: could using text speak at work be harming your career?


Sending emails peppered with text language like ‘LOL’ could be harming your career, warns Office Angels, as research reveals nearly three quarters (71.1%) of employers find text speak in emails to be unacceptable.

Affectionate names like ‘love’, ‘dear’ and ‘darling’ also anger employers, with over half (55.9%) saying terms of endearment should never be used in emails. Similarly personal sign-offs, such as kisses or smiley faces, were labelled inappropriate by half (49.8%) of employers, and only occasionally OK by just under half (41.8%).

The Office Angels’ research, which explored the behaviour that employers and employees believe is acceptable in the workplace, found that employees also worry about being too personal in emails. Over three quarters (76.7%) felt using terms like LOL is never acceptable, while over two thirds (68%) would never use kisses or smiley faces.

These latest findings from Office Angels support research carried out by Adecco for its Unlocking Britain’s Potential campaign, which found that many employers now feel it is necessary to provide formal education for their employees on how to write emails.

Steven Kirkpatrick, Managing Director at Office Angels said: “Under the pressure of meeting deadlines and targets at work, it can be tempting to cut corners to save time. Allowing text phrases like LOL and ROFL to creep into work emails may seem useful to get your point across but they are too casual for most employers.

“While there may be no specific policy on what language is acceptable for internal and client facing emails at your workplace, our research suggests using text language should be avoided. It might be OK to pop in the odd smiley face when emailing a close colleague, but we would strongly advise that text speak and terms of endearment be left at the office door.

“Communicating in a professional way internally shows your employer that you mean business and can be counted on to act professionally in front of clients. If an employer has confidence that you can be professional at all times, when the chance to take on more responsibility comes along, you will be in a good position to seize that opportunity.”