There are several problems with using profanity in work communications. Even if the workplace environment is laid-back and lenient, or the office culture is friendly and insulated, there are still some universal ground rules and preexisting perspectives on profanity.
Even without going over the individual problems with using profanity in work communications, the underlying issue simply boils down to this: If you put a workplace communication with profanity next to the identical message without the profanity, the one without profanity will always seem smarter, more appropriate, more mature, more professional, and more positive, unless the message is explicitly (excuse the pun) about specific profanity itself.
With that being said, there are some specific problems with using profanity in work communications.
In every job and field, there are always de facto strictures that determine standards of professionalism. These include appropriate workplace interactions, communication format, dress code, general presentation, event etiquette etc. All of these elements, done the proper way, combine to enhance a reputation and image of professionalism.
Profanity has a very rare place in professionalism. While some less professional fields may let fly with the foul language much more often than others, the reality is that a top executive will not be taken seriously if he or she is casually sprinkling random profanity into his or her work communications. That style of speech is better left for more crude and crass settings, certainly not the workplace.
Utilizing profanity is somewhat of a lazy way to communicate. It creates a cheap, powerful punch in just a single word or two. Often in heated arguments under anger, profanity will unveil itself because the participants are so clouded in their judgment that they cannot, in the heat of the moment, form coherent arguments or cohesive discussion.
Instead of resorting to the tactic of profanity, work communicators should strive to get their point across with other words. Profanity is never necessary to achieve the task of communicating ideas; unless, that is, the idea is to provide crude commentary.
With rare (but usually made evident at the time) exceptions, profanity will always serve to detract, rather than enhance, one’s reputation. Using profanity is a tactic usually reserve for immature teens being ignorant, or drunken adults saying regretful things. It is not appropriate for work communications, and will almost always make the person look worse for using it.
But, all things aside, perhaps the biggest problem with using profanity in work communications is that not all people agree on the extent of the unacceptable nature of profanity. Some believe it should not be as taboo, while others may even outright gasp at its use out loud. Just as an effective presentation should take its target audience into account, work communications should keep in mind that the recipient may have a differing, unfavorable view of profanity use.
Overall, even if a worker loves profanity and uses it often in his or her personal life, it is just a common sense conclusion to avoid it in the workplace. Problems with using profanity in work communications can be altogether avoided by just using a little creativity and language skills in its place.