A recent post on Fast Company explores the role of laughter in the workplace. It got us thinking, is laughter looked upon in your workplace as wasting time or is it embraced as a well-needed break from the pressures of the workplace? The writer of the article says laughter doesn’t make you less professional rather, it makes you more enjoyable to work with.
Forbes quotes Dwight D. Eisenhower: "A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done." They go on to point out that in a Robert Half International survey, 91% of executives believe a sense of humour is important for career advancement.
Of course, there can be a dark side to humour. Psychology Today says, “researchers found that telling an inappropriate joke leads to lower perceived competence and decrease in status. Choose wisely!” they say. Remember the class clown? Laughter can easily turn to annoyance or worse.
Humorthatworks.com lists ‘30 benefits of humor at work’! Perhaps we don’t always consider the role of humour in communications, relationships, productivity etc. But I bet we all recognize the impact of experiencing a lack of humour. Taking things too seriously can create a tense workplace where fear may influence the culture.
Many workplaces are challenged to attract and retain skilled employees. Businessknowhow.com provides 5 tips and the first is providing a positive work environment.
P - Provide a Positive Working Environment
R - Recognize, Reward and Reinforce the Right Behavior
I - Involve and Engage
D - Develop Skills and Potential
E - Evaluate and Measure
With a past employer, the social committee used to play comedy movies a few times a year during lunch breaks and serve popcorn to employees. The mood was noticeably lighter afterwards. Fun builds morale and encourages a sense of team. And we shouldn’t forget that laughter is the best medicine! Laughing stimulates the heart and lungs, increases blood flow around the body, and increases feel-good endorphins released from the brain.
Respecting humour in the workplace doesn’t require hiring a professional comedian but perhaps rather a shift in how laughter is viewed, received and demonstrated by leadership. How much humour is appropriate? That depends on your culture, your business and your style however, a light-hearted approach can create an atmosphere of acceptance an motivation. Instaoffice.in recommends leading by example: Be capable of laughing at your own mistakes without taking yourself too seriously. This will encourage your team members to be able to relax and be more creative, innovative, and risk-taking with their performance, and improve productivity at the workplace.
"A good laugh overcomes more difficulties and dissipates more dark clouds than any other one thing." - Laura Ingalls Wilder