Humour at work can sound like an oxymoron to some. A workplace is where you work and work is serious business, right? Well, here’s the punch line: having a few laughs on the job is not only fun. It’s important to your health and to your job performance.
Some organizations get that. Take Kentucky-based Big Ass Fans. The multi-million dollar industrial fan manufacturer is passionate about its business. But it doesn’t take itself too seriously, as its cheeky name (and video in this post) indicates.
On the other hand, there are environments where continuous stress is the norm. One example that comes to mind is a hospital where I recently gave a humour presentation. Like any large healthcare institution, the business of caring for others can take a toll on its staff. Humour can go a long way toward helping them find the right balance.
Laugh a Day
Like the proverbial apple a day, a regular dose of laughter is good for you. It reduces stress hormones while pumping up endorphins, the same ones that give runners a natural high. It effectively elevates your mood and it helps you regain perspective and a greater feeling of optimism.
The business benefits are clear, too. Humour at work helps:
• improve morale
• spark creative ideas
• strengthen teamwork
• encourage more dynamic customer service
And it’s contagious!
Get More Humour at Work
Think your workplace could use a few laughs? Here’s some great ways to liven things up:
Create a humour committee
Business humour specialist Michael Kerr suggests 15 ways to add more humour to your workplace, from a humour committee to workplace humour rituals.
Start a laughter yoga club
Watch comedian John Cleese’s encounter with a laughter club to see what you’ve been missing.
Carry a jester’s hat
This is one of 10 more things to lighten the load at your workplace.
What’s Appropriate Humour
Humour has its place. If in doubt, always follow business etiquette and what’s appropriate for your organization’s culture. You can’t go wrong by following these guidelines:
Make fun of situations, not people
Targetting others with humour can be offensive. Don’t joke at the expense of others (unless you’re poking fun at yourself)
Use humour in a positive way
Avoid using it to mask complaints about your workplace or management.
Be careful what you write
Even if you add emojis to your comment, you can still risk being misinterpreted by someone else.
Only play harmless practical jokes
Try some of these fun, but tactful, office pranks next time you want to lighten things up.
Crack them up with clean jokes
I asked the corporate wellness officer, “Can you teach me yoga?” He said, “How flexible are you?” I said, “I can’t make Tuesdays.” (budda-boom)
There’s a new trend in our office: everyone is putting names on their food. I noticed it today while I was eating a sandwich named Kevin.
Get More Humour in Your Life
Of course, humour is just as important when you’re off the job. If you need to boost your own laughter quotient, try these practical tips:
• Give yourself permission to laugh more. The more you laugh, the better you’ll feel. Don’t forget to laugh especially during tough times.
• Create affirmations. Positive thoughts help reinforce a more positive attitude.
• Reflect daily on what you’re grateful for. Journal your gratitude so you have a ready (and growing) reminder list.
• Smile more. Try it at least five times a day. It’ll become a habit before you know it.
Snicker, Chortle, Guffaw
Laughter really is the best medicine and the best approach to humour is to have the confidence to laugh at yourself and see the humour in everyday situations. Have fun!
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