MUNCIE, Indiana – Everybody likes to work with funny people, but humor in the workplace does more than crack up your coworkers—it fosters the sort of positive environment that leads to business success. In a Robert Half International survey, 84 percent of executives felt funny people perform better at their jobs, and a Bell Leadership Institute study identified outstanding work ethic and a good sense of humor as the two most desirable leadership qualities. Let’s look at how providing a fun atmosphere at work can enhance your business.
Humor diffuses stressful situations, helps people cope and provides natural health benefits that may improve productivity. In “Humor in the Workplace: Anecdotal Evidence Suggests Connection to Employee Performance” by Lauren Breeze, Adrienne Dawson and Susanna Khazhinsky, humor is identified as one of the most cost-effective solutions for improving employee performance and minimizing stress. A witty joke or hearty laugh releases tension and relieves boredom, which improves focus and concentration.
Workplace humor is typically associated with a fun working environment and higher levels of job satisfaction. Employees who laugh together and share good times develop connections that foster engagement and increased output.
Laughter is contagious and infectious; it’s a team-building and bonding tool. Employees who support one another are more inclined to be communicative, emotionally motivated and committed. Knowing that laughter and joking are welcome at work creates a sense of belonging and trust, which helps businesses achieve goals and work efficiently.
Laugh for Success
In the words of Dwight D. Eisenhower, “A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.” Employees who can be themselves at the office are more freely humorous, says international business speaker and president of Humor at Work Michael Kerr. Workplaces that are less hierarchical and more innovative foster natural humor and a relaxed atmosphere. Think about it—who wants to go to work at an uptight office? A humorless workplace is no fun for anyone.
Make It Funny
Humanize your workplace by making it a low-stress and enjoyable environment by following these office humor do’s:
- Hire funny people. Or, hire someone not funny and make jokes at their expense (no, don’t do that. we’re joking).
- Create a casual and relaxed environment that’s free of hostility and tension.
- Have fun throughout the year. For example, as the holiday season approaches, go on a team outing and take silly photos for a company Christmas card to display in the office.
- Encourage employees to embrace their individuality and distinct senses of humor.
- Embrace moderate self-deprecation to create a comfortable and open office space.
- Use light humor to defuse a high-pressure moment or calm an upset colleague.