Humor In The Workplace

By Louise Bauer Davoli

Some workplaces frown on employees joking around in the workplace. But joking and humor while working can actually have a positive effect in the workplace.

Humor facilitates communication, builds relationships, reduces stress, and provides perspective. Humor offers a non-threatening method where an employee or employer can communicate with others without escalating the emotional content of a statement or situation. One study shows that 85 percent of employees who are let go from their positions are let go because of their inability to get along with fellow employees. In fact, when human relations personnel and senior administrators are questioned about the key qualities of an effective employee, these individuals identify humor as one of the choice characteristics of a preferred employee.

- Staff cohesion

- Humor reduces stress

- Provides perspective

The benefits of laughing in the workplace are similar to benefits of laughing in any other situations. Essentially, laughing makes us feel good and it diffuses stressful situations and circumstances. It makes sense to encourage and allow more laughter into the workplace - frequently the source of a lot of people's stress. Additionally, not only does humor aid in stress reduction, a little comic relief in the workplace can facilitate bonding and build camaraderie. Creating and sharing inside jokes helps coworkers feel closer to one another enhancing teamwork through a sense of common history.

According to Chris Roberts a researcher from the University of Missouri, humor "has meaningful impact on cohesiveness in the workplace and communication quality among workers. The ability to appreciate humor, the ability to laugh and make other people laugh actually has physiological effects on the body that cause people to become more bonded".

Possessing a sense of humor has more to do with our ability to see that amusing circumstances are all around. A sense of humor also requires feeling secure enough in yourself to laugh at these situations and settings. It's not about telling a great joke, a sense of humor is about perspective and we all have the ability to be humor contributors.

- Focus laughs on self

- Do away with sarcasm

- That's not funny

- Practice

One huge rule of thumb for humor in the workplace is to know your audience and make sure that your humor and jokes will not offend anyone or be construed as off color. Making jokes as the expense of another person or group of people is off limits. There is plenty of clean humor around us and no need to tread into questionable territory.