Laugh Your Staff Off: 6 Benefits of Workplace Humor
"Laughter is the best medicine" is something we have heard all our lives, and it's a truth finally backed by doctors and researchers. Research says that laughter reduces stress and helps motivate people to find innovative solutions to complex problems (1). However, employers often find it difficult to integrate constructive, positive humor in the workplace, specifically the corporate world. Consider these benefits of implementing humor into the work environment.
1. Humor used as a form of communication can facilitate the opening of pathways that would otherwise be difficult; it can contribute to employees' expression of feelings, put forward stressful ideas, and release tension (1).
2. Humor can create a more inclusive environment and can make employees more comfortable to voice any grievances, rather than leaving to find different employment (2).
3. Gaining your employees trust through appropriate humor and laughter is a great way to increase group cohesion and the productivity of a team.
4. In some fast-paced business fields, with the average person sending 112 emails a day, spending 80% of their time communicating, it's hard to stand out in all the noise (3). Appropriate humor can make an employee stand out, which potentially increases employee satisfaction.
5. Employee morale, creativity, and performance has the potential to improve when people see the workplace as a fun place to be rather than a means of income alone (1).
6. A more relaxed environment triggers less rigid thinking and communication and increases engagement at the management level (4).
Of note, management and coworkers must use some level of caution when implementing humor into the workplace, as there is a fine line between using humor to cushion the adverse effects of stress and burnout and creating an uncomfortable environment. When employers implement humor in the workplace, it is necessary to be mindful and sensitive to the context, audience, and environment.
Need to lighten up your workplace? OMH Solutions can help your company create a more productive and enjoyable work environment.
By Rachel Beebe
(1) (2012) "Have fun, make money: Can humor increase workplace effectiveness?", Strategic Direction, Vol. 29 Issue: 1, pp.20-22, https://doi.org/10.1108/02580541311285384
(2) Abel, M., & Maxwell, D. (2002). Humor and Affective Consequences of a Stressful Task. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 21(2), 165-190.
(3) Tarvin, A. (2014). Humor at Work, Retrieved August 20, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6iFCm5ZokBI
(4) Kim, T., Lee, D., & Wong, N. (2016). Supervisor Humor and Employee Outcomes: The Role of Social Distance and Affective Trust in Supervisor. Journal of Business and Psychology, 31(1), 125-139.