Why Humour Can Benefit the Workplace

Humour in the Workplace WP

Whilst companies will expect workers to remain professional and sensible at most times during the working day, sometimes having a sense of humour can go a long way in being a benefit to the workplace.

Depending of the type of office or location you work in, you may not end up speaking a lot to other workers. But even if you work near others, developing a sense of humour can improve both yours (and their) attitude and mentality when at work.  Even smiling or laughing at appropriate times can give you and the rest of your team a boost.

Humour’s Effect on Creativity and Productivity

A study conducted in 2009 concluded that people become better at problem solving when they are in good mood. Having a sense of humour of course, is a way for us to improve our overall mood. They found that when comparing several workers’ performance after watching a funny video to an anxiety inducing one, that workers were able to solve problems with better insights once releasing a few chuckles and laughs.

Entrepreneur Peter Sims also believes in the positive effects of humour in the workplace. Comments from his 2011 book Little Bets explain that “A playful, lighthearted, and humourous environment is especially helpful when ideas are incubating and newly hatched, the phase when they are most vulnerable to being snuffed out or even expressed because of being judged or self-censored.” And humour also has several other benefits you might not realise too.

It Can Lower Stress

If you’re feeling under pressure on an important task or project, a good sense of humour that provokes a laugh is a great way to relieve the tension. If you are working on a group activity, it’s likely that your positive attitude developed by humour could also help to decrease their stress and concern too. Author Michael Kerr best describes this in his book, ‘You Can’t Be Serious: Putting Humour to Work’. “Humour reduces tension in a stressful situation, provides a realistic perspective when you need it, gives you control over your emotions, and helps you rise above a crisis.”

It Helps to Build Stronger Relationships

When trying to talk to someone you’ve rarely communicated with at work, there’s nothing easier to break the ice than cracking a joke or making a humourous comment. Depending on their reaction, you’re likely to feel more confident in approaching that person for work matters in the future. In particular, a sense of humour is essential to breaking down barriers between teams. If you can make someone laugh and enjoy your humour, it’s more likely that people will trust you more and be able to relate to you a lot better.

Humour Can Improve Your Health

You’ve probably heard the saying that “Laughter is the best form of medicine” and thought nothing of it. However, what some might consider a cheesy tag-line has some scientific evidence behind it. In a recent research study, researchers were able to link humour to the improvement of immune functioning. This means that in our bodies, laughter can reduce a hormone which is often released when experiencing stress. That then releases endorphins, commonly known as the bodies’ ‘feel good’ chemicals. Additionally, once you’ve had a good laugh, it can release tension and relax your muscles for a period afterwards. And it increases your blood flow, which can lower your chances of heart disease and other cardiovascular issues.

So next time you’re feeling stressed, irritated or nervous, try and crack a joke or make an in-offensive comment you feel others might see the funny side of. Laughter and a good sense of humour only benefits your workplace, so be sure to take advantage of it when the time is right.

And hey, there’s no better day to test your humour than on World Smile Day!

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Sam Rose

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