Personal Development

7 Good Reasons you need humor at work

Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.”   ~ Mark Twain ~

Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to spend a lot of time around someone that doesn’t have a sense of humor? It feels  like there is a certain amount of tension happening and you likely have the urge to get out of this person’s company as soon as possible.  The same thing holds true for a humorless workplace. Not only is it a place where we don’t want to be, it is not the most productive environment.  There are widely held beliefs that humor not only makes a work environment a healthier, happier place to work but also a more productive one.  Recognizing the importance of humor to a healthy, productive workplace, many organizations are keeping people like Michael Kerr, humorist, speaker and author, busy traveling around the globe leading the way to assist people to laugh.

Here are 7 reasons that humor at work could have you laughing all the way to the bank.

It’s a Great Stress Buster

Humor is a great antidote to excessive stress build up. There is nothing like a good laugh to help us relax and see the lighter side of things.  Not only does humor increase our own stress, it is contagious and helps others release their stress. Workplaces in which humor is encouraged, are more relaxed places than those who try to take on a more serious tone.

Motivates and Builds Morale

One of the best and most effective ways to build up a positive, motivational atmosphere in the workplace is to encourage the use of humor.  It is so much easier to show up to work when you know there will be fun and laughter rather than to go into a somber, dull and serious place.  Laughter goes a long way towards our motivation to give our best for the organization.

Builds Stronger Relationships

It is much easier to approach someone who has a strong sense of humor and have shared a laugh with previously.  We feel more relaxed and confident around that person.  The fear of making a mistake and being judged diminishes and we feel more open and willing to share.  When we have a workplace full of people who are comfortable with one another, decision making becomes easier and less stressful.

A Great Way of Showing Appreciation

In humorless workplaces, even showing appreciation can be a stressful event.  A great approach to show appreciation for someone is to add humor to the situation.  This is why “roasts” are a popular way to give someone a sendoff or to honor them.  Some people have a difficult time displaying emotions and affection, therefore humor becomes a vehicle to exhibit how someone has deeply impacted them.

Builds Stronger Teams

In order to build strong teams, we need to break down barriers that cause people to be suspicious and fearful of one another.  Humor gives us a relatively easy and effective way to share and build up strong lasting bonds between people. Any team that is able to enjoy a good laugh together is one that is well on the way to developing a strong, positive working relationship.

Good for our Health

“Laughter is the best medicine” is more than just a cute saying. There are studies showing the people who have a strong sense of humor experience less illness and recover quicker when they do become ill.  In our body’s, laughter reduces the serum cortical, a hormone released when experiencing stress, and triggers the release of endorphins; and the body’s feel good chemicals. A good bout of laughter can release tension and leave muscles relaxed for quite some time afterwards.  It also increases blood flow, decreasing chances of having heart and other cardiovascular problems.

Helps Create Smoother Changes and Transitions

Change and transition naturally evoke feelings of uncertainly and discomfort.  This means stepping out of our comfort zone, which aids experiencing a certain amount of anxiety.  Humor helps to lubricate and make those changes easier as it takes our mind off of the “if’s” and focusing on the worst case scenarios. Humor avails us to connect with colleagues and forms a bond and buffer that eases some of the uncertainty and fears of moving forward. It helps us rise above our worries and assists us to see a lighter, brighter side of a situation.

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About the author

Harvey Deutschendorf

Harvey Deutschendorf

Harvey Deutschendorf is an emotional intelligence expert, internationally published author and speaker. To take the EI Quiz go to theotherkindofsmart.com. His book THE OTHER KIND OF SMART, Simple Ways to Boost Your Emotional Intelligence for Greater Personal Effectiveness and Success has been published in 4 languages. Harvey writes for FAST COMPANY and has a monthly column with HRPROFESSIONALS MAGAZINE. You can follow him on Twitter @theeiguy