Bare Necessities at Work: Humor and Happiness

- Worker Happiness

Hands-on Management 3.0 leadership workshops focus on tangible practices to help managers, team leaders, middle management, and C-level executives increase employee engagement and foster transformational change within their organizations. Start Your Leadership Journey Today!

by Sandra Moncada

Workplaces can be very stressful environments, and stress can be detrimental for morale and productivity. One of the best ways for a business owner or manager to alleviate stress at work is to incorporate humor into the workday.

However, the use of humor in a workplace requires careful consideration and understanding. When you understand how to use humor effectively in your office to lighten up tense situations. And when you understand good timing and appropriateness, you can more successfully create an ideal and enjoyable work environment.

Chuckling the Stress Away

It is easy to get lost in feelings of stress and anxiety while in the workplace, but you must find an effective way to address these feelings. For example, job interviews can be very stressful for both the interviewer and the job applicant. When you incorporate a touch of professionally appropriate humor into the interview, you can show that you are extroverted, communicative, and professional, and you can also express your personality without seeming to be overly stuffy or restrained.

On a daily basis in the office, you and your team can use humor to relieve stress in tense situations or to tackle tension head-on. You may even use humor strategically to improve the mood and experience of your customers, just as one flight attendant rapped the safety briefing before the flight for an extra touch of fun and flair.

Humor is an excellent way to incorporate a touch of your human side into any situation, and it can encourage others to feel more relaxed or even to open up to you. Remember that someone else’s bad mood may be affect you, but your humor and good mood can be contagious too! You may be able to reduce your blood pressure through humor and improve the overall mood and level of productivity in your workplace with a well-timed joke.

Employees who are happy working in their positions may provide better customer service and may be more productive. More than that, they may be less likely to look for a better job elsewhere, so you may be able to retain top talent more easily when you incorporate humor into the workday on a regular basis.

What did the fish say when it hit a wall-

How to Use Humor in the Workplace

Humor should be used carefully and tactfully in professional situations. Remember that some off-color humor may not be suitable for everyone who may hear it. Many offices are open environments, so a joke that was said privately in a corner of the office may be overheard by someone several feet away or even more, depending on your acoustics. Furthermore, some people may take even well-intended jokes and pranks personally, and this can actually deteriorate the stability of the work environment rather than build it up.

Humor is a delicate matter at work, so you always need to know who you are talking to and make an educated guess about how they may respond to a specific joke or prank. Remember that other people may hear the joke as well, so the joke should be appropriate for all audiences. It is generally a good idea to refrain from jokes that target a person’s gender, sexuality, race or age. Keep jokes light and avoid racy or off-color humor when joking around with someone who is not familiar to you or to customers and colleagues whose sense of humor is different than yours.

Understand that there are instances when humor can be used ineffectively and even detrimentally. For example, a boss may try to use humor to develop closeness with employees, but a joke that is not well-received could jeopardize the boss’s reputation in the workplace.

However, because some jobs have long, tedious work hours, humor can be used effectively by bosses to motivate employees and keep them on track. If you are in a managerial role in your office, understand the importance of using clean, appropriate humor in specific situations.

Pranks are another form of humor to consider, and these usually target one or more people directly. You should be aware that not everyone will be open to pranks in the same way. Pranks often do not go as planned, and some people are simply opposed to them at all in the workplace. Consider that millennials usually are not open to pranks, and this may be because of their perception that their jobs are less secure than older workers who are more well-established in the business.

Some people may even be offended by a prank. Keep in mind that some office pranks are also dangerous. For example, if you spray Silly String while birthday candles are lit, you could unintentionally create a fire hazard in the workplace.

When in doubt about whether or not a prank is acceptable and safe for your office environment, it is always best to check with your human resources professional before proceeding. You never want to make people feel hazed or unwelcome.

When You Work Remotely

Telecommuting and remote work are increasingly popular today, and humor is a great way to build rapport in remote work relationships. However, the key elements associated with humor, such as facial gestures, vocal tone, body language and more are not always easily conveyed through distant communications.

If you plan to use a written form of humor, consider using emojis or acronyms to convey your intentions. Be aware, though, that these are not ideal or well-suited for instances when very professional communication is required. For example, one CEO generally does not want to use the LOL acronym and a laughing emoji when communicating with another CEO.

In the End…

Your primary goal may be to create a team that is motivated and focused on their required tasks at all times, but you can see that taking a short break periodically and incorporating a touch of humor into the workday may be beneficial for everyone. If you plan to start incorporating humor into your workday, always focus on finding jokes that are appropriate for everyone who may hear them. This will help you to avoid offending someone and causing a stressful, strained work environment.

How do you put the joke in job? Share with us a work-friendly ha-ha moment.

Photo Credit:

Have you already read these?