How Laughter can positively transform a workplace
Laughter is a free and underutilised resource that any workplace can benefit from. With stress and anxiety at peak levels across Australia, a good laugh can be refreshing and relieve tension from deadlines, overbearing colleagues, and revenue targets. Happier, livelier workplaces also tend to output excellent products and services as the employees tend to perform better, are more satisfied, and report less for stress and burnout.
There are also clear physical and mental benefits:
Physical benefits of laughing
- Decreases stress hormones
- Releases pain-reducing endorphins
- Improves immunity
- Gets your heart pumping
- Enhances intake of “oxygen-rich” air
- Aids muscle relaxation
Mental benefits of laughing
- Reduces stress
- Reduces negative feelings like anxiety and anger
- Boosts mood and creative output
- Boosts engagement and well-being
- Boosts analytical precision
How does laughter make me a better leader?
Cultivating and encouraging an atmosphere of laughter makes your colleagues enjoy working with you more and increases the trust you have with them. When they can see a good sense of humour and your ability to showcase your funny side every now and again, it doesn’t make you look any less of a professional, but instead, it creates a stronger relationship.
Managers should strive to create a habitat where employees feel supported to bounce ideas around without the fear of being shot down or judged. Entrepreneur Peter Sims wrote in his book Little Bets, “A playful, light-hearted, and humorous 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.”
Another incentive to inject laughter into the workplace is that there is a correlation between executives who used humour and the bonuses they received. According to Fabio Sala in Harvard Business Review, the “funnier” an executive was, the higher the bonus.
How do I use humour at work without it being a liability?
Within the bounds of decency, laughter overall is a positive thing, and the benefits are countless. It is important to be conscious of the volume within your workplace and to avoid distracting colleagues. Teasing other staff members and telling dirty jokes is not the way to using humour in the workplace.
Here are some ideas of what you can do instead:
1. Master the art of self-deprecating humour
Making fun of yourself is always a safe choice in the workplace because it is unlikely to offend anyone. This type of humour indicates to others that you don’t take yourself too seriously and that you are a good sport about your shortcomings. Do not joke about your job skills though because it may put your capabilities into question.
2. Start meetings with work-appropriate jokes or funny stories paired with your intentions
You can say something like, “I believe we can laugh and enjoy ourselves whilst achieving our objectives. Please don’t mistake my use of humour as a lack of concentration. When we have a lively environment, you are more likely to be open to sharing, learning, and retain information for longer.”
3. Host “silly days”
Have employees dress up in silly socks, hats, glasses, etc. This is especially easy and fun to do when working from home.
4. Set up a funny library
Create a funny library with work-appropriate memes, jokes, GIFS etc.
Dad jokes and puns can be groan-worthy but if you manage to cleverly spin some industry-specific concepts, then you may be able to elicit a few laughs depending on the person.
Sarcasm can be extremely effective, charming, and clever if used correctly. Use it sparingly at work because it can also send mixed messages. Stay away from using sarcasm for delivering important messages.
A little laughter at work goes a long way. It is the sound of successful collaboration, bonding, and a supportive environment. Consider ways of making your workplace more joyous as the mental and physical benefits of laughter are immense. Don’t be afraid and let out your chuckle, chortle, or even your full-belly laugh!
Are you in need of a hearty laugh and a good drop of wine? Victory Offices, Business In Heels, and Naked Wines are partnering to deliver exactly that! Join us for a fun and lively evening with headlining comedian, speaker, and founder of Shebah, George McEncroe.
We have some amazing prizes up for grabs such as a 1-hour marketing consultation, The Relax Bundle from The Base Collective, yoga classes, and MORE! Each ticket also comes with a $100 voucher for Naked Wines. Who wouldn’t want that?!