Should Work Be Funny? Reasons To Use Humor At Work

Should Work Be Funny? Reasons To Use Humor At Work

Apr 01
Should Work Be Funny? Reasons To Use Humor At Work

Many of us know and love to cringe at Michael Scott, Steve Carell’s iconic character in the hit comedy “The Office.” Cartoon businessmanMichael Scott’s trademark use of inappropriate humor in the workplace makes us roll our eyes, clench our teeth and laugh out loud, even when we know we maybe shouldn’t be laughing. Scott is frequently on the radar of “corporate” due to his use of too-often sexist humor.

However, Michael Scott’s character notwithstanding, there are actually very good reasons to incorporate humor in the workplace. Maybe Scott’s cringe-worthy jokes aren’t the best choice, but there is a reason to believe that appropriate humor enhances productivity and creates a specific workplace culture that can be beneficial.

Good Humor In The Workplace

The ability to have good humor in the workplace has always been a part of building relationships and morale within the workplace. Humor has been shown to enhance feelings, raise productivity, and help relieve tensions and stress within the work place. Studies have even shown that humor helps to increase the likelihood that an individual will remain employed through the course of their career. The workplace can be a very stressful environment and employees can benefit greatly from allowing some humor to be freely shared among coworkers. When this happens, everyone is able to laugh at less stressful situations and this helps to relieve tension and make coworkers more social.

The question “Should work be funny?” can be answered in a multitude of ways. There is no right or wrong answer, but it is up to you to decide what makes you tick and which methods work best for your humor sensibilities. Humor is subjective, as are people.

8 Good Reasons For Humor To Have A Home In The Workplace

1. Employees Just Wanna Have Fun

Studies suggest that workers actually want to enjoy doing their jobs. Using work-appropriate humor adds an element of fun to the work day. In fact, some studies suggest that over 50% of American workers would trade less pay for more fun on the job.

2. Fun and Games Do NOT Lead to Decreased Productivity

Those in management want to increase productivity. Always. There is a misconception that if workers are having fun, then productivity will drop. This is actually not the case. Several studies indicate that humor in the workplace does not distract workers from tasks that require their attention, nor does it decrease productivity.

3. Humor Does a Body Good

The physical act of laughing enhances blood flow and increases oxygen intake. This means that, among other things, our blood pressure and heart rate are lowered and the increased oxygen makes us more alert. It stands to reason that more relaxed alert workers are more productive workers.

4. Humor Does a Body Good (Again!)

The physical act of laughter also boosts the immune system, thus reducing the need for sick days. Laughing employees, again, lead to increased productivity because they are less likely to call in sick.

Some studies have also shown that humor can significantly improve your physical health. There was a study that was conducted where participants were asked to partake in a funny skit before going to work. The results showed that participants who laughed were more energetic during their work day. This can help to make a workplace more relaxed and less tense. This could potentially lead to an increase in overall happiness amongst your employees.

5. Humor Can Promote Creative Thinking and Problem Solving

Humor in the workplace creates a culture of openness which makes employees more comfortable engaging in creative thinking and voicing their ideas. It seems that there is less fear of being laughed at for one’s ideas when workers are laughing with one another regularly.

Employee can feel more positive about themselves and this gives them an opportunity to bounce ideas off of others. This helps to create a more comfortable office and coworkers tend to relax more when they are around others that are positive and humorous. This can make a bad work environment into a great one.

6.  Managers Who Use Humor Are Perceived as Better Leaders

Again, Michael Scott may not be the best example, but managers, supervisors and other leaders in the workplace who choose to incorporate humor into their leadership style tend to be perceived as better, more approachable leaders. Workers also report greater job satisfaction when working under management that incorporates humor into their leadership style.

7.  Fun at Work Is, Well, Fun!Excited office worker

Numerous studies suggest that workers who have fun at work, who are laughing and appreciating humor, tend to experience less burnout and experience more job satisfaction. Humor in the workplace contributes to less turnover and greater retention of employees.

8. Humor is Memorable

Often, humor can be used to make a point. If people laugh, they are more engaged and, thus, more likely to remember the point being made. For example, studies of advertising campaigns reveal that consumers are much more likely to remember an ad and take action if it’s humorous. It seems to follow that the same would hold true in the workplace.

9. There’s No “I” in Humor

Having a sense of humor at work can also help to get coworkers involved and participate in each other’s tasks. If you are having a problem with someone or are unsure of something, humor can help to fix the situation. Employees tend to look to their colleagues for guidance and this can be helpful if there is a problem within the company. People love to have others work hard for them and if their boss has a great sense of humor then they are more likely to go along with things because they like the way that he or she communicates. Humor can really make a difference.

A Final Thought: Don’t Be Michael Scott

Of course, there are definite boundaries to what kind of humor is acceptable in the workplace. Anything that perpetuates stereotypes or could be construed as sexual in nature does not belong in the workplace, nor does graphic or offensive humor.

There are many, very good reasons to use humor in the workplace, but the most compelling reason is that laughing employees are happier, more productive employees. Humor in the workplace doesn’t have to be very serious or funny. It can be light and fun. This will make your office much more enjoyable for everyone. Your employees will feel a real sense of accomplishment when they see that you take the time to make sure that everyone is having a good time at work.