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Humor in the Workplace

Instructor: Brianna Whiting
In this lesson we will learn about humor in the workplace. We will consider a few different scenarios and explore reasons why humor can enhance a work environment. When the lesson concludes you can test your knowledge with a quiz.

A Beginning Look at Humor in the Workplace

Let's look at a couple of scenarios and see where you'd rather work.

Scenario 1- You work for Shoes Are Super. Each day you head into work where you and your coworkers dive right into your daily tasks. None of you speak to each other beyond a simple 'Hi' or 'Good morning'. Your boss often strolls around the office to check on the progress of your tasks and always keeps a stern face and never engages in any small talk. When 5:00 hits, you all clock out and head out to your cars without saying anything to one another.

Scenario 2- You work for Shoes Are Super. Each day you head into work, where you run into Kim, who's always cracking jokes. By the time you get to your desk, you are usually laughing pretty hard. Throughout the day, your boss makes the rounds through the office where he laughs at your funny stories and often tells some of his own. When the day is over, you all gather at the door where you joke about your day and say your goodbyes.

Obviously, Scenario 2 creates a much more fun and inviting environment. But what is it about that scenario which makes it a better choice? In this lesson we will learn why incorporating humor in the workplace can be beneficial. We will learn how it affects employees and productivity.

Shoes Are Super has a humorous workplace.
Shoes Are Super has a humorous workplace.

Why Humor Belongs in the Workplace

In this section we will look at why humor is a good thing when it comes to the workplace. We will learn what the effects are on employees, productivity, and the overall environment.

1. Softens Stress- We have all been stressed at one time in our lives. While we all cope with it in our own ways, one way to help us deal with stress is humor. What better way to forget about our worries than to laugh? When it comes to the workplace, situations can be stressful, but if we can laugh at those situations, we can often get through them with less anxiety. So, if you are stressed out about a huge project that is due at the end of the week and Kim starts cracking jokes, you may feel less stressed.

2. Builds Connections- When you think you don't have anything in common with your coworkers, remember you can count on the fact that you all know how to laugh. That being said, when managers and employees alike can laugh together, it strengthens the connection and bond between everyone. For example, in Scenario 2, your boss who approaches each employee and tells them funny stories is helping to strengthen the connection between management and the rest of the staff.

3. Breaks Barriers- When coworkers laugh with you, they feel more at ease to work with you. If employees have a wall or conflict between them, a good laugh can lesson that tension. Let's say you got into a disagreement with your coworker Bob at Shoes Are Super and now things are awkward between you two. If you and Bob are able to laugh about a different situation at work or even something in the news, you'll have a better chance to overcome the barrier of discomfort.

4. Gets Minds Moving- When you use humor, you tend to be more relaxed. When you are more relaxed, you are able to think more clearly and better brainstorm ideas. For instance, when you are at work trying to design a new shoe, if your coworker Kim starts telling humorous stories, it may improve your mood. When your mood is positive, you are more likely to relax and come up with that great, new design.

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