You would probably recognize it. You open your mailbox in the morning and you are shocked when you see those countless unanswered e-mails that you still have to deal with. With a slight reluctance and a bit of sleep shortage, you get to work and make it until your first break for coffee, still feeling a bit miserable.
During coffee you happen to talk to that one colleague who is able to put things into perspective with his dry humor. You exchange opinions between each other and life immediately looks a bit more rosy. With a cheerful feeling you continue the work that now suddenly looks a bit less stressful than you had expected in the morning. This is one of the powers of humor in life.
So, how important is humor at the workplace? And what if you cannot find a happy workplace? You could become your own boss, as I have described at the end of this article.
The power of laughter
Humor is contagious. In fact: it can be very contagious. When you are working in an environment where people laugh, chances are that you will easily go along with this. The sense that humor arouses people is the same feeling that someone gets when he is rewarded. In short, humor and fun in the workplace should be spearheads for every company.
Humor provides a relaxed working atmosphere. Humor causes an initially big issue to become a minor one. When someone dreads having to perform a duty, it is often made larger than it actually is. With a good joke this can be nuanced, making it feel lighter.
Seeing things in perspective is also a good breeding ground for creativity and offers the opportunity to find efficient solutions for apparently large and complex problems.
Lower stress levels
In the same line, humor lowers stress and is an important foundation for bringing innovative insights. In meetings, too, a good joke to kick-off is a good icebreaker to give people the feeling that they are free to share thoughts and thus lower the threshold for providing input. This will benefit the effect of a meeting.
Humor distinguishes us from robots, increases sales
With the advent of artificial intelligence and the construction of robots, there is a fear that some activities can be taken over by robots. I can understand this fear, but for certain activities, the distinctively human capacities such as humor come in handy. Can you imagine it: a robot conducting a sales conversation? Not me. With humor, we create a bond with colleagues and customers. We could make ourselves vulnerable with some self-mockery. Humor is one of the distinguishing capacities with which you can differentiate between humans from robots.
Trust is needed
A relationship of trust is needed to win over a customer. Humor is a great tool to realize this bond. A joke creates a relaxed atmosphere that is needed to work on this (trust) bond and to attract a potential customer. That is why I dare to state that humor increases the chance of a sale.
What are the pitfalls?
The danger of humor is that you make a joke that harms some other person. A joke can often express a dangerous and sarcastic message that another can perceive as an attack. It is good to realize that one person can appreciate heavier humor whereas the other prefers to keep it dry and superficial.
A smile has the same positive consequences for everyone, but a joke can also turn out wrong. The standard jokes about family members who suddenly appear to have died recently. The otherwise-be-fired joke between employees when someone has just been told by his supervisor that his contract is not being renewed. A good comedian is dependent on the right timing.
A practical example
You will see this on many dating sites: a lot of women write in their profile “I think humor is incredibly important as well as depth!” And now suppose: you have two applicants. They are both good at their job, one is slightly more accurate than the other, but has no humor. Any funny intended remark in the job interview on your part falls dead.
The other, you can really laugh with. She might also be an asset to the Friday afternoon drink! Who do you choose? I know what I would do, however, a lot of chefs are different. So, for all of you chefs, here is a summary of the benefits of humor (in the workplace):
1. Humor produces good feelings
It is a well-known fact that when people are shaking with laughter, dopamine and endorphins (partly responsible for our feelings of happiness) are released and people could get on a high about this.
You get a good feeling, it takes away the pain. Various studies have shown that laughter removes stress, strengthens the immune system and lowers blood pressure. Laughter seems to be just as healthy as jogging!
2. Humor takes away stress.
Humor puts things into perspective and helps to forget the daily troubles. Laughter relaxes you mentally and physically. You have to work hard, but also laugh a lot. In other words, you work hard and play hard. This usually happens among colleagues, but bosses should recognize this as a good and productive working atmosphere. Some might even join in occasionally.
3. Humor puts matters into perspective.
What I have observed in companies: almost everyone reacts a bit stressed. There are deadlines, the standard for performance is high. And we all have the idea that someone else does it easily. In such a case, we are making ourselves and each other crazy. Share your discomfort, be a little bit funny and you will soon feel the relief.
4. Humor breaks the ice
The role of humor in social interaction varies according to the specific social interaction, but in the case of healthy mutual relationships it should have a place, otherwise, something will be wrong.
Try to imagine: you meet each other in the ward to stop laughing for a day. Then you sit in a meeting with each other and you express it deliberately: we won’t laugh one day tomorrow. Everyone agrees. And then silence falls. And then a smile. It does not work! I have heard that even during intensive operations there is laughter in the operating room. Humor is the binder in social interaction.
5. Humor is the perfect grease
The biggest problem in the functioning of companies is a lack of feeling secure and therefore openness. Humor is a perfect way to make things negotiable. It could be your personal fun to help people to be a little more themselves. By making jokes about the clumsiness, the fear of failure, people know: oh, I’m not alone.
6. Humor can be a comfort
Humor in the form of self-mockery can work wonders. Self-mockery shows you that you can’t do everything and that gives other people a different and better view: oh, yes, of course, we are all people. You can fail and stand up. By the way, be aware that self-mockery without compassion quickly becomes self-hatred and that is of course not so funny at all.
The “everything for a smile” slogan of internet company Coolblue is not that bad. The value of humor in business is essential and should not be underestimated.
On the other hand, timing is very important. A misplaced joke can do a lot of damage.
Test the waters
I myself was very careful with making jokes, always testing the waters first. I would say something funny and closely watch the reactions and when things looked very serious indeed, I would immediately back off. You have to bear in mind that not everybody has the same keen sense of humor or sense for the same type of humor.
And then there are bosses who never show any humor, they are too stressed or simply think that if you are using humor, you are not taking the business seriously. Believe me, I have seen this happen many times.
What to do when happiness is a far cry?
So, you have tried and did not find a happy workplace, something that happens to many of us. What do you do? Going to look for another job and run the chance of being stressed again? Or are you going to free yourself from the bonds of the corporate jungle?
The way out!
There is of course a perfect way out of all this, as we all have the chance to start for ourselves. The internet gives us these opportunities. Here is my suggestion: keep your job for the time being, but start your own business in your free time. You will be having your own website (s) and exploiting your passions or hobbies. You will form part of a community of well over 1.4 million members, who will help you day and night. Guaranteed scam free and reasonably priced.
Change your life here!
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8 thoughts on “How important is Humor at the Workplace?”
This is a nice theme to discuss! Yes, humor and relaxing chats during the work time are really helpful with bringing some stress relief. Sometimes people may feel quite stressed, nervous or lonely, and speaking to another person – in a context of humor and jokes – would give some positive boost to their mood. And this positive mood needs to be maintained later!
Jokes should be made carefully, of course. As for the human aspect of Humor, we can also say: We are HUMANS, not robots :).
Smiling more would be better for me too. Tough faces may also harm the way others perceive us.
Thanks for your article! It should also be shared on the Social Media for more people.
Thanks Peter, you are free to share this article anywhere you like. This post will also be published to FB, Pinterest and LinkedIn by myself. You make a good point that making jokes should be done carefully, as we do not have the same perception of humor. I see a lot of people who are completely humorless!
hello there,thanks for this awesome article it would really of help to the public as it has been of help to me.not until now I never knew the importance of humour all I do is go to work sit on my desk do my job and get no matter how I try to communicate I can’t and my colleagues just crowned me Mr sadist but after reading your article I now see the importance of humor and I would work on it,but I would like to ask how do I build a sense of humour?
It looks to me that you take work and maybe other things as well, too seriously. This will scare away colleagues easily. The way you’ll be able to change your sense of humor, i.e. making things amusing or humorous, is by being amused and finding the humor in them yourself. And that is not easy. Or try this one: make yourself acquainted with what is funny. Ans remember this as well: good jokes imitate real life but deviates from the expected with enough misdirection and exaggeration. Like this one: my grandmother’s hobbies are knitting, watching tv and involuntary manslaughter.
this is a very important or I would say this is a very crucial topic that its importance cannot be overlooked neither overemphasised. As a very social person I find it exciting to communicate with others,try to connect with them know what they like and know what they hate and that’s why my colleagues at work all like me because I tried to bring the house together especially during break times and most of the time when we have coffee breaks
You have stressed the importance of communicating with your colleagues and others. Well, now you know what bringing a bit of humor to the conversation can do for you and others.
Wow. Thanks a lot for such an amazing article. I totally agree with what you described here. Humor is the most important part of an activity. These days I saw a video where a person starts laughing at a bus station (for no reason). Within minutes his laughter spread and all the people in the bus station started laughing, I repeat, for no reason. As you said, humor is contagious. I recommend this video to you!
I would also like to get to work and read at least a humorous email that will make my day to start with positive energy.
Thanks again and i hope to see more articles like this. I admit it made my day.
Thanks for your video suggestion, I saw one myself of a guy reading a book in the subway laughing his pants off. Everybody around him was laughing too. Good idea to get such a video in. And I fully agree, a good smile in the morning can make your day.