Laughter is healthy and humor connects and puts things into perspective, yet little attention is paid to it in the workplace, as is generally known. Yes, not everybody has the same sense of or even a sense of humor. For example, there is no need for humor in the undertaker’s profession, because those people can’t make use of humor anyway. But most companies, although having to make money, are not in such a very serious business.
Things could change. We should help entrepreneurs bring more humor into their companies. This is important, especially in times of crisis, especially the Corona crisis. And that’s an understatement.
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Humor at the workplace
In a medical magazine it was already written in 2018 that doctor’s/nurse”s humor was used as a method to deal with the sometimes agonizingly heavy hospital work, management sites are full of tips about humor in the workplace and science has also found that funny chatter with colleagues ensures relaxation, creativity and cooperation and product promotion. Yet humor is by no means self-evident in every company. The importance of humor in the workplace is totally underestimated or not even a point. Why is that?
Science is not ready
Fortunately, science always has something on the one hand and on the other. We learn that too much fun on the work floor can also lead people to be less industrious and productive. Not everyone has a similar sense of humor. There are employees who visit grandma on Saturday or help the youngest with his speech. They prefer not to go on a company outing. And they are quite reluctant that the chef in the bus hands out the best company songs. Scientifically, it remains to be determined whether pleasure at work can also lead to emotional exhaustion and stress.
Can it be trained?
Happily there are some people/HR’s around who try to do something about this. They give workshops such as “Training to be a Stage Tiger” and talk to each other as a stand-up comedian. They started with a small idea, that asks: How cool would it be if we could help entrepreneurs create their own show? One fellow entrepreneur then said: “But what if you only focused on humor on stage?” This really started things off. They took that funny signal seriously.
Little talent necessary
They believe that enthusiasm sells and humor is inextricably linked to it. They mainly guide people who sell their own products. In their workshops they teach them humor techniques. You don’t have to have an innate talent for telling jokes. People sometimes have very high expectations, but they quickly lower the bar for them. But, be careful as humor is very personal. Everyone can use things from their own life, company or work. It is also very much about your view of the world. That makes it fun.
Laughing through the corona crisis
We also rely on humor in this corona crisis. This period is causing so much pain and sorrow. People get panicky, scared and stressed. Me too initially. They needed to consciously post positive messages about fine initiatives. Because they didn’t know what to do at the beginning. Perhaps there will never be a stage again! So they started a live humor workshop every day for half an hour with assignments to take a light look at the crisis. That made them creative again. That is how the online training came about, put some humor in your video! Creativity flows from here to Tokyo!
Try and see the humor
In the workplace, humor lends itself to tough moments also. People often use humor to free themselves from their feelings. But if you can see the humor of something heavy, you work through those emotions and in the long run you are less troubled by them. Businesses and entrepreneurs are many times reluctant to use humor. People are afraid that others will not take them seriously, which is an opinion I heard over and over again.
Some customers could also be bothered by this: do I still look professional? But I think that while speaking humorously about your own field of expertise, it testifies to confidence, such as in certain beer and salmon advertisements. You show that you can put things into perspective. I mistrust people who don’t. It doesn’t have to be that serious.
This way you provide more humor during your work
So, here are some techniques that can help you become more humorous or quicker treat a situation with some humor so that reality comes back.
1. The technique of exaggeration. If you realize that you or your team are at a low or see no way out, it can help to speak that out loud and exaggerate. For example, can you find 10 ways to see how we can make this situation even worse than it already is? Team members will start to see the ridiculous situation sooner and later, smile about it and come up with solutions with renewed energy.
2. The technique of reversing. I am a big fan of this one. It works especially if you are annoyed about something and then think of benefits. Like a new keyboard that is not working properly: why is it incredibly good that that key is not working properly? That makes you somewhat aware of the ‘enormity of the issue. Use it as a moment to be mindful.
3. Watch funny videos at work. That makes you acutely happier, but not in the boss’s time of course. For example, I really like Laurel and Hardy, La Linea and the wacky races. The laughing of the dog when Dick Dastardly is roasted again! I would also like to point you to my recent article about funny work jokes and office humor, which can be accessed by clicking here. Here is the salmon joke:
Final thoughts + my # 1 recommendation
Unless you are in the undertaking or similarly serious business, humor should be part of the work ethos. It can work miracles in helping to solve adverse conditions.
Every entrepreneur should by now be aware of the very positive contributions of humor to the production of a team. He could even let HR help in bringing this in or hire a third party to take care of it.
You can make your own contribution by adding something funny to your work, conversations and even meetings. Some caution will be necessary, as people might not take you seriously.
It will be clear that humor is not the same for everybody and if your boss is completely humorless, you could have a problem. If you are fed up with the corporate jungle anyway, then why not start your own business?
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