Having a good sense of humor isn’t only desirable on the dating scene. Recent studies show that smart business leaders are also looking for perfect matches who can bring a bit of levity to the daily grind. It might seem like a no-brainer that humor at work equals a happier environment, but when it comes to the office we often shy away from those one-liners and witty anecdotes for fear of crossing some stuffy, professional line.
With more successful leaders recognizing the myriad of benefits of laughter around the water cooler, it seems the age of the buttoned-up, sterile workday might be coming to an end.
A Belly Laugh a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
Forget the apple – how about a nice, big belly laugh? The kind that doubles you over, leaves you breathless and makes you feel like you just did 50 crunches. It’s been reported that a 30-second belly laugh strengthens your immune system for up to three months and can add years to your life. With that in mind, it’s no wonder employers are recognizing the benefits of keeping their associates in stitches. Companies with a lighthearted, humor-filled culture tend to have less stressed out employees and lower stress equals fewer sick days.
Humor Levels the Playing Field
People who can take a joke and are easy with a laugh are more approachable. For leaders, this is key to building trust and developing open communication with employees. Seeing that the gal in charge has a sense of humor and can even poke a little fun at herself makes her seem like more than her big title. Judiciously using wit can be humanizing and helps to put everyone on the same level, which not only boosts morale but can increase productivity as well.
Cracking a Joke Can Create a Breakthrough
If a team has been struggling with a challenging issue or team members find themselves banging their heads against the proverbial wall trying to come up with a new approach to an old problem, injecting some humor into the situation and can be a catalyst for creativity. When people are joking around and sharing laughs the atmosphere becomes electrified with new energy and it becomes easier to brainstorm, interact and think outside the box. Teams who can relax and foster a convivial environment are more tapped into their passion for the project and find it easier to overcome roadblocks.
Use Humor at Your Own Risk
With all the obvious benefits of humor in the workplace, it would be remiss to forget that humor needs to be used intelligently and carefully. Not all humor is appropriate for the workplace, especially anything that is politically incorrect or offensive. If the only way Joe knows how to get a laugh is to make cruel jabs about race, gender or religion, then Joe needs to have a little chat with HR about keeping his “funny” comments to himself. Sarcasm is another sticky wicket at the office, and should not be used as it tends to be personal and can create rifts instead of unity.
How many times have you laughed at work today?
About the Author
This is a post from our friends at BusinessBee. You can find them on Twitter via @BusinessBeeCom or on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.