Does Humour Work At Work?

Does Humour Work At Work?

By: Jeannie Chong | Special Projects Assistant
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Laughter creates the feel-good chemical dopamine, which heightens creativity, builds teamwork, and even dispels negativity. Humour is often considered one of the best ways to relieve stress, tension and anxiety.

But wait, is humour important in the workplace? Some argue that people with a sense of humour are seemingly more successful. Additionally, others suggest that a little levity won’t hurt; instead it can go a long way in creating a positive and relaxing atmosphere in the workplace. So, does this mean you should be funny at work?

Dwight D. Eisenhower, the former President of the United States, once said, “A sense of humour is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.”

Research at California University pointed out that being funny could help employees to release tension. If we use humour tastefully and appropriately, taking time to laugh can help us get rid of negative feelings and help us concentrate on our work!

Michael Kerr, the President of Humour at Work said, “Even people who aren’t always comfortable sharing their humour tend to do so in more relaxed environments where the use of humour becomes second nature with everyone’s style.” He further suggests that by adding more humour at the workplace, it helps boost morale, reduces stress and conflict, and even improves your chances of personal success.

According to a Robert Half International survey, 91% of executives believe that a sense of humour is crucial for their career advancement, while 84% agree that people with a good sense of humour do a better job.

What makes appropriate humour?

  • Make fun of situations, not people. Never use humour to belittle, mock or put people down.
  • Be tactful. Being funny in stressful situation may help to put a new perspective.
  • Seeing humour in everyday situations in the workplace.
  • Poking fun at yourself. According to Dr. Terry L. Paulson, “When you tell a story that pokes fun at yourself gently, it acts as a social lubricant that says, “Hey, this person is a human being, someone at ease with life, and we can feel the same way.” In other words, if you try to be relaxed and have fun at yourself, it will make the atmosphere be less stressful.

Our first priority at work is definitely the job at hand and respecting others. If you are a funny person but a lazy worker, there is no room for humour. Co-workers could find you annoying and question your ability. However, if you are a hard worker with a sense of humour, it will benefit you and create a harmonious workplace environment.

I leave you with a quote by a famous comedian of all time, “A day without laughter is a day wasted” –Charlie Chaplin. 

Jeannie ChongJeannie Chong is a Special Projects Assistant with SFU Career Services, and a fourth year student studying communications and publishing. Jeannie also volunteers at a radio station, spends time doing crafts and Chinese calligraphy, and loves to indulge her sweet tooth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lead image: creative-commons licensed photo by Matthew Grapengieser on Flickr.

Posted on May 29, 2013