Laughing should be an important ingredient when drafting any corporate culture change, especially in work environments that are intense, high-pressure and passionate.
Laughter is a product of humour and instilling it at work creates a positive environment that builds bonds between colleagues, encourages positive and innovative thinking, creates better communication and eliminates negative attitudes. The result of which is increased productivity and profitability.
Creating an environment where humour – and laughter – is viewed positively will create a place of enjoyment. It’s this enjoyment that will create a more productive, more efficient workforce where everybody will feel more engaged with the business.
Some people will tell you, ‘we have a great sense of humour around here’. And that may be, but why are there still so many people who are unhappy at their jobs? It’s quite clear that humour and laughter involves more than just water cooler banter and email jokes.
It’s about fostering a happy environment where easy laughter can be found throughout the day. A shared laugh within a team will do a lot more to resolve problems than an expensive team building experience. It will bring a team closer together because a shared laugh suggests a common experience, a positive thought that tells every individual that ‘we’re in this together’.
Laughter can quickly change a negative environment into an environment that is rich with positive thinking and positive ideas. Laughter can help your employees become better at their jobs because they feel more motivated in a laughter rich environment. Not only do employees who laugh at work tend to be healthier and more productive, but they are also absent from work less often. If work is a fun, engaging and positive place to be then why would you NOT want to be there every day?
Laughter can also help employees think more creatively. Sharing a laugh at a brainstorming session releases tension, shows a shared intention and frees people from the fear of being criticized or judged by their peers. All of this leads to a much more positive thinking environment where people are more likely to think of creative and innovative solutions.
For humour to flourish, an environment needs to exist that all employees feel welcome, comfortable and relaxed within. This will then naturally inspire people to express themselves – from which humour will organically grow and with it so will laughter.
And once you have happy employees you’ll find they are more productive and engaged, more likely to think creatively and more likely to be a positive element in your business.
This environment needs to be led from the top down. The two most desirable traits in leaders are a strong work ethic AND a strong sense of humour. Leaders who can use humour, particularly in seemingly stressful situations, are viewed as being in charge and being in control of the situation, even when they might not be. Laughing in the face of adversity shows your employees that you have everything under control. This calm approach to management will be mirrored by a calm approach from your teams.
But humour from the top needs to be a considered approach. A leader who is forever cracking jokes is a leader who runs the risk of becoming a figure of ridicule, a’la David Brent from The Office.