Benefits of Laughter in the Workplace

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Executives and other smart business leaders learn to fashion their management style based on their education, past experiences and role models. Many people admired Steve Jobs for his many accomplishments and thought that being a brilliant but hard driving perfectionist was the way forward.

But many executives have realized that utilising laughter in the workplace is also good for business. You might refer to this as the George Carlin style of management or the Rodney Dangerfield business-building technique. Leading with humour has been proven to work, even if it doesn’t get an overwhelming amount of respect. You may be surprised to learn that laughter plays a significant role in business. It may seem to go against the serious nature of enterprise, where the bottom line is sometimes all that matters.

But what’s good for business is determined by the results leaders attain. If leaders can improve the bottom line by allowing laughter in the workplace, it may just prove to be an effective management style that you might consider incorporating into your corporate culture. That is not to infer that you should turn your office into a Robin Williams movie set or a stand-up comedy lounge. Too much laughter is as detrimental to business as too much high-pressure stress. You must find a balance.

Can Laughter in the Workplace Be Good for Business?

All the benefits of laughter also benefit business. These include, but are not limited to, the following. Laughter…

  • Releases endorphins, allowing you to instantly feel happier.
  • Relieves stress, so you don’t get overwhelmed.
  • Promotes creativity from being in a more relaxed state.
  • Inspires you to see the world from a different perspective.
  • Helps create bonds with others.
  • Improves your health to keep headaches and illness at bay.
  • Clears your head so you can be more productive.

6 ways Laughter can improve your team’s well being

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Exploring Laughter at Work

Contrary to popular belief, most people do have a sense of humour, but your sense of humour can differ vastly from the IT guy’s. To enjoy the benefits of laughter, you need to actually have a sense of humour. You also need to have enough self-confidence to express it. 

Generally, the most honest laughter does not come from a forced joke, but from light-heartedness. In other words, laughter can arise from a tendency to seek the lighter side of things. In that sense, humour is a by-product of positive thinking and a natural deterrent for stress.

Self-confidence aids your sense of humour because it allows you to confidently make light of something — yourself, a tense situation, an unappreciative client — without feeling lessened by it. If humour is part of your nature, you can let it out at work to influence your team and it will seem natural. If you force it, they will know, and forced humour doesn’t encourage the natural health benefits of laughter

Type of Humour Matters

Because humour can be subjective, you must be careful when using laughter in the workplace. Obviously off-color jokes should be off-limits because there’s a line between humour and harassment. Also, keep the stereotypical humour to yourself. In order to receive the full benefits of laughter, the humour must be authentically funny, emotionally disarming and informally conspiratorial. It doesn’t offend. 

Self-deprecating humour can work, but if you use it too often, it can backfire. Studies show that employees don’t respect people who put themselves down all the time. Also, don’t pick on just one person on your team. If you do make fun of someone, make sure you spread it around equally. And you should discourage laughing at the expense of other team members. Instead, allow the team to laugh at themselves.

Getting the whole team together for 30 minutes has really created a great buzz amongst them. You should give it a go, we all got the giggles and it has been great fun.

Nigel Botteril

CEO, Entrepreneurs Circle

I think Laughter is a really important thing within the workplace, it helps to bond the team and create a great working atmosphere.

Hazel Edwards

Container Team

Laughter Eases Stress

The role of laughter in the workplace is to diffuse tension, motivate employees and build loyalty. It’s therefore less about telling a good joke than it is about seeing the humour in the immediate circumstances. Employees often appreciate the attempt at humour in a difficult situation, even if it’s less than successful. Such humour tells employees that you are thinking of their interests.

Benefits of laughter work best when humour is unexpected. Don’t overuse it, as prolonged exposure to humour renders it less powerful, like hearing the same joke for the 50th time. It no longer even causes a smile. Managing a team of executives, after all, is no joke, even if you occasionally use humour to ease tensions.

Benefits of Laughter at Work

Using humour lifts your team’s spirits, but it also has proven health benefits. Another benefit of laughter keeps your employees at work and out of the doctor’s office. Laughter not only reduces stress and anxiety; it helps the lungs, heart and brain.

In addition, when people laugh at the same thing, it brings them closer together. It creates bonds stronger than many other team-building exercises. A team that laughs together grafts together. Besides, people tend to bond more effectively in a positive environment where interpersonal relationships are fun and appropriate.

First, create a positive work environment for your team. Make it safe for team members to be themselves, where they can watch out for each other. Granted, this is a difficult first step if the prevailing atmosphere has been hostile, stressed or adversarial. But a positive work environment pays many dividends besides encouraging laughter.

Benefits of laughter in the workplace can be felt more widespread when you lead by example. Smile and laugh. Enjoy yourself. Give your team some space to be themselves. Schedule special times for fun activities. If you love your job, let it show. That kind of spontaneous exhibition can be contagious.

Of course, you and your team must accomplish your goals and meet your deadlines. Laughter has its place in the workplace, and as the team leader, you must know when serious work takes precedence over fun. Don’t lose control, or your team will lose respect for you.

Laughter Works at Work

Laughter often brings out the best in people. If you want to experience the health benefits of laughter at work, allow a little more humour with your team. In addition to laughter’s health benefits, there are mental benefits as well. Deep guffaws can help defeat depression and engage your team members in their work. 

If you’ve never tried it, consider this: it is difficult, if not impossible, to truly laugh with a group of people, no matter how divergent, and still remain aloof. Humour is a deeply rooted human condition that unites people. So laugh a little with your team and you will do great things.