Laughter Yoga for teams

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Laughter and humour will benefit the workplace well-being of your teams

Video conference technology has been around for at least 20 years but it is only recently, due to the coronavirus pandemic, that we hold video conference calls on a daily basis.

It’s a fact of life for many and video conferencing is likely to increase, even after life returns to normal, as the benefits to businesses are numerous.

However, video conferencing does nothing for the workplace well-being or the workplace wellness of the staff who participate in them. Much of what makes us productive is the physical proximity of our colleagues and friends so an absence of this proximity is likely to have an impact on team productivity.

Staff, work-place well-being and workplace wellness

Laughter Yoga can help restore productivity in your teams. Laughter is a uniting force that can bond individuals and make them more resilient to the pressures that surround them.

The average person laughs 18 times a day and a massive 97% of that laughter occurs in the company of others. Think about it, when was the last time you laughed at something on your own? I can guess that your answer is, ‘not often’. Now think about the last time you laughed with others? It was probably over something that was not particularly funny. In fact research has shown that 80% of what we laugh at together is not even remotely funny! It’s a fact of life that we are social creatures which means we share laughter; we laugh easier when we laugh together.  And this shared laugher is what really helps workplace well-being.

For you and your team members to be healthy and productive, you need to laugh as much as possible. Laughter and humour should be the fuel that drives your teams to exceed expectations and to keep workplace well-being and workplace wellness at the core of what you do.

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

6 ways Laughter can improve your team’s well being

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Seven benefits of humour and laughter for your teams

1

Removal of Barriers that Separate Management from Other Employees

There are certain barriers that naturally exist between managers and non-management members of the team—the most important of which is power and authority. When managers show that they can laugh with everyone else in the group, and—especially—can poke fun at themselves, the barriers come down, and the manager is viewed as a “regular person,” like everyone else on the team. This is essential to open communication between bosses and their subordinates (see below).

Research has shown that when the manager initiates jokes and is also occasionally the target of jokes, s/he tends to be viewed as a friend, rather than a boss. This friendship, in turn, opens up comfortable and honest communication. The individuals conducting this research argue that the increased group cohesiveness that results from shared humour does result in increased team productivity, but only when performance norms are high. Since performance norms have continued to rise over the past decade, virtually all employees are now confronted with such high performance norms.

2

Emotional Bonding

As noted above, shared laughter and the spirit of fun generates a bonding process in which people feel closer together—especially when laughing in the midst of adversity. This emotional glue enables team members to stick together on the tough days, when members of the team need each other to complete a project and assure quality customer service. This bonding goes a long way to enhance your team well-being and team wellness.

3

Open Communication

A common complaint in many organizations is a lack of good communication with management. A lighter atmosphere, and a manager who shares humour with the team, is a powerful tool in opening up the channels of communication. It frees team members up to communicate openly, without fear of reprisal. This is especially important when an employee knows that his/her opinion differs from that of management.

4

Trust

One of the by-products shared laughter and good open communication is a growing sense of trust. This is also, of course, partly a result of the emotional bonding that occurs through shared positive humour. When comfortable and open communication is lacking, it breeds a sense of distrust, and there is no way that a team can function effectively when this occurs. Without trust, communications can quickly become defensive or distorted, setting up future misunderstandings.

5

Improved Morale

When teams have fun on the job and share laughter, they enjoy their work more; and people who like their jobs work more effectively together. This is an especially important benefit of humour on the job, since employee morale has been dropping in many companies in recent years.

6

Reduced Job Stress

Other articles at this website document humour’s power in helping employees manage job stress. By reducing daily stress levels, humour and a lighter attitude help sustain the focused mental state required to do one’s work effectively when under pressure; it allows you to get a lot done and get it done quickly. It gives employees the emotional flexibility required to bend without breaking.

Also, as anyone who’s ever worked on a team knows, even when it’s only a few team members who are experiencing stress, their emotional state can quickly spread to other team members, interfering with the entire team’s performance. The greater the percentage of team members who receive the stress-reducing effect of humour, the greater the team’s chances of success on a project.

7

Increased Creativity.

Another article at this website shows that humour is a natural stimulus for creativity. It opens up new ways of viewing things and stimulates innovative ideas for solutions to difficult problems. This effect is especially important in team settings, where the ideas of one person can serve to trigger novel ideas for resolving problems in someone else.

As noted above, a lighter atmosphere reduces fear of rejection of one’s ideas, making team members more willing to take risks in proposing unusual ideas. Also when your own ideas are not adopted, a sense of humour helps “let go” of the upset we all occasionally feel when someone else’s ideas are judged more valuable that our own. This frees you up to work more effectively with the ideas the team puts up on the table.

So you have every reason to Lighten Up! Teams that Laugh, work!