What Happens When There's Fun In The Workplace?

Humor at Work

A Humorous Environment Just Might Be The Missing Ingredient Your Business Needs

While many people assume an entirely professional environment in the workplace means employees will be more productive and focus on their jobs, recent studies are increasingly showing that a little fun in the office does not detract from the tasks at hand. Only in recent years has the strict code of “no jokes, just work” softened in formal work environments, but nonetheless, uncertainties swirling around humor in the office.

Hesitation regarding the propriety of jokes in a work environment is not without reason; often, humor has an edge or sarcastic bite that may offend someone and cause feelings to be hurt- which may ultimately lead to conflict and tension. Another reason humor is regarded as inappropriate in the workplace by many companies is the correlation believed to exist between humor and a lack of seriousness or responsibility for the job.

Despite all these fears circling around allowing co-workers to have a little bit of fun in their work day between themselves, there is plenty of legitimate research which leans in favor of allowing humor in the office. Actually, this growing body of research suggests that employers should fear not allowing humor at work, since the evidence suggests that a more lighthearted environment leads to an increased sense of comradery and cohesion between co-workers and creative performance. And possibly most surprising of all, humor in the office may in fact just improve productivity- a far cry from the arguments of non-believers.

Let’s take a look at some of the amazing facts surrounding humor and its positive magic in the modern office.

1. A Little Harmless Fun Never Hurt Anyone

First and foremost, the occasional jokes between co-workers does not, in fact, distract people from doing their job. A recent study conducted at the University of Warwick and a German University revealed that happy employees actually make the company more successful, as elements of happiness increase productivity by 10%. The results of the study found that more happiness in the office will not detract from employee focus on their daily tasks or their productivity.

2. Humor > Salary For Modern Employees

Most people have heard the expression that “Life is short”. Well, that expression may be go hand in hand with the growing trend that in our modern society, people care more about enjoying what they do on a daily basis than anything else. The fact is, most of us spend the majority of our day and week at work- so who wants to be buckled down and miserable the entire time? A recent industry-wide study of over 2,500 Americans found that a majority of workers would pick a job with a more casual, fun work environment over a job with higher pay. In fact, 55% of the surveyed participants would take less pay to work at an office where doses of humor are not forbidden, but actually encouraged.

3. Humor Is Good For Your Health

It has been scientifically proven that laughter boosts your immune system and helps fight infections by enhancing the strength and presence of antibodies. A sense of humor even increases your immune cell count! This means a little good-spirited joking at work can quite literally reduce sick days amongst employees and maintain healthy employees who are happy to head to work.

4. Speaking of the Benefits of Laughter

Not only will your employees who laugh on a regular basis experience a stronger, healthier immune system, but they will also have positive effects on their cardiovascular system. It is no joke that laughter improves blood flow, reduces blood pressure, and lowers one’s heart rate. Laughter even boosts the function of your blood vessels by stimulating and expansion of the endothelium (in layman’s terms, the tissue making up the blood vessels’ inner lining). Basically, all of these health benefits related to laughter can actually reduce the chance of cardiovascular disease.

5. Ads With A Sense of Humor Make A Better Impact

Humorous headlines, relevant jokes, and effective puns have been shown to increase the chances of a viewer actually taking action. After all, jokes make an impression, and funny advertisements are more memorable in terms of marketing. If you work in advertising or marketing, encourage humor in the workplace to keep your employees laughing, and the successful ad campaigns coming.

6. Work Environments With A Splash of Fun Reduce Turnover and Burnout

This may seem like common sense, but when workers are allowed a little freedom for humor and occasional laughter, the chances of employee burnout and withdrawal are greatly reduced. Also not surprising, but happy workers are more likely to continue working their best at a job rather than stay employed somewhere they hate. This goes to show how a workplace with a subtle air of fun has improved employee retention and reduces attrition.

7. Creative Ideas Thrive in A Humorous, Open Environment

It is proven that creative thinking can be boosted depending on numerous variables- one of which is humor. A more playful office has positive impacts on worker’s psyches as it encourages more open thinking, while helping to erase fear of imperfections or mistakes. Being able to laugh at little things spills over into helping create a more relaxed co-worker culture, and encourages employees to speak and open up more often. Humor can encourage the sharing of ideas in the workplace, ultimately creating a more productive business.

See, we have come full circle. A little responsible and mindful joking in the office can have plenty of positive results. So there you have it. Let your employees indulge in a little laughter here and there, and watch the entire office work more fluidly together as a whole.

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Guest Sunday, 28 May 2017