Workplace Humor: Can It Help Your Business?

Posted: Updated:

Humor is one of those things in life that is wonderful when it works and awkward when it doesn’t. Just think of a time when a joke you told got a laugh from everyone in the room. Then compare it to another time when your wit was met with blank stares and offended looks. In the workplace, especially, humor has been blamed for some pretty big upsets, causing it to become a sensitive subject around the office.

But research indicates that workplace laughter has its benefits. Chris Robert, a professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia, published his findings about workplace humor in the Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management journal. In a Business Week article, Robert explained that “the link between humor and positive emotions seems strong, which is intuitive, and there's also a strong correlation between positive emotions and workplace performance.” So it might be time to consider how humor could actually help your business. It can help you build your relationships, but can also go a long way with your internal team.

Look for It In Your Top Talent
There are many qualities to look for in potential employees, and many characteristics depend on the position you’re attempting to fill. But, if you’re looking to add an intelligent or creative person to your team, you may also want to take notice of their humorous side. According to Robert, the ability to be humorous is “associated with intelligence and creativity, two things highly valued in workplaces.” The reason for that is because of what humor is. “We find jokes or comments funny because they are linking two things together—perhaps through a punch line—that you wouldn't normally link together,” Roberts explains. “That's what creativity is, too: Putting things together in a unique way.” For those in high-stress jobs or leadership roles, laughter and banter with co-workers can be a great relief. At the same time, having an enjoyable work environment can appeal to top talent. The Wall Street Journal published that “mixing laughter and fun into a company culture can attract skilled workers.”

Use It to Cut Down on Turnover
Embracing humor within your company can also help to reduce your employee turnover. Business Week reported “joking around on the job can actually have a positive effect on productivity and employee retention.” The Wall Street Journal highlighted a Pennsylvania State University study which found that “a good laugh activates the same regions of the brain that light up over a fat bonus check.” And that makes sense if you think about it. As Robert says, “If you have positive emotions about your job, you're less likely to quit.”

Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously
Obviously, creating a workplace that employees enjoy is going to improve the work environment. But leaders can use a specific type of humor to improve their reputation among, and relationships with, their employees. “One trait that consistently ranks highly among the most admired leaders is they’re confident enough to poke fun at themselves,” reported Forbes. “Smart leaders have long recognized the best punchline – themselves.” The Leadership & Organization Development Journal found that “executives and managers who use self-deprecating humor appear more approachable and human to subordinates.”

Like anything, humor should be used in moderation, tastefully, and in accordance to your business culture. But when an expectation is set that a business or department isn’t fun to be a part of, productivity, turnover, and recruiting will all be impacted. Why not see if a little bit of joking and laughter could help your business and employees’ performance? You might even enjoy work a little more yourself.

Alyssa Chumbley is vice president of NWI Express Employment Professionals

  • Perspectives

    • Can You Fulfill Your Quest?

      All of us have dragons to slay. At work or at home, in personal or professional relationships, each of us is on a Quest to find the treasure or save the prince/princess. Or perhaps, our goal is more prosaic: getting that promotion, standing up to that bully, or finishing that big project. In his book The Seven Basic Plots, Christopher Booker lists seven story forms which story tellers employ over and over. Each is plot is linked to a fundamental metaphysical Question that we...

    More

Subscribe

Name:
Company Name:
Email:
Confirm Email:
HTML
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections
INPower
Subscribe
Unsubscribe

Events



  • Most Popular Stories

    • High Schools Launch Manufacturing Businesses

      Two student-run manufacturing businesses have launched in southern Indiana. The companies, Eagle Manufacturing at Brown County High School in Nashville and Lion Manufacturing at Loogootee High School in Martin County, are designed to give students hands-on, real world experience. The businesses were funded with grants from Bloomington-based nonprofit Regional Opportunity Initiatives Inc. In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, ROI Chief Executive Officer...

    • Project to Transform Historic Madison Mill

      A collaboration has been formed to rehabilitate the historic Eagle Cotton Mill along the Ohio river in downtown Madison. Riverton LLC has joined forces with the city of Madison and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation to transform the vacant site into a boutique hotel and conference center. The three-story, 104,000 square foot building was built in 1884 and used to make twine and fabric before closing in 1937. The building was bought by Madison-based Meese Inc. but...

    • Hogsett Details Infrastructure Plan

      Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and the city's Department of Public Works have unveiled a $126 million plan for infrastructure improvements throughout the city. The mayor says the effort will focus on resurfacing roads, rehabilitating bridges and increasing pedestrian safety.

    • Buttigieg Launches Presidential Exploratory Committee

      South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg has announced he has launched a presidential exploratory committee. The Democrat, who is in his eighth and final year as mayor, served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve and ran in 2017 for Democratic National Committee chair. Buttigieg was elected mayor in 2011 and re-elected in 2015. In December, he announced he would not seek a third term. At the time, he would not comment on a possible presidential bid, but said he would continue working...
    • Can You Fulfill Your Quest?

      All of us have dragons to slay. At work or at home, in personal or professional relationships, each of us is on a Quest to find the treasure or save the prince/princess. Or perhaps, our goal is more prosaic: getting that promotion, standing up to that bully, or finishing that big project. In his book The Seven Basic Plots, Christopher Booker lists seven story forms which story tellers employ over and over. Each is plot is linked to a fundamental metaphysical Question that we...