Humor in the Office – Bad for Productivity?

By Purnima BalrajuApr 24, 2017

Humor and the workplace may be frowned upon. Even the most casual office environments could harbour certain stigmas and uncertainties when allowing humor in the workplace. That is, until recent developments.

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It’s easy to understand why. Humor is subjective and one bad joke (sexist quip or racist jibe) can easily lead to conflict. You might even worry that your manager will take humor as a sign of a lack of dedication or seriousness in your work ethic. However, it is slowly becoming clear that these fears are generally baseless. Humor in the workplace can present major benefits for everyone in terms of productivity, company bonding and creativity.

Here are some ways humor, with the help from a professional coach, can help you spice up the working environment on those long, weary days at the office.

Stress relief

In Singapore, it is very common for us to work late into the night. Many a time, it’s a norm. Of course, this leads to higher stress levels and a drop in employee satisfaction. Humor is a very effective stress buster, which can help mitigate the effects of a burnout. Humor as a stress-relieving tool can help you to cope. Making anyone feel better prepared to face the challenges of the day. Humor has also been shown to improve employee retention and reduce overall rates of attrition. In essence, happy employees contribute to better overall performance and job satisfaction.

So what makes a happy employee? It’s not just one who can laugh and cope with the daily demands. It is also one who knows he is being listened to. Humor, provides this opportunity by creating common ground between people. Thus, encouraging openness and diminishes the fear of criticism. Even my shy colleagues are more relaxed about speaking up in settings where levity is encouraged.

When my work atmosphere is light-hearted, my workday doesn’t seem as tedious, and my motivation and productivity is increased. My colleagues and I are less likely to have conflict amongst ourselves if we’re in a great mood and laughter certainly generates this positive vibe for everyone, making everyone’s jobs generally more enjoyable.

A lively atmosphere

Humor also helps shy employees to connect with others and upper management. A funny manage is an approachable one. This fosters interaction between manager and subordinate. This common ground not only humanises managers, it puts people at ease. Studies have shown that “people who laugh in response to a conflict tend to shift from convergent thinking, where they can see only one solution, to divergent thinking where multiple ideas are considered.”

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Taking humor in this perspective helps companies increase their productivity, become more creative and even, bond together creating a more cohesive team. The cohesiveness of a company is all the more important during an economic downturn as companies that survive are those in which the employees come together to formulate creative strategies.

This gives employees an improved chance to develop strong relationships.

Coaching for Success

It’s not easy to bring humor to the workplace. It certainly didn’t come naturally to me, but with a professional coach certification, I was able to improve my business-relations. When acquiring advice for better living, my coach explained how humour helped me communicate more effectively. It can lighten the environment and keep negativity at bay. My team now works better together because we were more relaxed around each other.

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My steps for effective communication skills started with learning more about humor. Watching comedy shows and films, practicing jokes as part of my learning, helps a bit. However, internally, I realised I needed to persevere and to be a little thick skin. It will be difficult to bring humor to the workplace if I was going to be offended by a joke.

Disclaimer: Not all the jokes I’ve made, hit its mark. It’s ok, a lot of humor is trial and error after all. It is important to accept all these caveats, but it was easily done with the guidance of my professional coach. They taught me tactics to live stress-free and develop stronger bonds with others. If you want to acquire tips to live more successfully, contact a coach today!