Why a Corporate Culture of Good Humor Should be Encouraged
A good laugh has been known to brighten a workplace day, but to what extent should a culture of humor be fostered?
To a large extent if your aim is to create a creative, innovative work team, you should use humor. Chris Robert, a University of Missouri scholar conducted research in the journal “Research Personnel and Human Resources Management” and discovered that the use of humor and the ability to produce humor is closely associated with intelligence and creativity.
So if you are trying to foster such an environment, stash the “no laughing on company time” sign and let go of a belly laugh.
The research may appear to fly in the face of many human resources best practises that are full of cautions about telling jokes that are offensive.
Good workplace humor doesn’t mean opening the door to demeaning jokes and cruel one-liners.
Instead it means promoting the joy of incongruity, the linking of things that don’t normally go together for a funny result. It’s more like watching an improv show than a stand-up comedian, in other words.
Here are five ways you can safely bring authentic humor into the workplace:
- Start off a normal Monday morning by changing the elevator music in your building. Make it something with an irresistible dance beat and plaster a big poster that advises employees when the doors open to dance out with their best moves for a chance to win a Friday afternoon off. Set up a video camera to catch the moves, and show the video around 3 p.m. Make sure the boss, who enters first before the others see her or him, does an outrageous hip-hop routine or something similar to an empty office to get the laughter going. If you don’t have an elevator, pump the music into the main lobby or launch into it five minutes into the first meeting of the day. The key is to have top management tie-in and do something totally unexpected.
- During a really rough project, have your team arrive to work to find Slinky toys on their desk. Then have the top manager walk into the room with one… don’t say a word, just do it. It will become the running joke of the day and generate little chuckles and hearty laughs. No words necessary.
- Call everyone in to a brainstorming, but instead of having chairs around a table, have a big dartboard set up. Invite people to enjoy a game of darts and just let talk about the game and other things take over. Then, once people are relaxed, broach the topic of the brainstorming session and see what happens.
- Have the staff working late last night to finish a mega-project? At 3 p.m. the next afternoon, turn the lights off and send a couple of people around with soft pillows for everyone’s desk and invite them to put their heads down and take a nap. Play Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star over the staff sound system. At the end of 10 minutes… sound an alarm clock.
- Forget emails. Summon staff to the next board meeting by flying a paper airplane to their desk.
Just remember that these are some ideas. Depending on your work environment find something appropriate that will lighten the mood around your office at least once or twice a month. When your employees feel less stressed and not so serious, the creativity and energy starts flowing!
For more information on humor in the workplace, contact SkyPrep today!
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