Why has humor become a recognized asset in the workplace? Among others, there are the principal reasons why humor is important: it energizes, helps facilitate communication, and build relationships.
1. Humor Promotes Attending and Energizes
We know that all good lecturers have many jokes, stories, and anecdotes that are shared in order to command attention and energize the audience. Humor wakes us up and increases our attending. An office bulletin board loaded with cartoons, one liners, jokes, pictures, etc. is one way to invite humor into the workplace. A few moments of humor at work can lead to increased productivity as the newly energized employee returns to his or her task.
In working environments where humor is supported there develops a culture that utilizes the humor to reduce stress and provide perspective. We have all heard humor directed at lawyers, medical personnel, scientists, engineers, business persons, educators, etc. Learning to laugh at ourselves and our work lightens the load.
Humor is a major career asset, so let’s be serious about humor and use humor to lighten our seriousness in the workplace. As we increase our personal humor quotient and spread our humor contagiously to others, we will begin to see the “lite” at the end of the tunnel.
2. Humor Facilitates Communication
Humor provides a non-threatening medium through which an employee or employer can communicate with others without intensifying the emotional temperature of the relationship. Consider the frazzled secretary who posts the sign “I have only two speeds, and if this one isn’t fast enough then I’m sure you’re not going to like my other.” Or the somewhat scattered boss whose messy desk is complimented with a note that says, “A Creative Mess is better than Tidy Idleness.” The message is clear, yet the communication is done in a light and, therefore, less stressful way. The secretary’s sign pokes fun at the situation, and the boss’s note pokes some fun at himself.
3. Humor Builds Relationships
The development of staff cohesion and a sense of team effort in the workplace can be effectively facilitated by the use of humor. Bulletin boards, electronic mail, intra-office memos, voice mail, etc. all offer mediums through which we can share humor with co-workers. Office jokes taking the seriousness of work lightly provide us with the opportunity to become more connected with others.