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Is there a place for Humour in the Workplace?

July 11, 2013

For most of us, work is serious business. We have targets to meet, projects to complete and in some cases even lives to save. A wise man once said, “Just because the work you do is serious, it doesn’t mean you have to be serious about the way you do your work“.

humour at work

There are a number of advantages associated with allowing humour in the workplace...

This quote is perfectly illustrated by the image of doctors in an operating theatre, wearing colourful bandanas and listening to upbeat music whilst they are literally performing lifesaving surgery.

Some managers argue that humour can distract their teams from getting the job done, whilst others fear that unleashing laughter will lead to a revolt.

Laughter is a natural bodily function and there’s a multitude of scientific research extolling the physical benefits of regularly laughing:
9 Reasons why laughter is good for your health
Study reveals laughter really is the best medicine – BBC

It’s also good for business – Advertisers use humour to create memorable TV commercials, the best public speakers weave humorous stories into their presentations and amusing sales people tend to sell more.

Additional benefits to teams include:
• Greater creativity
• More effective communication
• Breaks down conflict
• Reduces stress
• Strengthens relationships

So why don’t managers encourage more humour in the workplace? There are understandable concerns that it might go too far or cause offence, but modelling non-offensive, self-deprecating wit should ensure that the jokes stay within reasonable boundaries.

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