Laughter and humor are an important part of the workplace. Benefits of laughing at work include improved productivity, creativity, teamwork, communication, stress relief, job satisfaction, and employee retention.
Laughter stimulates the release of endorphins, which are your body’s natural relaxants. A good laugh increases productivity, teamwork, employee retention, and job satisfaction. Humor also increases communication throughout the workplace and decreases stress levels.
In today’s workplace, wellness is a serious issue. With terms like “stress-related-illness” and “burnout” becoming household words, organizations look increasingly for ways to keep their workforce happy, healthy and productive.
Up to now, many organizations considered laughter at work as a distraction from getting the “real” job done. However, companies are beginning to realize that all this pressure is actually counter – productive. It leads to a lowered potential and creates a sort of constant work tension that is detrimental to both the individual as well as the company.
A recent study conducted at financial institutions found that managers who facilitated the highest level of employee performance used humor as an incentive. Scientific data also proves laughter to be an integral part of physical wellness. Dr. William Fry of Stanford University has demonstrated that laughing 200 times burns off the same amount of calories as 10 minutes on the rowing machine.
Another study reveals that after a bout of laughter, blood pressure drops to a lower healthier level than before the laughter began. Laughter also oxygenates your blood (and thus increases your energy level), relaxes your muscles, and works out all major internal systems like the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.
All this results in not only healthier workplaces, but also increased morale and team spirit. More and more people in the business world are incorporating laughter in their HR training and daily work regimen to strike a healthy emotional balance and achieve professional success.
Here are five easy steps to help bring humor into your workday from Jacki Kwan, humor therapist and author of Almost Home: Embracing the Magical Connection Between Positive Humor & Spirituality:
- Listen to a funny audiotape or radio show on your drive to work. Then, remind yourself of the jokes you heard throughout the day.
- Clip a comic from the newspaper and post it on your desk or workspace. Pick a new comic every week to keep your spirits high.
- Share a joke with a co-worker. Make sure it’s appropriate, of course, and it will keep you both in a good mood for the whole day.
- Take a walk on your lunch break. Moving your body will lift your mood, get your blood pumping, and relieve tension.
- Get some funny props: a clown nose, a rubber chicken, an outrageous wig… whatever keeps you laughing. Keep the props in a desk drawer and break them out when things get too serious.
When used appropriately, humor can give every situation a positive spin, even the stress of your workday. Remember, positive humor has absolutely no negative side effects.
What are you doing to find a good laugh in the workplace?