Using humor at work
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Humor can increase engagement at work—if you learn how to leverage it properly.
Why is humor good for us at work? It’s the endorphins we feel when we laugh! In fact, even the anticipation of laughter releases feel-good chemicals in our bodies. Humor is a powerful tool for moving your team out of drudgery, building respect among team members and increasing productivity.
According to neurohumorist and TEDx speaker Karyn Buxman, humor is a shortcut to engagement. The key to leveraging humor with colleagues and employees is to make sure it doesn’t distract from work. Buxman advises leaders to set the tone for humor as well as high expectations. (Learn more in this video.) These elements working together lead to people performing well and having fun at work.
The difficulty with humor is that it’s subjective. What’s funny to your coworker may not be funny to you. However, this shouldn’t hinder your ability to joke around.
What it if went viral?
If you’re not sure about the appropriateness of a joke, employ the “gone viral” test. Imagine that it gets recorded, posted on social media and goes viral. All your customers, vendors and employees see it. If the joke is still funny then, say it out loud and enjoy the laughs. If the idea of having the joke go public makes you uncomfortable, or would make others uncomfortable, it’s best not to make it.
Humor that mocks, attacks, belittles or undermines has no place in the workplace. Discriminatory, racist, sexist or ageist comments can never be excused as “just a joke.” Keep your humor PC and PG to avoid problems in the workplace.
Lift others up
Use humor to lift others up. If your joke has a punchline, direct it toward yourself. Make fun of your own mistakes and foibles. You’ll get more laughs by poking fun at yourself rather than others.
Even if you’re not good at jokes, you can brighten someone’s day with a safe-for-work meme or cartoon. Find something silly or absurd to laugh about and see how much lighter your workday feels.
Laugh out loud
Even if you don’t know any jokes, simply laugh! In fact, today is Global Belly Laugh Day! At 1:24 p.m. smile, throw your arms in the air and laugh out loud. You’ll get the same endorphins flowing that come from hearing a funny joke.
Laughter in the workplace fuels positive energy, connection and creativity—use it to your advantage!
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