The normal, everyday office presumably does not run like Michael Scott’s team from the US version of The Office. Even though your workspace is not part of a hit TV comedy, humor is a proven catalyst for the success of a business. Most people have probably worked at a corporation in the past where they were absolutely miserable and in that case, did you really feel like doing any of the work assigned to you? No. Because, your attitude affects productivity.
In general, positive human interactions push you to be more motivated in your day to day tasks. The same is true for your office environment. When a staff can use humor and joke around, they are more likely to succeed with what they are trying to accomplish. You may be asking yourself, why is humor so important? You’re trying to work – this is a job, not a playground.
That kind of thinking is not only antiquated, but can be extremely detrimental the seamlessness of your internal workflow. Simply put, people will find you more enjoyable to work with. Typically, you are spending more time at your job and with your coworkers, than anywhere and anyone else. President of General Motors in Canada, Steve Carlisle, regularly uses humor to bond with his staff and set the stage for a successful work day.
“I believe having a sense of humor is part of the leadership package,” Carlisle says, “It can help people feel more relaxed, more comfortable, and this be more effective at what they do.”
When you can get your staff to bond and laugh together, your employees will want to work their hardest to make the company thrive. It simply boosts morale and improves the flow of the work needing to be done. Perhaps, everyone is having a stressful day and feeling like they’re hitting a wall with their daily tasks; bringing a little humor to the table could be exactly what everyone needs to make it to the next step.
Another reason why humor in the workplace should be widely promoted, is that it shows a certain boldness that employers want from their employees. In Professor Maurice Schweitzer’s study Risky Business: When Humor Increases and Decreases Status, the professor says “being funny is taking a risk, and being risky shows confidence.” In a nutshell, it takes conviction to deliver a joke that will put the spotlight directly on you.
Of course, not all humor is appropriate and there is a level of respect and professionalism that needs to be exhibited in the workplace at all times. If you use dark or crude comedy, you may actually accomplish the exact opposite of what you initially intended to do. Rather than establishing an environment that elicits motivation, you may have just ostracized yourself, making coworkers cringe and ask themselves, “what were they thinking?”
To go back to using The Office as a reference, the UK’s version featured Ricky Gervais as David Brent. His character often came out with outlandish and very inappropriate jokes that made the entire staff uncomfortable. That kind of humor maybe good for outside the workplace, when with friends; but in a professional setting, try to keep things PG.