If you google “sense of humor in business,” you will get 119,000,000 search results. Why? Because people are talking about it… a lot… and not because it is so prevalent in the workplace. Sources like INC, Forbes, Harvard Business Review, Stanford Graduate School of Business, and Business Insider are all saying the same thing about a sense of humor at work:
- There is a serious lack of humor at work
- It is highly effective for employee engagement and retention
- Productivity increases
- Increases innovation and inspiration
- It improves mood, reduces blood pressure, and decreases stress
- And, the most successful organizations use humor inside the office and in their marketing
Humor can be defined in many ways, yet there are guidelines as to what NOT to do in a work environment such as not making fun of someone else – their work, their physical appearance, etc. Really, just use common sense.
Not sure where to start? Start small. Pick an internal meeting and toss in a few humorous quotes or industry-related cartoons to kick off your meeting/PowerPoint presentation. If your organization has recently done a video for social or your website, ask your videographer to pull together a blooper reel and show it during an all-staff meeting, or just smile more. A simple smile can go along way! Just don’t walk around like Sheldon from Big Bang Theory who looks like a demented clown without the make-up. (see header photo)
Where I used to work, we made up our own silly titles for our office/cubical nameplates. As the Marketing Director, my nameplate read “Propaganda Princess” and our controller was “Kicker of Assets” – it made you smile just walking into your office. Try this: on the way to work, turn off talk radio and turn on a comedy station on your satellite radio. Wouldn’t it be nice to start your day smiling and laughing instead of stressed out and irritated? (Or, is it only me that gets irritated when I listen to talk radio??)
Still not convinced that humor works? Tell me if you know which B2C companies these sayings* are from that have NOTHING to do with their products:
- Dilly, Dilly!
- Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike!!
- Farfignoogen (that one is for my Baby Boomer and Gen X friends)
Have I made my point yet? STILL not convinced? There are benefits to a #RebelMindset, let me know if you want to spend some time brainstorming on how to implement humor in your company. I am happy to help! You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you don’t go back and read the articles linked above, please spend 11 minutes watching this video: Humor at work | Andrew Tarvin | TEDxOhioStateUniversity. I promise you will not regret it!
*Bud Light, Geico Insurance, Volkswagen