Looking to improve your workplace culture? When was the last time you laughed at work? It turns out that, of all the ways to improve mental health in the workplace, one of the cheapest and easiest ways is to encourage a culture of humor.
We’ve talked about the health benefits of laughter before. But here are some reasons that humor is especially good for workplace wellbeing.
Laughter builds relationships at work
One thing about laughter: it’s contagious. And people who share a laugh together feel closer to one another. An environment that encourages humor helps people relax, which makes them more cooperative and creative. If you hear colleagues yukking it up in the conference room, don’t assume they’re goofing off. It just means your team works well together!
Happy employees are more productive
This one might seem a little obvious but it turns out that strong mental health in the workplace is good for productivity. A low-stress environment makes it easier to concentrate. It’s also good for innovation; people are more likely to take risks when they don’t feel threatened. The endorphins laughter produces also makes people more creative and better problem-solvers. Finally, laughter raises energy levels and increases focus, two very good things when you’re racing against a deadline!
Humor can ease stress and workplace tensions
Stress is unavoidable at work. Recently, however, workplace stress has skyrocketed, fueled in part by the COVID-19 pandemic. Too much stress can have a catastrophic effect on employee well-being and, by extension, the well-being and success of the entire organization. Companies are putting a lot of effort into stress management initiatives, which is great. They won’t make much of a difference, however, if the work environment itself is unbearably tense.
Laughter is good for your body
A good hearty laugh has a number of physical health benefits. It boosts your endorphin levels while lowering your heart rate and blood pressure. Regular laughter improves your immune system while reducing pain levels. Plus, you intake extra air when you laugh, refreshing your body with much-needed oxygen.
Humor makes you appear friendlier and more competent
Finally, while this might not directly benefit your workplace wellbeing, having a good sense of humor is a socially favorable quality to have. People are attracted to laughter; everyone likes to laugh and feel good! A humorous disposition makes you more approachable, a fabulous quality for any workplace leader to have. People who crack jokes are also seen by others as more confident and competent than their more serious counterparts. In fact, even telling a bad joke is better than being too serious, though inappropriate and offensive jokes have the opposite effect.
Boost workplace well-being by being serious about humor
Improving workplace culture starts in your workplace. If you want a strong company culture, you have to take a hard look at the reality of your current situation. Taking yourself or your business too seriously can actually do more harm than good to your credibility and productivity.
Loosening up can feel like a loss of control at first. There’s an underlying vulnerability to humor; joking with someone is extending an offer of trust. But extending that trust is well worth the dividends it pays, so don’t be afraid to inject a little humor into the workplace.
Stumped for good jokes? Why not try a live coaching session? You could say our sense of humor is… Fabulous. 🙂