The Value of Humor in the Workplace


I write a humor column for a local paper, poking fun at the misadventures in my greatest occupation: motherhood.   It keeps me sane and helps me maintain a healthy perspective amidst what is often chaotic and stressful.

So it’s no surprise to me that Michael Kerr, author of The Humor Advantage: Why Some Businesses are Laughing All the Way to the Bank, says humor is a key to success, explaining, “At an organizational level, some organizations are tapping into what I’d like to call the humor advantage.”

In a recent article, author Jacquelyn Smith, taps into that humor advantage by sharing “10 Reasons Why Humor is a Key to Success at Work.”  Here we share 5 of those reasons:

1. People will enjoy working with you.  Humor lightens the mood, and it’s much more enjoyable to spend time with coworkers when they’re happy and upbeat than when they’re unhappy and morose.  Just watch the sarcasm.  While related to humor, it can be offensive and strike a sour mood.

2. Humor is a potent stress buster.  “In fact it’s a triple whammy,” Kerr says.  “Humor offers a cognitive shift in how you view your stressors; an emotional response, and a physical response that relaxes you when you laugh.”

3. Ha + ha = aha! It encourages creativity and innovation.  And, Kerr says, “It helps people play with ideas, lower their internal critic, and see things in new ways.”

4. It helps your company stand out.  Not long ago I realized that I could diffuse tense situations and generate more congenial relationships in my home with humor.  It’s helped me to develop a more appealing family life as a result.  In a similar way, Kerr explains that humor can help you secure a larger following and improve your customer service.

5. It can increase productivity.  Lynn Taylor, author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant, says, “Humor creates an upbeat atmosphere that encourages interactions, brainstorming of new ideas, and a feeling that there are few risks in thinking outside the box.  All that leads to greater productivity.”

Lightening things up in the workplace can put your staff at ease while also ensuring a more successful work environment.  When you model appropriate humor, it encourages everyone to enjoy your business and what it has to offer.   And the punch line?  It could possibly increase your profitability as well.

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Smith, Jacquelyn.  “10 Reasons Why Humor is a Key to Success at Work.”  3 May 2013

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