It’s not just ok to be funny at work… you should be!

by Bob Walsh

Everybody loves to laugh, but humor is not (just) a funny matter. According to a recent scientific study ((Christopher Robert, & James E Wilbanks (2012). The Wheel Model of humor: Humor events and affect in organizations Human Relations, 65 (9), 1071-1099 DOI: 10.1177/0018726711433133)) humor can have a profound impact on the performance and job satisfaction of employees.

What’s more – our brains respond to even just the sound of laughter in a similar way as they do react to something funny.

So just hearing people laugh (or even the canned laugh track of a sitcom) puts us in a humorous state.

What’s more – a single instance of humor can set the stage for another instance of humor, which can set the stage for another instance of humor and lead to what the researchers called a “humor episode”.

Humor episodes affect the mood and the social interactions which happen at the workplace positively.

According to the researchers, an atmosphere where humor is part of the day to day life of the workplace helps to orient team members more towards looking at opportunities rather than trying to avoid problems. It fosters more explorative behavior and more playfulness, which has a positive impact on creativity.

Studies have also shown that humor has a positive effect on health, and everybody knows that healther employees mean not just better performing employees, but also “cheaper” employees (as there are less sick leave days).

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