So many workplaces seem devoid of humor. I ask my audiences, “When was the last time your coworkers burst out into laughter and it wasn’t at your expense?” The answer definitely depends on your culture and your colleagues.
All too often, stress is the reason for all that office ennui. People are in survival mode, just trying to get through till quitting time. In fact, when you’re facing a tough deadline or enduring an impossible task, the last thing you probably want to hear is some joker saying, “Hey, did you hear the one about the priest, the rabbi, and Bill Clinton walking into a bar?” You want to rip their tonsils out.
A regular dose of laughter, however, reduces stress, and it’s desirable. In fact, a Forbes article written by Jacquelyn Smith cited a few statistics that validate the importance of humor, “A Robert Half International survey, for instance, found that 91% of executives believe a sense of humor is important for career advancement; while 84% feel that people with a good sense of humor do a better job. Another study by Bell Leadership Institute found that the two most desirable traits in leaders were a strong work ethic and a good sense of humor.”
There is the unknown of being the person to initiate – will your coworkers think it’s funny? Will anyone be offended? Will they join in on the banter? However, as you make the effort to get to know your team members, you’ll soon be able to determine your comedic boundaries. Remember, wit and humor is appreciated, and it’s needed! So, let yourself laugh, doing so will reduce your stress and helps others reduce theirs. Laughter is the proven antidote, and it comes naturally when the company culture is conducive to it – be a part of it!