Humor in the Workplace: Laugh-tivate!

Imagine a work place where the only sound that you hear is that of your co-worker hitting hard on the keyboard, and the only conversation you have with collegues is about business, sales, profit and growth. Isn’t that just boring?

Like it or not an office is the employe’s second home, or even first considering the number of hours they spend working. What drives them to wake up every day and rush to work all charged up? Their Salary, of course! But is that all?

Let me ask you a question. If your mother tells you she will pay you Rs.1000 a day to do all household chores, and you had to work an entire day at home for a year, would you take the offer? Most likely yes, but trust me you would quit before a year. Why? Because you will miss the most important aspect of work — fun!

Now if office is an employee’s second home and fun, besides work, is what drives everyone to work, how can an employer add fun to the office? The answer: by creating an environment for humor to sink in. If you’re not convinced, let me give you some reasons why humor is important at a workplace:

Bonding between Employers and Employees
At Sasto Deal, the employee retention rate is 90 percent and above. Not that our employees are paid the highest of salaries, nor do they have less work compared to other offices, but why is the retention level so high?
It is because of the strong bond we (owners) have with our managers and employees. And one of the foremost reasons for such a strong bonding is humor. If I have to count, I hear people laughing from all corners of the room at least five or more times a day. We don’t make them hush-hush until the level of noise gets extreme. A lot of times, we participate and get a good laugh ourselves.
A recent example is when one of our product managers (male) put on a bra over his shirt, and our photographer sneaked in a shot. The photograph circulated all over Sasto Deal’s office and everyone had a good laugh. Nope, it never made it to our website. He eventually made an offer to buy everyone a drink and had the photograph deleted.

Creative Thinking
People with great sense of humor are also the ones who are creative. And a work environment that allows humor bolsters creativity as well.

An Extra Edge
According to a survey by Hodge-Cronin & Associates, of the 737 CEOs surveyed, 98 percent preferred job candidates with a sense of humor to those without. Another survey indicated that 84 percent of the executives thought that employees with a sense of humor do a better job than people with little or no sense of humor.

Part of the Team
It is often the case that employees take their managers and supervisors as their “bosses” who are not a part of “their” team. This is common in offices where humor is not on the agenda. On the contrary, my managers and employees take me as one of their own because I participate not only in their work but also in their jest. Sports, outings and movies are some of the other activities that allow managers and supervisors to be part of the company’s team, and not be just the employees’ bosses. The outputs of these activities are: humor and fun.

Open Communication
Every organization has at least a few people who feel shy to express their opinions and ideas. How can you get them talking?
Humor is what can get them talking. I have seen that many new-comers barely communicate in the first few days. All of us know the feeling we get on the first day of work. It is like the first day at a new school. But once we sense that the office is not just work but also fun, then we make friends, open up, share and talk.

Don’t worry, Be happy
There are no surprises here. Humor is a great stress buster! Deadlines, targets, sales, customer complaints, furious bosses and multiple tasks at hand can make anyone go insane and feel drained. But as the saying goes, ‘laughter is the best medicine,’ and I don’t need to ‘stress’ more on the stress-buster part.

Oops, I forgot to mention one very important point. There is a fine line between humor and anger. Try it out on your bosses sometime and you will know when you’ve crossed the line.

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