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3 Ways Humor Boosts Workplace Productivity and Engagement

Posted by Insightlink on 11/19/13

A rigid and serious working environment doesn't necessarily mean your employees are more hardworking and yielding higher output. In fact, a Robert Half International survey provides evidence that supports the opposite – 84 percent of surveyed execs believe that employees who have a good sense of humor perform better at work, according to Forbes.

A lighthearted workplace actually improves productivity, and of 2,500 employees surveyed across various industries in an Australian study, 81 percent of employees believe a fun work environment would increase productivity, highlights the essay "Humor in the Workplace: Anecdotal Evidence Suggests Connection to Employee Performance." Humor produces the following three specific workplace benefits that enhance overall business productivity and company engagement.


Good humor and good health are inextricably linked. Keas, a leading engagement platform for employee health and wellness, released its First Annual Employee Happiness Index that includes a poll of 762 surveyed U.S. employees participating in the Keas employer health program. The index found that 92 percent of employees participating in a corporate health program experience job engagement and happiness, which is "triple the rate of the national average," according to Keas.

Although a nutritious diet and active lifestyle contribute to optimal health, a good sense of humor can just as significantly support better health. Giaim Life, "Your Guide to Better Living," reminds us that a deep laugh lowers blood pressure, relieves stress, releases endorphins and promotes a positive outlook. Employees who experience reduced work-related anxiety and stress also experience reduced work-related tension and boredom. As a result, an employee continues to concentrate and focus on a repetitive task or high-pressure project.


Those feel-good endorphins released by laughing also connect employees and build bonds. A team that shares a sense of humor and jokes can similarly share ideas, commit to a common goal and communicate openly. Support a united team while motivating employees by getting into the holiday spirit as the end of 2013 approaches. As a team-building event, spread holiday cheer and take silly department photos. Then use the pictures to design unique Christmas cards to festively decorate the office. Ask teams to dress in ugly holiday sweaters or wear reindeer ears or a Santa hat. Treat employees with sweets like peppermint bark or Christmas tree brownies.


A positive and fun work environment where people can freely (yet appropriately) joke not only encourages team bonding, but higher employee job satisfaction. A happy employee is a hardworking employee, and humor helps fuel that happiness.

Humor is humanizing and puts people at ease. Humor boosts morale and builds trust. Humor inspires creative thinking. Welcome humor into the office by promoting an atmosphere where employees can happily be themselves and comfortable expressing their humorous side. Supervisors can encourage people to be funny at work by finding humor in the moment, breaking an awkward moment with silliness, using moderate self-deprecation, and responding to others' funniness, suggests Erika Andersen, a Forbes contributor.



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