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'Make Them Laugh'

The impact of humor in the workplace

This originally appeared on LinkedIn May 11, 2021

In a year when it feels like there’s been little to laugh about, if you’re anything like me, you’ve relished in the joyful moments. At work, or in my case, at school, that’s often meant laughing at my friend’s dog’s curious expressions on Zoom; someone unexpectedly changing their Zoom background to a photo of my childhood home (yes, this happened!); or one of the many (many) work from home cartoons and memes (a favorite of mine, as a college Art History major). 

These moments of levity connect us to our peers and coworkers, and help us take ourselves less seriously, which is especially useful when we need a release in a stressful year. Recently, I’ve been learning about how these moments actually bring more than joy and temporary ease. In their book, Humor: Seriously, Stanford Graduate School of Business professors Jennifer Aaker and Naomi Bagdonas discuss the benefits humor brings to the workplace. Some of them include increased engagement, improved trust and reduced turnover intentions. 

There are of course boundaries to this; not all jokes are appropriate (for work, and/or elsewhere), not everyone telling jokes is perceived the same way and not every situation is right for humor. That said, within these bounds, there’s an incredible opportunity to set the tone and shape a culture. This is where leaders and managers come in. Managers who use humor can increase group cohesion, promote innovative thinking, increase job satisfaction and improve learning, among others, which bring positive benefits to organizations, teams and individuals. 

Please select this link to read the complete article from LinkedIn.

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