As work environments shift to promote the notion that people should bring their “whole self” to work, I believe that humor can and should play a role in how teams connect with each other. Humor enables us to get along with other people, to cope with difficulties, to diffuse tensions, and ultimately makes work more enjoyable. Think about it, when is the last time you heard someone praise a day of work for being ‘incredibly serious’. Outside of work we joke with our friends, we seek out humorous content and we strive to fill our homes with laughter.

Everyone has experienced the physical release brought on by humor. A good laugh relieves stress, it energizes and instantly makes us engaged. It connects us. Should this not be the goal for all employers? To create an environment where employees feel energized to connect and engage with each other?

Humor helps us builds trust, because it is humanizing and reveals authenticity. People with a sense of humor are more positive, approachable and exude an openness and a willingness to collaborate. These characteristics help build healthy workplace relationships and encourage honest interactions.

For three major reasons, I believe organizations need to think about the power of humor a lot more than they do now.

  1. It is a cornerstone of healthy communication. In response to conflict, humor shifts our thinking, it moves us away from seeing only one solution to a problem and opens new pathways where multiple ideas are considered.
  2. Humor is a key ingredient to creativity. Innovation can be fueled by lightheartedness because we are all more inspired when we are relaxed and happy.
  3. Humor can also help your organization attract attention. Being humorous is memorable. It’s surprising and lets the world know your company is approachable, passionate and energetic.

Take notice – how is humor being used in your workplace? What effect does it have the overall moral? Do employees seem to be suppressing a major part of their personalities. Are there spaces for employees to be funny (email, chat or certain meetings)?

Workplaces don’t need to become comedy clubs, but they do need to value one the most human tools for connection – a sense of humor.

About the author:

Having spent his entire career working in and around comedy, Pat has applied his knowledge of humor to both the entertainment business and to the corporate world. From making internal communications more playful, to creating viral branded content campaigns, Pat has infused humor into every corner of his client work. His Vancouver based creative agency Kelly&Kelly focuses on producing work that inspires meaningful connections using humor.