All week we’ve been consuming humour from all directions as the UK celebrates Comic Relief; Red Nose Day encourages us all, celebrities and the everyman alike, to not take themselves too seriously, to take a break from the humdrum and mix things up all in the name of Charity. Breaking into workplace management, the targets and meeting-filled days, offices, workspaces and schools dress up or compete in competitions to raise money for Comic Relief and it feels good, doesn’t it?!
Laughter is so good for us, the benefits have been proven time and time again, so as managers and leaders, how can you introduce a little more of this into your workspace and if you’re still not sure there’s any mileage in it, why should you do it?
Number one, laughter is a stress fighter. You’ll doubtless have heard this said before but it’s a proven aid to stress, and a stressed-out workforce are neither a healthy nor productive workforce. Laughter is considered a preventative lifestyle medicine; with stress being one of the biggest health issues in the 21st century, it’s a tool that management should be considering to keep their workforce mentally healthy and could even reduce the rate of absence.
Breaking Down Barriers:
Sharing humour can relax the atmosphere in the office which can be a brilliant technique for breaking down barriers between the inevitable clique’s which can form in a large office. Introducing humour can help to break hierarchical boundaries too, bringing management, leaders and employees together. Using laughter as a tool within team building can also be incredibly effective, relaxing the group into an environment they feel comfortable and connect with others over a common experience.
“laughter fosters better communication and improves cooperation and empathy between people. It is a significant lubricant of human communication and relationships.” (L.O.U)
“Laughter diffuses bad stress, enhances problem-solving skills, and creates a new perspective”, supporting the approach that laughter can not only improve your employees’ mental state and health but also give you more as a company. You’re more likely to receive productive, innovative attitudes from your workforce if laughter is a regular part of your workplace interactions.
Never heard of it before? It’s a surprisingly common exercise designed to alleviate the stressors of daily life and one that can be done by all ages and abilities. It was developed by Dr. Madan Kataria and has become a popular phenomenon, you might feel a little silly at first but laughing is the aim so just embrace it. Getting a coach in to help you all get on board might be a good way to help the office understand how to use this tool.
Weekly or monthly competitions to lift the mood and add some excitement and entertainment to the office, this might be a monthly baking competition or dress up with a theme or fun old school sports day in the summer, encouraging some silliness and the chance to lose the serious business approach.
Whatever kind of online communications you use to communicate with the rest of the office, can you try a daily industry based joke to engage employees and brighten someone’s day? Even if you don’t get a laugh out loud response, you might achieve a smile or just a lifted mood.
Be smart with your humour, although we all have our own sense of humour if you’re engaging in humorous activities to reap the rewards we listed above you’ll want to be clever and ensure you don’t cross any lines or inadvertently offend anyone! Keep it smart!