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How laughter can boost employee productivity in the workplace

They say that laughter is the best medicine for your health, but did you know it can also promote productivity, enhance creativity, and reduce stress in the workplace? Turns out, whoever “they” are, they are not far from the truth.

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Today, more and more businesses are trying to be as open as possible to employees and develop a healthy culture where employees can feel comfortable sharing their own thoughts and opinions. In this feature by Pacific Prime, we look at the benefits of laughter and offer some interesting ways to introduce it into your workplace.

The benefits of laughter in the workplace

Laughter is a good thing because life, or even the workplace, is not always funny. A bit of humor goes a long way and allows us to take the much-needed respite during stressful times. Even employees that are still working from home during the current COVID-19 pandemic can implement laughter with their colleagues and managers through the use of telecommunication. As you already know, there’s nothing like a full-belly laugh!

Here are some benefits of laughter that will certainly get employees performing well and happily.

1. Laughter helps to build trust with colleagues

When we laugh, it is normally with the people we are close to and trust. These people include our loved ones, family members, and longtime friends. However, at work, it may be a little different as colleagues may include those that you hardly come across or speak to.

So introducing a bit of laughter could be an ice-breaker to help form trust between you and those colleagues. Making jokes openly and sharing a good laugh shows people you can trust them and have no fear of being misunderstood or being judged upon.

2. Laughter creates new and strengthens existing relationships in the company

“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” – Victor Borge

It is very true that laughter can shorten the distance between people. It can also forge new relationships and strengthen existing ones. Over time, these relationships grow, which can be beneficial for the business. When employees are happy and have strong relationships with their co-workers, they tend to stay working for longer, which means their experience and expertise are retained to help the business grow. Thus, business leaders are encouraged to promote laughter in general.

Even managers can demonstrate that they themselves know how to connect by having a good laugh with their team members. It’s also a good thing for managers as employees typically look towards managers for direction and inspiration.

Additionally, it’s considered a desirable trait in leaders. A study in 2012 by the Bell Leadership Institute found that a sense of humor was one of the two most desirable traits in leaders, with the other being a strong work ethic.

“People who use humor, particularly in stressful or seemingly one-down positions are viewed as being on top of things, being in charge and in control, whether they are in fact or not.” – Martha Crauma, Harvard Business Review

3. Laughter encourages creativity

According to various studies, humor in the workplace reduces hostility, relieves stress, allows a better thought process, and helps employees to communicate difficult messages. Additionally, it can be a great stimulus for creativity, which can make a task less boring or even more interesting. When creativity grows, productivity tends to follow in the same direction.

4. Laughter helps to foster like-minded employees

“A day without laughter is a day wasted.” – Charlie Chaplain

Employees who laugh together, grow together. This is particularly true, as a team is much more likely to be successful if they are comfortable with laughing in each other’s presence. Individual members of a team may feel it is important to put in extra effort to support the team as a whole. When individuals are able to think alike, the goals of their employer can be achieved with flying colors.

5. Laughter improves general health

Laughing stimulates the heart and lungs, increases blood flow around the body, and increases the feel-good endorphins released from the brain. The release of this natural chemical in the body causes the muscles of the body to relax and also reduces stress. This is great for employees that feel under pressure. Burned-out employees that frequently take sick leave could try adding a bit of laughter to their lifestyle to help them relax.

Laughter at work increases productivity

“The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.” – e.e. Cummings

One thing is for certain, the aforementioned benefits all lead to a more productive workforce. When employees are happy, they are able to easily communicate and pass on their positive emotions to others. The positive emotions become positive energy, which yields productivity.

According to a report from St. Edward’s University, an Australian industry-wide study of 2,500 employees found that 81% believe a fun working environment would make them more productive; 93% said that laughing on the job helps to reduce work-related stress. Interestingly, the study found that a further 55% said they would take less pay to have more fun at work.

To conclude the matter, we can see how happiness, good staff morale, enhanced creativity, trust, better performance, and good teamwork are all boosted by a sense of humor and pure fun. The only way to know is to try introducing it.

How to introduce laughter into the workplace

Here are some ways to introduce laughter into your workplace to boost productivity:

  • Create a moment of laughter, which anyone in the workplace can do, for example, a short office joke. If you are a manager looking for inspiration, the best tip is to ask yourself what makes you have a good laugh because if you find it funny and appropriate, it can be something you can easily share with your colleagues and staff. You don’t have to try hard, just be yourself. However, you need to consider the time and place. Be sure to keep it professional and stay conscious of others around you that could be offended by your humor.
  • Employers could organize fun activities for employees such as creating a humor bulletin board. Managers could encourage goofiness by having a dress-up during the day, paper airplane contests, a dance battle, or other fun games. As long as it puts a smile on people’s faces, it’s worth a try.
  • Hiring a comedian, public, or motivational speaker is also a good option. Normally, these people are those that can relate to others and share experiences that they deem unusual and funny. Also, motivational speakers can boost the morale of employees and inspire them to do better, which is a win-win for all.

It’s worth noting that there are a number of other ways to introduce humor into your workplace and it’s good to check out what other companies in your industry are doing as well. Employees are the bread and butter of any business so employers, and especially HR managers, may want to consider certain employee benefit programs and options to keep them happy. Benefits such as group health insurance and certain wellness programs like employee assistance programs and yoga classes are all great ways to keep employees healthy and loyal.

Here are some extra tips on keeping your employees happy.

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Content Creator at Pacific Prime
Jimmy is a content writer who helps simplify insurance for readers interested in international private medical insurance. He is on a mission in Thailand to support locals, expatriates, and businesses by bring the latest news and updates to his Pacific Prime blog articles.

His expert view and wealth of knowledge on insurance can also be found in his blogs for China, Dubai, Hong Kong, and Singapore.