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Humor in the workplace: Why and how should you do it

Humor in the workplace is no joke – it helps foster a casual and fun office environment, as well as relaxed and happy employees, all of which lead to better performance, productivity, and profits for the organization. On that note, let’s unpack this concept a bit further in today’s Pacific Prime article, as we explore why humor is important in society and what the benefits of humor in the workplace are. Most importantly, we’ll discuss some examples of humor and how you can leverage the power of humor.

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Why is humor important in society?

Have you ever been to an ice-breaking session? After participating in the fun-filled (and often, laughter-inducing) activities of the session with a bunch of strangers, do you suddenly feel a sense of closeness? It’s not a coincidence, but there’s a reason behind it: shared laughter accelerates feelings of closeness and trust, due to the fact that laughter causes our brains to produce/suppress certain hormones.

These hormones include:

  • Less stress hormones like cortisol
  • More feel-good hormones like endorphins

This makes us feel like we’re on cloud nine, giving us a range of physical and mental health benefits, along with social benefits:

  • Boosts immunity
  • Lowers pain
  • Eases anxiety and tension
  • Improves mood
  • Strengthens relationships
  • Promotes group bonding
  • And much more

Benefits of humor in the workplace

Did you know that leaders who aren’t afraid to crack a joke are more likely to be seen as motivating? They also tend to benefit from a more engaged and better-performing team, who can solve problems creatively. What’s more, having a close friend at work (where shared laughter is likely) is one of the greatest drivers of employee performance. As an organization’s success ultimately hinges on its people, humor in the workplace can’t be discounted.

Note: Check out Pacific Prime’s article that goes into more depth about laughter in the workplace.

Alternatively, see our top tips for designing the perfect employee benefits plan.

How to leverage the power of humor?

But, surely humor comes naturally and you can’t force it, right? What if you crack a joke and no one laughs? Or worse, it’s a joke that is seen as insensitive, politically incorrect, and contributes to workplace toxicity? This can be an HR nightmare. That being said, there are ways that you can understand your audience, recognize and develop your humor style, as well as ensure that your jokes hit the spot.

Here are four humor styles to get you started.

  • Stand-ups are bold and aren’t afraid to test the boundaries for laughs.
  • Sweethearts use humor to ease tension and lighten up the mood.
  • Snipers are sarcastic and nuanced when joking.
  • Magnets can easily make people laugh by simply being expressive and charming.

Take this quiz to recognize your humor style. Next, observe others being funny and make your attempts at it. One example of humor is the ‘rule of three’ – where you list three things, with the third and final one being an unexpected item. While humor does seem natural and spontaneous, it’s not something you can’t learn or improve at. Keep at it and you’ll only get better over time.

Secure tailored employee benefits solutions today via Pacific Prime

While they say that ‘laughter is the best medicine’, there’ll come a time when employees need actual medicine. Organizations that take the health and wellbeing of their employees seriously will not only be able to attract and retain the best talent, but will also benefit from more engaged employees. This can be done through offering comprehensive benefits like company health insurance, Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), and a whole host of other wellbeing benefits.

As a global health insurance brokerage and employee benefits specialist, Pacific Prime works with companies of all sizes and industries, helping them design and implement tailored employee benefits solutions. We have a unique approach to broking and use state-of-the-art technology, as our goal is to help employers simplify the entire plan administration process. If you’d like to learn more, check out our company resources page. Otherwise, arrange a consultation with our corporate team today!

Senior Content Creator at Pacific Prime
Suphanida is a Senior Content Creator at Pacific Prime, an award-winning global health insurance and employee benefits specialist.

With over 5 years of experience in the field, Suphanida spends the majority of her day synthesizing complex pieces of insurance-related information and translating this into easy-to-understand, engaging, and effective content across a variety of media such as articles, infographics, whitepapers, videos, and more.

Suphanida is also responsible for planning and publishing three whitepapers released annually by Pacific Prime: The State of Health Insurance Report, The Cost of Health Insurance Report, and The Global Employee Benefits Trends Report. Additionally, she handles the LinkedIn profiles of Pacific Prime’s Founder and CEO, as well as Global HR Lead.

Suphanida’s strengths lie in her strong research and analytical skills, which she has gained from her BA in Politics from the University of Warwick and Erasmus Mundus Joint MA in Journalism from Aarhus University and City, University of London.

Being of Thai-Indian origin and having lived, studied, and worked in Thailand, the UK, and Denmark, Suphanida also has a unique, multicultural perspective that helps her understand the struggles of expats and globetrotters.

Outside of work, she enjoys traveling to new places and immersing herself in different cultures.
Suphanida Thakral