“Gee that was funny”- The Value of Humor in the Workplace

by Michael Haberman on November 6, 2007 · 0 comments

Chris Robert, an assistant professor of management at the University of Missouri-Columbia, said that humor is good in the workplace, according to an article in MU News Bureau. “Occasional humor among colleagues, he said, enhances creativity, department cohesiveness and overall performance. The conclusion was made by examining theories on humor and integrating literature from a wide variety of disciplines that touch on the subject.” The article goes on to quote him saying “…Humor isn’t incompatible with goals of the workplace. It’s not incompatible with the organization’s desire to be competitive. In fact, we argue that humor is pretty important. It’s not just clowning around and having fun; it has meaningful impact on cohesiveness in the workplace and communication quality among workers. The ability to appreciate humor, the ability to laugh and make other people laugh actually has physiological effects on the body that cause people to become more bonded.”

I have always thought that humor was good in the workplace. I have always enjoyed hearing and telling a good joke or funny story. Just as in personal relationships, humor is important to make the person or people you are dealing with more “human.” Of course, since this is an HR blog I must point out that the humor needs to be work appropriate otherwise you run the risk of stepping on someone’s sensibilities. It is also important to point out, as did Robert, that humor has a major cultural component to it and may not have a universal translation.

I just know that having a co-worker putting a smile on my face makes the day go by much more smoothly.

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