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The Business Case for Laughter: Why Humor is Key to Success

The benefits of laughter in the workplace are impossible to overstate. Humor is linked withwisdom and intelligence. It makes us more likeable and trustworthy to our colleaguesit fosters our creativity and defuses unpleasant situations, it facilitates communication, and when used appropriatelyit can even positively influence how others perceive us and make us more successful.  

Moreoverstudy after study proves that a sense of humor is essential for our physical and mental healthAccording to research from the prestigious Mayo Clinic, humor stimulates many of our organs, activates and relieves stress responses, and soothes tension. Over the long term, humor can even improve the immune systemrelieve painincrease personal satisfaction, and, unsurprisingly, enhance our mood 

“If you could choose one characteristic that would get you through life, choose a sense of humor.” – Jennifer Jones 

Laughter makes work easier 

People who use humor at work are more efficient, happier – and better paid! Humor boosts morale while reducing turnover because employees look forward to coming to work, says Lynn Taylor, workplace expert and author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant. “Employees like to work for and with others who have a sense of humor. We all prefer to have fun at work. It should not feel like an indentured servitude environment.” 

Humor humanizes us as well, says Taylor. “Humor allows both employees and managers to come together, realizing that we all seek common ground”. A good sense of humor helps us to de-dramatize problems, making them less intimidating and easier to solve. It’s a great tension-breaker. We don’t have to tell jokes all day, adds Taylor, “but well-placed humor that is clever and apropos to a business situation always enhances an employee’s career.” 

“You can’t be serious!” is the credo of Mike Kerr, international business speaker and author of The Humor Advantage: Why Some Businesses are Laughing all the Way to the Bank. For Kerr, humor is vital to a progressive, innovative, open company culture. It keeps people balanced, helps build strong teams, makes managers more effective, and even makes those meetings we often dread more productive. “Humor in meetings encourages participation, minimizes conflicts, helps people retain information, opens up dialogue and sparks creativity. 

“If you had to identify in one word the reason why the human race has not achieved and never will achieve its full potential, that word would be ‘meetings.'” – Dave Barry 

Humor ignites innovation  

“Humor is a key ingredient in creative thinking,” says Kerr. “It helps people play with ideas, lower their internal critic, and see things in new ways.” Humor and creativity both involve seeing our challenges in fresh ways and making connections we’ve never thought of before. Lynn Taylor agrees, saying humor “establishes a fertile environment for innovation because people are more inspired when they are relaxed.”

Humor can also help companies by creating an optimistic atmosphere that encourages collaboration and brainstorming, where employees know their suggestions will be valued rather than ignoredAnd that leads to greater productivity. As Taylor explains, “It also stands to reason that if you’re in a more jovial atmosphere, you’ll have more passion for what you do. Your work ethic will increase, and your enthusiasm will likely be contagious. It’s a win-win for you and your employer.” 

Whether you’re an intern, a manager, or a CEO, a good sense of humor will make you more approachable and will encourage those around you to respond in kind. And the more accessible and open we are, the more cohesive and successful our teams will be.  

Humor has bailed me out of more tight situations than I can think of. If you go with your instincts and keep your humor, creativity follows. With luck, success comes, too.” – Jimmy Buffet 


About the author

We are made up of marketers, sales representatives, administrators, product and project managers, developers, operational personnel and customer service agents all passionate about collaboration. Communication is at the heart of what we do, and we are continually in search of better, faster, more efficient and cutting-edge ways to connect people across geographic borders. We believe that progress emerges from people's desire to share and that everyone works better when they're having fun!

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