When observing colleagues, family, neighbors and friends who appear to have mastered the art of juggling work, life and a million other things. I noticed a common thread: they focus on enjoying both areas of life; importantly, they add a dash of HUMOR.
Life at the workplace can be monotonous without humor. Popular TV series like The Office can be frighteningly close to reality – and hey, there is a reason people love watching shows that they can relate to! Add a little humor to the professional equation and you look forward to meeting your friends at work. You enjoy the casual camaraderie among your colleagues. Teamwork improves productivity and ultimately business performance. Employers and employees have to focus on making the workplace a vibrant atmosphere where employees can share parts of themselves and parts of their lives. Here are few of my own observations on what’s worked well to maintain a bit of humor at work:
Have fun. Encourage other people to have fun with a situation and help them out by smiling, laughing, and letting them know you appreciate their attempt. Humor is about having fun, and chances are, if you think something is fun(ny), other people will think so too.
Understand Your Audience. Humor is subjective to the receiver, so it’s important to learn what works and doesn’t work with different groups of people. Not everyone has the same sense of humor so know your audience. Humor works best when it’s straight, so practice what you know best: yourself. Find your own style and be willing to poke at yourself.
Make it a Ritual. Humor is incredibly versatile and can improve nearly any situation. Start enjoying work more by adding add a little humor to your work every day. You don’t always have to be the source of humor, you can also share humor created by others.
Opt for Positive, Not Negative. Humor has the power to bond people, but it can also be used to exclude. Keep your humor positive and inclusive and you’ll be successful in creating a caring environment without excluding anyone.
Recognize the Value of a Smile. Humor doesn’t necessarily mean laughter, bringing a smile is also a success. When in doubt, go for humorous instead of hilarious.
In the wise words of Charlie Chaplin: “A day without laughter is a day wasted.”