Laughter is the Best Medicine
It is said that “laughter is the best medicine” and experts agree that this is just as true in the workplace as it is in your personal life. In a world where 83% of Americans report unhealthy levels of stress at work, more laughter might be exactly what the office place needs. In fact, research shows that if your employees are not laughing it may be detrimental to organizational success, decreasing productivity and innovation.
Employees who laugh in the workplace not only have increased levels of job satisfaction and improved mental health but are more competent and creative in their work. Laughing at work makes one a better employee. While it is often seen as a distraction from productivity, these studies have proven that this is not the case. Laughter shows that employees feel relaxed and comfortable in their environment, something that is indicative of a positive company culture where employees are supported and feel at ease.
Organizations, where laughter is found, are more likely to promote creativity, analytical thinking, and have improved employee performance. Some may argue that you find laughter where you find a positive company culture, experts say that it is more than that. While it is true a positive company culture can be connected to employees’ comfort levels, finding laughter in the office goes beyond the culture, to the connection employees feel with one another. If employees are in an environment where they feel the freedom to poke fun or tell a joke, they are more likely to feel comfortable enough to share ideas, even when they may be risky.
Laughter not only leads to feeling at ease but can increase employee connection and collaboration. No matter your industry, studies show that laughter can help to create a positive work environment that may lead your employees and your organization to great things. That said, this is only when humor is appropriate; while laughter is as an aspect of a positive work environment, when employees feel uncomfortable or discriminated against, the impact will likely to be negative. In these cases, employers will find increased levels of turnover and decreased productivity.
Employees who do not feel comfortable in their workplace are less likely to feel connected to their coworkers and more likely to feel stress, call off work, and experience increased levels of dissatisfaction. While creating a safe space where employees feel free to laugh can be a challenging task, it is well worth the effort. When employees are comfortable and feel connected they are more likely to collaborate with each other and connect with the mission of the organization. Laughter may be the key to creating a comfortable office culture; decreasing employee turnover and conflict while increasing organizational productivity and innovation. So next time you think about telling that joke, take a risk and create laughter – as long as it’s workplace appropriate!