How Humor in the Workplace Boosts Relationships and Productivity

How Humor in the Workplace Boosts Relationships and Productivity

Back in the day, workplace communication was much different than it is today. Conversations took place in person, or at the very least over the phone. Some would argue technology has created a rift between co-workers, but we here at Synectics Media beg to differ.

If you work in a primarily digital field like we do, you probably spend most of your time on a computer, headphones on, concentrating on completing the day’s tasks. This doesn't necessarily give you much time to socialize with co-workers. Luckily, today there are a number of team chat apps to keep everyone in constant communication - whether it be work-related conversations, collaboration, or a funny distraction from a stressful day.

Humor and Work Relationships

Who doesn’t like to work with someone who makes them laugh? If you’re going to spend eight hours or more per day at work, you don’t want it to feel like a prison. In moderation, telling a joke or sending a comedic reaction GIF is a great way to make a friend at work and generally create a positive image for yourself.

People who use humor tend to be more approachable. So, being the open, funny self that you are can help your team view you in a positive light.

How Laughter Helps Work Performance

Did you know laughing or finding anything humorous is actually a strong stress reliever? If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the day’s tasks, sending out some funny emojis or your favorite viral YouTube video can brighten the mood of the entire office!

Once you’re done watching that funny video and are getting back to work, not only are you feeling stress relief, but studies show you will also be more productive. With an upbeat atmosphere in the office, there is a higher probability you will brainstorm innovative ideas and think further outside the box.

One might think being viewed as a ‘jokester’ would mean not being taken as seriously in the workforce, but some studies have revealed that those who told jokes were seen as more confident. Telling jokes can be risky and offend coworkers you might not be too familiar with, so, psychologically, people view the office comedian as a risk taker and someone very sure of themselves. They are often more likely to be chosen for a leadership position.

Benefits of Humor in the Workplace

As mentioned before, sometimes humor or sarcasm can boost your creativity. Researchers believe that sarcasm triggers more abstract thinking by making the brain jump from the literal meaning of someone’s sarcastic comment, to its intended meaning. A study showed that people who had sarcastic interactions had better luck solving different creative tasks like puzzles and rearranging things. Obviously too much sarcasm can be perceived as snarky, especially in a work relationship that might not be as strong as others, but next time a work friend is struggling to brainstorm, it might be time to hit their funny bone.

The positive atmosphere that humor brings into the office doesn't only help your personal work performance, it improves overall company morale and can reduce your turnover rates. If everyone in the office is having fun and feels like they are connecting with one another, work is more likely to be completed with passion, enthusiasm, and a better work ethic in general.

Trust. One way to display and hopefully earn trust is for co-workers to reveal their sense of humor and show what they are really like under their professional mask. Humor is a great icebreaker in the appropriate situations and can tear down walls between coworkers. Solid work relationships are integral for success.

Humor is a great icebreaker and can cut through tension in certain situations. Since humor is key in creative thinking, and can help problem-solving skills in times of conflict, of course it can help you in business situations when appropriate. Using innovative ways to solve problems can help any leader in any kind of business or organization. It may be risky, but if a meeting seems to be headed in a stressful direction, it may be time to crack a relevant joke or two!

Many people assume you can’t work and play at the same time, but that’s far from the truth. Research shows humor can actually increase effective communication. It says that certain sequences of humor in conversation, like laughter after hearing a joke, were able to predict other types of conversation and even work performance in a team overall. The research found that work teams who joke more and laugh together in situations also were more supportive with each other and offered more constructive suggestions to one another. Of course that improves overall performance for the company!

Our ‘Slackisms’

Here at Synectics Media, Slack is our team communication and chat tool of choice. Whether we’re sharing important files, discussing meeting times, or figuring out where to go for lunch, we’re chatting at different times throughout the day. In addition to being a great collaboration tool, Slack is our favorite place to share humor, as well!

If you are a Slack user, you might know of, a site where all fantastic animated and pop-culture related emojis live. We are frequent visitors of this site, and have added more than a few of these into our Slack emoji repository, along with some custom creations of our own. Here are some of our favorites and their meaning to us:

- The Margarita Parrot. He’s usually set as our status on Fridays, or being shared in the main group chat between 4 and 5 pm when we’re all ready to head out for drinks before the weekend!

 - The Avocado. Some of us in the office send this emoji instead of saying thank you. You’re probably a bit confused! Here, watch this.

- The Otter Dance. This little guy is usually shared in response to an exciting message, or for no reason other than to make everyone laugh. Each time he makes his way into conversation there is at least one audible chuckle in the office.

- The Detective Squirrel. When there is something that needs investigating, whether that be work-related or not, this usually symbolizes to someone that we’re “on it.”

- The Wave. Some of us use this as a shortened way of saying goodbye! Get it... waving goodbye?

Sharing funny emojis and having a good laugh with co-workers while using team chat apps is more than just fun, though. Not only has Slack found a way for emojis to keep you organized at work, but keeping conversation funny every now and then can be beneficial to you and your team’s workplace experience!

It’s All Fun and Games Until...

We’ve discussed all of the benefits of joking in the workplace, but a bad joke told at the wrong time can have a negative impact, and it can be very easy cross the line. One inappropriate or offensive joke and you could find yourself in a very uncomfortable business situation, or even fired.

The bottom line is, have fun and be yourself when chatting in the workplace, but be sure to make good judgement calls on what is considered appropriate and not.

Does your office use a team chat app? What are your favorite emojis? Which ones always get the office laughing? Tell us in the comments!

Happy chatting!

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Posted by Emily Salswedel

Emily Salswedel

Social Media Producer - Emily uses her background in journalism and love of pop-culture to create informed, relatable content. As a social media enthusiast (even her SIMS Character is a Social Media Writer), she aims to find a relevant hashtag for every situation, and find a use for instagram in every campaign. She’ll be your best friend for a bag of flaming hot cheetos. #NoShame.