Have You Ever Thought About Humor in the Workplace?
Integral Engineering Co.’s President, Lacey Goetz, PE, F SEI, believes in encouraging and nurturing a culture of humor and levity in the workplace. When there is humor and levity a different dynamic is created, one where there is a sense of ease and light heartedness, even when there are serious subject matters to be discussed.
Lacey attended the NCSEA 2022 Structural Engineering Summit held in New York City, and the Keynote speaker, Tami Evans, presented "Lighten Up and Lead: Leverage levity to boost client confidence and Employee Engagement." This presentation resonated with Lacey’s ideal leadership style that also aligns with one of Integral Engineering Co.’s core four values of “Playfulness!”
"Research shows that leaders with any sense of humor are seen as 27% more motivating and admired than those who don't joke around. Their employees are 15% more engaged, and their teams are more than twice as likely to solve a creativity challenge -
all of which can translate into improved performance."
How to Be Funny at Work by Jennifer Aaker and Naomi Bagdonas,
Harvard Business Review, February 5, 2021.
A 15 year study of over 50,000 participants was carried out in Norway. The conductors of the study measured the participants cognitive, social abilities, and components of their sense of humor. These elements were then compared to the mortality of the participants from cardiovascular disease (CVD), infections, cancer and some other illnesses. The results indicated: “The cognitive component of the sense of humor is positively associated with survival from mortality related to CVD and infections in women and with infection-related mortality in men. The findings indicate that a sense of humor is a health-protecting cognitive coping resource.”
The importance of humor and laughter in the workplace cannot be underestimated. Along with the proven health benefits of laughing regularly such as improved mental health it can create a lighter mood and closer working relationships. When we laugh we release more feel good endorphins and oxytocin and less cortisol which helps to create more calm and less stress.
When there is levity and laughter it can ease tension, and improve analytical skills and productivity. And through the power of fun staff can reach their full potential both professionally and personally by learning to "engage." Employees who are engaged are more inclined to:
- Collaborate with their teammates.
- Have the confidence to tap into their creativity.
- Communicate with equanimity.
- Feel bonded with their teammates.
"Humor at work is much less about wisecracks than about levity:
the shared moments of lightness that propel relationships
forward and balance the seriousness of labor.
Levity is a powerful bonding agent. A workplace that embraces laughter is likely
one that also encourages the kind of creativity, authenticity
and psychological safety that allows people to perform their best."
How to Laugh at Work, by Corinne Purtill, The New York Times, March 16, 2021.
Paul Osincrup in his TEDxNapaValley sums up the importance of humor so well when he said: “We all have a child like spark inside of us that we all need to let out more often, and ingenious, silliness, that is a gift to the people around us in our lives that says hey when you’re with me you don’t have to be perfect and serious all the time. And when you’re around me we can have fun and make mistakes and be ourselves. Because in the end life is far too important to be taken seriously.”
1. Evans, Tami., “Lighten Up and Lead: Leverage levity to boost client confidence and employee engagement.”
2. Aaker, Jennifer., Bagdonas, Naomi., “How to Be Funny at Work,” Harvard Business Review, February 5, 2021.
3. Romundstad, Solfrid MD, PhD., Svebak, Sven PhD., Holen, Are MD, PhD., Holmen, Jostein MD, PhD., “A 15-Year Follow-Up Study of Sense of Humor and Causes of Mortality: The Nord-Trondelag Health Study,” Psychosomatic Medicine, April 2016 - Volume 78 - Issue 3 - p 345-353 courtesy of the National Library of Medicine.
4. Purtill, Corinne., “How to Laugh at Work,” The New York Times, March, 6 2021
5. Osincup, Paul., “Leading with Laughter: The Power of Humor in Leadership,” TEDxNapaValley.
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