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Stop Making Me Laugh. I'm Very Busy And Important

Updated on April 19, 2011

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy - some guy who's name probably wasn't Jack.

It’s been well documented that laughter can reduce stress and provide many other personal health benefits. And few areas of life are more stressful than work. So, not surprisingly, the boffins in the know have found that office humour can reduce work stress, boost team morale, bring people closer, etc and etc. Yes, we've all read the statistics thank you - please move on - but most interestingly, according to Janet Holmes' Journal of Pragmatics, humour can actually provide insights into the distinctive culture which develops in different workplaces. Indeed, a useful tool for promoting productivity.

Humour can break down barriers, helping promote a sense of camaraderie and sharing. How many of you have, like myself, eaten a ham sandwich called 'Steve' you found in the staff refrigerator?

Why is it then that top members of management can be known to shun the joys of a bit of workplace banter? Even in the face of tough financial times, is there a place or even time for the 'frivolity' of socialising?

I once worked for a very forward thinking company where the man at the top of the corporate tree actually donned an apron and made tea for a team of sales people as a prize for great customer service. How many of your own Managing Directors or Partners could you imagine doing that?

My own role was extended soon after my appointment to the task of introducing humour into the workplace, dreaming up and organising regular fun team in-works-time events following an introduction to The Fish Philosophy at a seminar I was paid to attend by the same employer. And yes, the apron donning Managing Director was my idea. I guess I may have been chosen for this task after taking over the writing of the once dull staff magazine and frequently posting jokes and lookalike competitions comparing senior staff members with cartoon characters like Homer Simpson. I don't know though... But suddenly, staff began to look forward to each issue and were actually reading it. Suddenly, right there, a whole new culture of fun AND productivity was born.

How could I leave such a place? Well, the pay was sh*te. Come on; it's not all about helping others :-D

Bringing Business Closer to Staff & (yikes!) Customers

"Eww. You mean, I have to socialise with Mrs Henry who just bought our latest bikini line razor?"

The short and curly answer is YES. If you want her to come back to buy the refills, skin calming astringents and tell the whole of her local community centre pals to do the same.

The Fish! Philosophy boasts that it "fulfills the most basic needs of human beings who, in turn, fulfill the needs of the organisation - more connected teams, better communication, extraordinary service and higher staff retention." In short, it's about going the extra mile for customers and equally importantly, for your colleagues. And - perish the thought - finding out you might have a lot in common with the people under, above and beside you at work. Although, watch out for the person that is all three. Stalking is a crime, people.

In my own experience it was a very American and overly gushing approach to a happier workplace. But I took it's basic principles home and gently applied them to a more reserved British office audience. It worked. They laughed. They were meeting and greeting customers with a smile. Staff had a less practised telephone-in-sick voice. And they sold stuff.

How funny is that?

What's Your Opinion?

Do you think humour in the workplace is good or bad for productivity?

See results


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    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 6 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      @ heather . . .A FREEBIE for you to use . . .

      A skeleton walks into bar. The bartender says, "What'll it be pal?" The skeleton says, "a beer and a mop."

      Think about this for 4 seconds. It should hit you.

      Kenneth...who is NOT a skeleton.

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 6 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      (heather . . .I was scolded OFTEN for causing humorous commotions in my office when I was able to work...things like Paging YOURSELF on the phone system . . .)

      AND HEATHER . . .this was a

      GREAT read! Amazing presentation. Informative and very helpful. Voted up and away for I love your writing style and I am now honored to FOLLOW you.

      Please keep up the great work and I Invite YOU to check out my hubs, that is if you need a good laugh.

      And I would love for you to be a follower. That would make my day. Highest Regards,

      Kenneth Avery,

      from Hamilton, a small (but proud) town in northwest Alabama that Norman Rockwell would have been happy to put on a magazine cover. Much Peace and Success to you!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 6 years ago from Wales

      A great hub and also very funny and we cannot have too much humour in this day and age.

      I now look forward to reading more of your work.

      Take care


    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 7 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      It has been said, that 'Laughter is the best medicine'. Great Hub

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 7 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "The short and curly answer is YES."


      Voted up and funny!