Laughter Builds Community at Work

If you’ve ever attended one of our laughter workshops, or checked out the website, you would know by now that scientific research shows laughter improves our health, increases our happiness, lowers our stress hormones, and tackles depression.

Did you also know that laughter helps break down social barriers, and is a common language to all no matter what corner of this great globe you come from. In this day and age of busyness, long work hours and with a large proportion of our communication with others no longer taking place face to face, but rather through a plethora of social media devices, our communities are suffering.

You may never have thought of your place of work as a community before, but seeing as you spend a large proportion of your time at work, and for many, your work colleagues will also factor in your social circles, attitudes to the work environment, the work places ability to cope with stress, the approachability of individuals within the workplace etc. will all affect the identity of the people within the community workplace and their degree of cohesiveness, productivity, happiness and wellbeing.

Have you ever stopped long enough to take a look at the people around you; at the shops, on the commuter train or bus, the shopping centres, your office? Not many of them are smiling and many of them are head down furiously one thumb typing.

Recently, I made a point of making eye contact and smiling at complete strangers (not in a weird stalkerish kind of way of course) hurriedly making their way to work. I was surprised at how many people were visibly shocked that a) someone looked at them and b) that someone smiled at them. I was rewarded more often than not with a returned smile. It then occurred to me that many of these people were heading into offices, where they would more than likely spend the next 8 – 10 hours sitting in front of a computer, eating lunch on the go if at all, checking their Facebook or Twitter status in a few brief moments of down time, and quite possibly, not actually have a real face to face non work related conversation all day. Bit sad really.

Is it any wonder that this combined with stress, deadlines, an inbox with 100’s of waiting emails, and a mobile phone that is never off that most workplaces are somewhere people can’t wait to get out of instead of places of laughter, productivity, increased job satisfaction and less stress?

I say, I say, I say. What do you get if you cross a tired office worker with a week of desk-lunches and 15 hours’ overtime? An unproductive workforce. And a distinct lack of humorous jokes.

A wise man once said, “He who has achieved success has worked well, laughed often and loved much.” So if we want to achieve success in our workplaces, why aren’t we laughing more there?

Laughter is a major coping mechanism for dealing with stress.  It also helps us to feel happier; two ingredients of creating stronger communities and workplaces.

If there is less stress and a greater sense of wellbeing, we are more able to deal with the challenges we face. Furthermore, laughter has the power to break down barriers so that people are more approachable and we become a stronger community.

Supportive humour and laughter should be part of the culture in every work place community, helping to reduce stress, get rid of fear, increase performance, and bring a greater sense of happiness and well-being.

Quite aside from the fact that we all like a laugh, the benefits of some office humour gives you more to talk about with your colleagues and a chance to bond with people you may not get to speak to in the office. Humour can help build relationships, it is  good for networking, and is a powerful bonding agent.

So where can you start?

  1. Firstly, smile at people,and smile at your colleagues Smiles are infectious and make you feel better.
  2. Secondly, tell a joke, but make sure you know the joke. “If your short-term memory is rubbish, find one that’s short and simple. Tell it with conviction. Don’t ‘um’ and ‘er’ and be believable. Remember Ivor Dembina’s law of comedy: if it’s going badly, get off. If it’s going well, get off.”
  3. Thirdly, get a bit of laughter into your workplace – contact us to find out how a laughter session can change the tone of your workplace and bring everyone together. Phone Cris 0438 545 607