4 Ways to Incorporate Humor at Work

4 Ways to Incorporate Humor at Work

Nothing is more embarrassing than telling a joke and having it fall flat at work, but don’t let that stop you from adding appropriate humor to the workplace, as it can be a great way to reduce tension and improve overall relations. 

Having fun with the people you spend at least 40 hours per week with can raise your mood and boost camaraderie throughout your office. Here are some of the top ways you can incorporate humor at work:

1. Hire for Personality and Cultural Fit

When you’re the hiring manager or simply someone able to have input into hiring processes, try to look for someone to join the team who approaches work seriously, and themselves lightly. This could come in the form of an easy smile, a little self-deprecating humor, or the ability to find the amusing side in everyday situations that others may consider stressful. When you have someone on your team who can inject some fun into the workplace, it gives others permission to crack a smile as well. 

2. Encourage Silliness

Sure, you don’t want to be silly all the time as you’d get nothing done, but a little wackiness once in a while can break up an otherwise boring or tedious day. Send a cute animal meme or 30-second video to a small group of work friends and enjoy the smile on their face when they view it. If it’s not against your rules, post a humorous cartoon that has a positive message. It is important to be careful, however, as longer videos beyond two minutes or so sent to a large list of people can effectively kill productivity (which won’t make your boss happy at all!)

3. Keep it Professional

A great rule of thumb is that if you would be embarrassed having whatever you want to say plastered on a billboard — don’t say it! Same goes for the grandmother test. If you wouldn’t want your grandmother to hear what you’ve been saying, you probably should abstain. Don’t make fun of others even when it’s “just for fun,” and keep teasing to a minimum. This especially holds true if you’re a supervisor or in another position of power. You may not realize that your good-natured poking fun at others can be taken much more seriously when there’s an imbalance of power. 

4. Inspiring Others

You’re more approachable to others when you’re smiling, which may be one of the reasons that many leaders work hard on keeping a pleasant look on their face. When you work hard to uplift others with a pleasant word, even sharing amusing inspirational videos can provide you with some personal collateral to be used at a later time. It’s important to note that individuals who appropriately use humor at work are likely to be promoted more quickly and make more money, so there are definite reasons to putting some fun-loving vibes into the air! 

Using humor appropriately at work can tighten the bond between co-workers, keep those creative juices flowing, and make the days fly by! However, you always have to balance the good times with ensuring you’re being as productive as possible on the job. Jokes and effective banter can improve your standing within the organization specifically because it is assumed that you are mature enough to understand the proper use of humor and that you’re relaxed and confident enough to call attention to yourself. 

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A look back at some April Fool’s Day classics

A look back at some April Fool’s Day classics

April 1 is traditionally a day for pranks and practical jokes. In recent years, Google has made a habit of making outlandish April Fool’s Day announcements. One year, for example, Google announced the addition of mind-reading technology that would make searching a breeze. Another year, the search giant posted job openings for a new research center on the moon.

A quick search for April Fool’s Day pranks and hoaxes returns a treasure trove of gems. Here are a few highlights from Wikipedia and the Museum of Hoaxes:

* In 1957, the BBC announced a bumper spaghetti crop in Switzerland. Mild winter weather and the near eradication of the “spaghetti weevil” were credited with the excellent harvest. The BBC report includes images of people harvesting spaghetti strands from trees.

* In 1993, a San Diego DJ told his listeners the Space Shuttle Discovery would be landing at nearby Montgomery Field, due to issues at Edwards Air Force Base. Thousands of people turned out to see the landing… of a space shuttle that wasn’t even in space at the time.

* In 1996, Taco Bell announced it had purchased the Liberty Bell and renamed it the “Taco Liberty Bell.” In a statement, the company claimed the move was meant “to help the national debt” and that it hoped “other corporations [would] take similar action to do their part to reduce the country’s debt.” When asked about the hoax, White House press secretary Mike McCurry, playing along, said that the Lincoln Memorial had also been sold and would now be called the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial.

* Another fast-food-related April Fool’s Day prank happened in 1998, when Burger King introduced the “left-handed Whopper.” The new burger contained all of the same ingredients as its namesake, but the condiments were rotated 180 degrees, for the benefit of the 32 million left-handed Americans.

Here’s hoping you have a fun April first.

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