Fun In The Office? 4 Do’s And Don’Ts
In the following article, Lewis Daidone discusses how striking the right humor balance can improve workplace productivity – and how getting it wrong can lead to disaster.
If you’re happy in your current job, it’s likely because you’re working for a well-organized firm where you’re confident in your abilities, your colleagues are pleasant, and you’re receiving more-than-adequate compensation. There’s no doubt that you take your work seriously, but having an occasional humor break helps to ease the tension of a tight deadline.
Studies have shown that laughter is a great reliever of stress, and that the right balance of creative humor helps to contribute to creativity in the workplace. But how do you know where to draw the line between fun and distracting? Here are a few tips that can help you make yourself a valued team member in the eyes of your employer.
Do: Try to be light-hearted.
Even if you’re seriously stressed by a recent management directive, do your best to stay lighthearted and cheerful. By using occasional self-deprecating or silly humor, you can help lift the spirits of your colleagues.
Don’t: Overload on sarcasm at the expense of your team – or worse, your supervisors.
It might be tempting to make fun of an underperforming colleague or an unreasonable manager, but doing so only erodes confidence in the whole organization. The goal is to enhance productivity, not to demoralize the staff – no matter how funny the wisecrack might be.
Do: Stay appropriate.
There are certain subjects – like politics, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and age – that should be handled extremely delicately, if not avoided entirely, in casual conversation with colleagues. Not only might you make your co-workers uncomfortable, you could leave yourself open to complaints to HR.
Don’t: Be disruptive.
All humor should be used with the intent to increase workplace morale and, ultimately, productivity. Forwarding silly email chains or pranking unsuspecting colleagues only serves to delay or halt team members’ production and output.
Lewis Daidone is a Certified Public Accountant and a consultant to technology companies and financial services firms. For more management articles, follow this Twitter account.