Jobs are scarce and so is humor. Employees work longer and harder than ever, due to staggering workloads caused by cut backs, and they still can’t get all the work done. Many workers hold back from using humor on the job because they fear that it could affect their job security.
Can humor at work harm your reputation? The answer is yes – if your workplace is not a “fun-friendly” environment, you run the risk that your sense of humor could be misinterpreted. Having fun on the job could provoke accusations from co-workers who think you are goofing off, wasting time or not being productive. Your professionalism could be questioned and you could lose the respect of others who think you do not take your job seriously.
There’s nothing funny about tough times and you don’t feel much like laughing. But laughing is exactly the remedy you need. When you are stressed out, a disconnect takes place between the right and left sides of your brain. This explains why you might feel flustered, fumble, drop things, or make mistakes when you feel stressed out. Laughter is a pressure release valve that activates your limbic system and reconnects your whole brain, so you can think clearly, make good decisions and do your best job.
Here are four tips to safely unleash your sense of humor on the job:
1. Clearly establish and maintain that you are serious about doing your job in a competent and timely manner before displaying your humor personality.
2. Choose the timing for using humor carefully, so you don’t create inappropriate distractions.
3. Start small and don’t jump in by trying to entertain and amuse. Play it safe and introduce your sense of humor gradually by surprising co-workers with something that makes them smile.
4. Use self-effacing humor to uplift a co-worker who’s having a difficult time by relating to a similar challenge or disappointment you experienced.