It's a laughing matter: Workplace humor inspires creativity

It’s a laughing matter: Workplace humor inspires creativity

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It’s a laughing matter: Workplace humor inspires creativity

Knock knock.

Who’s there?

If your job involves creative problem-solving, hope it’s your sense of humor hammering on the door. And by all means let it in, because decades of research show a close relationship between humor and creativity.

People with a sense of humor tend to be more creative. They’re also less rigid and more willing to consider and embrace new ideas and methods.

And you don’t even have to be the one with the one-liners to reap the benefits of humor at work. Being in a meeting or brainstorming session with funny folks can lighten the atmosphere, allow new ideas to flow and help solve difficult problems.

Allowing your sense of humor to show at work can also help create stronger bonds with colleagues and enhance teamwork.

Of course, appropriate workplace humor requires some common sense and judgment. Off-color, racist and sexist jokes are never OK at work (and really, we hope those aren’t part of your off-the-clock repertoire, either). Howling like a hyena or constantly cutting up will undermine your credibility. And if your wisecracks are more like snide remarks, you’ll be branded as cynical and disengaged.

You don’t have to be born a stand-up comedian to enjoy humor at work. Check out these ideas to bring more laughter to your work life:

  • If you’re hiring a new employee, look for evidence of good humor skills to make sure you’re bringing creativity to the team.
  • Use humor as an ice-breaker to start a meeting. Ask people what’s the funniest thing that happened to them this week
  • Smile more. It’s contagious and can lead to laughter. If you’re a naturally solemn person, this may take practice. It’s worth it.
  • Keep a toy on your desk. It’ll make you smile and can be a great conversation-starter.
  • Use a humorous page-a-day calendar. Pass along the ones that make you laugh out loud.
  • Dress up for holidays. Wear a silly hat on Halloween or lots of green on St. Patrick’s Day.

Laughing is good for you. It boosts your immune system, relaxes tension, releases endorphins and can even help protect you from a heart attack.

It can also boost your career. And that’s no joke.

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