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Laughter Between the Cubes
Business does not necessarily have to be as serious as it is. Sharing a few wise remarks and adding a little humor to discussions of business strategies and customer issues can be helpful. After all, we are not discussing brain surgery. Even surgeons can be funny while doing their work. Do you oldies but goodies remember the television show MASH? If you are a lot younger, think about Scrubs as an example.
Humor does not mean off-color jokes or any jokes for that matter. Humor can flow nicely through natural conversation. It can be recalling a story that seemed traumatic at the time but in retrospect is actually quite funny.
Humor about the workplace is a big industry. Ask Scott Adams, creator of the Dilbert comic strip. You have to laugh at the absurdity of working in a cubical and attending long non-productive meetings; and identify with having clueless managers. We have all been there.
The office is not the only place in business using humor. If you watch the Super Bowl, which is serious and competitive, you see humor used in the ads. The ads often get as much hype as the game. Raking in $2.4 million per 30-second ad, the show's producers laugh all the way to the bank.
Organizations can benefit from humor because it:
You may not think of yourself as naturally funny, but humor is in the situation. It is a state of mind rather than a skill. You just need to see the humor around you. Take notice of Harold who always has a stash of candy on his desk and a group of colleagues standing around who "need" to check with Harold about something. Then there is Amy, who is always misplacing files. Now everyone just brings stray folders left on the copier straight to Amy's desk. There are many ways to build an environment that invites and appreciates appropriate humor.
Some ways to build a fun environment:
If you make the workplace an enjoyable one, everyone will get a lot more done; you will attract and retain employees; you will be more approachable. As an added advantage, you will enjoy your time at work, too, whether in an office or in a cube.
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