A Case for (More) Work Chuckles On World Laughter Day

We all need a good laugh to help us through the day but with the daily responsibility of adulthood, we often overlook the importance of laughter. Even worse — research suggests that we laugh significantly less on weekdays than we do on weekends! Here, on World Laughter Day, we bring you three good reasons to have a deep, hearty laugh at your office desk more often.

1. It’s an antidote to stress.

Employee stress levels have jumped 20% in the last few decades. While stress can be a good thing, the one rooted in massive workload and impossible deadlines is not good news for anyone. In fact, studies show that a major factor in turnover is emotion-driven, impulse quitting.  Luckily, humour can be a fun and easy way to reduce work-related stress. A rollicking laugh doesn’t merely make you feel silly and carefree for a moment in time — it also helps you be more stress-free! Psychologists found that the more frequently a person laughs, the less stress-related symptoms they experience after a taxing event. Laughter literally improves your well-being. And a work day with less gut-wrenching moments isn’t just better — it is a more productive day as well.

2. It boosts collaboration

Social aspect of a team’s effectiveness shouldn’t be overlooked.   When people laugh together, they experience positive emotions and bond more easily.  For example, poor communication is one of the most often cited causes of lack of productivity and increased conflict within a team. By creating positive emotions, shared laughter makes the listener more open to the message and magnifies the listener’s attention (reducing the need to repeat yourself). Laughter makes people feel good and when this happens within the context of a team, these feel-good emotions become associated with that team. The end-result? Cooperation and prosocial workplace behaviours such as helping your teammates are boosted.  So get the joke book out and start sharing a joke or two with your colleagues. 

3. Laughter fosters creativity.

As research suggests, millennials expect to have fun at work and are more likely to leave jobs that bore them. The campus environment of companies with indoor skate rinks, slides and play rooms remind us how significant it is to address this demand for a fun and relaxed workplace. But, retaining stellar employees is not the only positive consequence of such offices. Humour and laughter have been found to foster creativity in the brain! In one study, participants watched either a comedy or a horror movie. Immediately after, they were asked to complete a word association puzzle. The outcome? Those who watched the comedy were more creative in their puzzle-solving skills. These results were also confirmed using MRI that showed an increased activity in the brain area associated with creativity. Laughter, it turns out, is good for us – even at work.

– Sunday May 2nd is World Laughter Day – the ideal time to launch our new regular cartoon slot. We’ll be sharing a new one each day for the next week, and they’ll be appearing regularly in the future. Find them in the Glasswall blog.

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