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Naturally, employees are expected to take their job seriously. The assumption has always been in order to be successful within an organization one has to be competitive and driven at all times. While these are certainly desirable traits in an employee, it is also important to enjoy what you do and embrace a little humor each day. Sharing a laugh with co-workers can decrease stress levels and energize a team effort that could otherwise be very mundane.
Studies have shown laughter can improve immune systems and reduce a person’s perception of pain. Laughter can also increase creativity as well as productivity. In fact companies on Fortunes Top 100 Best companies score high on the question "Is this a fun place to work." In a team environment, laughter among co-workers can help to create bonds and cohesive relationships among team members. In fact, employees and management alike feel that laughter should be a part of the work environment. Research conducted by workplace strategists and authors Adrian Gostick and Scott Christopher1 concluded:
Of course, there is moderation in all things and humor does have specific boundaries within the workplace -- lines that should not be crossed. Humor should never be used to insult or hurt. Managers can set the proper example by demonstrating their own sense of humor and participating in an appropriate level of fun without losing the respect of their team.
Often, a sense of humor is a great way to offset minor troubles among the team. Keeping stress at a low level is critical to maintaining productivity and eliminating drama in the workplace. There are always going to be difficult days in which the only way to get through them is to find something to laugh at. Sometimes you may need a laugh and sometimes you may spot a fellow co-worker who needs one. It may not solve the problem directly, but it may create a sense of calmness and awareness that can make the solution appear more readily.
1More information on their research can be found in the book "The Levity Effect: Why It Pays to Lighten Up."