- Rachel Treece
3 benefits of laughter at work
I’ve just found out that this week is meant to be the most depressing week of the year. That Monday (21st January) is dubbed ‘Blue Monday’ by being the worst time in the year for debt, self-motivation and gloomy weather. And that’s even before discussing US government shutdown, global trade wars or Brexit. To all this, I say enough!
This January, let’s work together to change this with the help of a simple, effective (and free) management tool that may revolutionise our businesses and our lives: laughter.
The simple truth is that you, me, our families, friends and colleagues – we will all benefit HUGELY from more laughter in our lives. This isn’t a new concept of course. One of our clients has implemented a module of their Leadership Development Programme on “Laughology” and it has stirred a lot of interest.
And yet whilst we all might recognise that this is a good thing - and despite laughter being as old as human history – I feel like we seem to be neglecting it more and more. Let me ask you this: how much laughter is there in your workplace today? How could you encourage this more?
Somehow, we seem to have trained ourselves to believe that business must be serious: That we should take ourselves seriously, to behave with “gravitas” and that a serious rational argument is always the best form of debate. Sometimes the weight of career expectations and fear of failure cause us to feel that laughing in the office place is not appropriate. Perhaps laughter is just for socialising outside of work, or even worse, perhaps laughter at work is done more in ridiculing others than in building friendship.
And yet evidence of the genuine effectiveness of laughter points to the contrary. A short online search of academic research reveals powerful data showing three incredibly positive impacts that laughter has:
Benefits our physical health – laughter has proven to lower blood pressure, to reduce stress hormone levels, and to even burn calories. It is all round win!
Benefits for our mental wellbeing – laughter can boost confidence and help to gain perspective. We’re all guilty of taking ourselves a little too seriously sometimes, so being able to laugh at ourselves can relieve pressure. Humour also provides a good way of coping with the day-to-day challenges at work by reducing anxiety.
Builds positive relationships – laughing with your team, your peers and your supervisors is a fundamental aspect of building trust and deepening communication. Promote team building activities or opportunities to spend time together outside of the office to create the right environment. According to a 2009 study for example, people are shown to be significantly better at solving problems as a team if they are in a better mood. As Mark Twain, famous American author and entrepreneur once said: “Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.”
Laughter is the truly the sound of collaboration and productivity. We hope that at every WELLBUSINESS™, laughter can be heard echoing down the corridors. So ladies and gentlemen, I propose the key ingredient for success in 2019: laughter.