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By Nico Strydom

The use of humour in the workplace can boost relationships and even productivity but unsuitable humour can also affect your career negatively.

Many studies have shown that humour in the workplace can, among other things, lead to better relations between colleagues and an increase in productivity and creativity. It could, of course, also create a more pleasant work environment and be a way of motivating people.

Lower stress levels and a high morale among employees are some of the positive aspects of humour in the workplace. It could also lead to employees being happier in general and experiencing better job satisfaction. Humour can also result in employees feeling more at ease in the workplace and liking their manager better and trusting and respecting him or her.

The studies also found that individuals who applied humour in the workplace could by doing so increase their status and improve their chances of promotion. Humour can make a person more accessible and show that he or she also has another side while still acting in a professional way. Humour can help to relieve stressful situations and solve problems.

There is, however, the matter of unsuitable humour in the workplace. This could lead to a toxic work environment and could destroy a person’s status and esteem. In extreme cases it could even destroy a person’s career.

An out-of-place joke could lead to a colleague taking offence and it could even verge on a form of harassment. A joke that your family or friends may find funny is not necessarily going to have the same effect in the workplace. A joke could hurt somebody’s feelings or he or she could take it as an insult, which could lead to an uncomfortable situation in the workplace.

The other possible dangers in the workplace are that they could cause discord among colleagues, divert employees’ attention and make colleagues feel inferior. People do not all have the same sense of humour and it is always important to take other people into consideration where there is humour around in the workplace.

Jokes about race, gender and age or dirty jokes can cause a lot of trouble in the workplace. Aggressive humour or jokes that make fun of others can land you in trouble and should preferably be avoided.

There is a fine line regarding acceptable humour in the workplace. When it is done right, it could have several positive results in a workplace but when it is done in the wrong way it could have far-reaching consequences.

 

Sources

Mind Tools: https://www.mindtools.com/blog/humor-workplace/

Everfi: https://everfi.com/blog/workplace-training/but-it-was-just-a-joke-when-humor-turns-mean-at-work/

HR Acuity: https://www.hracuity.com/blog/the-right-and-wrong-way-to-use-humor-in-the-workplace

Ragan: https://www.ragan.com/the-right-and-wrong-ways-to-approach-workplace-humor/

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