Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Funny Works

There are many studies which espouse the value of humour in the work place. An often quoted study by Professor William Hampes looked at the relationship between humour and trust. Those who scored high on a test that measured sense of humour for social purposes were considered more trustworthy.

Other studies suggest that humour is good for group cohesiveness and leads to richer, more efficient communication. One such study by Jessica Mesmer-Magnus, David J. Glew, Chockalingam Viswesvaran looked at how humour is associated with employee health (e.g. burnout, health), work-related outcomes (e.g. performance, job satisfaction, withdrawal), perceived supervisor/leader effectiveness and how it can counteract workplace stress.

They found that employee humour is associated with enhanced work performance, satisfaction, workgroup cohesion, health, and coping effectiveness, as well as decreased burnout, stress, and work withdrawal. That is no joke. Supervisor use of humour was associated with enhanced subordinate work performance, satisfaction, perception of supervisor performance, satisfaction with supervisor, and workgroup cohesion, as well as reduced work withdrawal.

As is the case with many studies in this area there is the challenge of defining what is funny (some people just don’t get it). We also need to be careful not to cross any lines with sexist or some other non-appropriate humour among work colleagues.

That aside, given the positive associations with being able to make a few wise cracks, perhaps humour should be a skill we look for when building teams or hiring a supervisor. Worst case scenario, they will be a good laugh on company nights out or a bit of light entertainment on a dreary Monday morning.

To get started try this out ‘I said to the librarian I hope you don't have a book on reverse psychology ‘. Funny?, well you had to be there. Btw, free humour tip: If you find yourself Saying "You had to be there" chances are you need to work on your funny game a bit more.

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