How to keep the office happy?

Is humour the way to keep an office happy?

Have you heard the joke about the humourless office worker who went for a promotion? He didn’t get it.

In workplaces around the world a bit of humour can go a long way towards making it a more enjoyable place to spend eight or so hours a day.

But for every genuinely funny employee or boss, there are others whose unfunny or inappropriate jokes make colleagues wince.

So treading carefully, how exactly does humour help both improve a workplace and the standing of the person who is good at it?

When Steve Carlisle, president of General Motors of Canada, walks around the firm’s Ontario headquarters he shares jokes, and uses humour to bond with his staff.

“I believe having a sense of humour is part of the leadership package,” Mr Carlisle says. “It can help people feel more relaxed, more comfortable and thus be more effective at what they do.

What Mr Carlisle brings to his role at the car giant is exactly what a business professor called Maurice Schweitzer cautiously recommends.

Prof Schweitzer recently co-authored a study entitled Risky Business: When Humour Increases and Decreases Status.

It found that a worker or boss who successfully use humour is seen as both confident and competent, which in turn increases his or her status.

“In the workplace context, people look up to those who are confident,” says Prof Schweitzer, who works at the University of Philadelphia’s Wharton School.

“Being funny is taking a risk, and being risky shows confidence.”

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Source: BBC News, Retrieved 9 July 2017,

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