Humor in the Workplace“Let’s get goofy” PACRAO 2008 Nancy J. Norman, Registrar Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine Tempe, AZ
Overview and Goals • Learn about the physiology of laughter • Have some fun and giggles • Learn some humor tips • Bring fun to work with you • Spread the fun germ • Be serious about fun in your life • Simple acts of fun • Share some fun stories or ideas
Topics • Benefits of laughter • What makes humor an important part of the workplace • A twelve-step program fun-nomenon • Humor tips and how to help create fun-actics with your team • Funny resources • Day to day fun- what YOU smiling at!
Did you know that ... • The average pre-schooler laughs or smiles 400 times a day? • People smile only 35 percent as much as they think they do? • Laughter releases endorphins, a chemical 10 times more powerful than the pain-relieving drug morphine, into the body with the same exhilarating effect as doing strenuous exercise?
Did you know that ... • Every time you have a good hearty laugh, you burn up 3 and 1/2 calories? • Laughing increases oxygen intake, thereby replenishing and invigorating cells? It also increases the pain threshold, boosts immunity, and relieves stress.
Smiling statistics • Dr. David Abramis at Cal State Long Beach has studied fun at work for years. He's discovered that people who have fun on the job: • are more creative, • more productive, • better decision-makers,
Smiling statistics • They get along better with co-workers, • They also have fewer absentee, late, and sick days than people who aren't having fun. • They are more open to change and exploring new ways to do things
Smiling statistics • A survey by Hodge-Cronin & Associates found that of 737 CEOs surveyed, 98 percent preferred job candidates with a sense of humor to those without • Another survey indicated that 84 percent of the executives thought that employees with a sense of humor do a better job than people with little or no sense of humor.
Smiling statistics • A Robert Haff International survey stated only 15% of workers are fired because of lack of competence. • The remaining 85% are let go because of their inability to get along with fellow employees. • When asked about the qualities of an effective employee, senior administrators and human relations personnel check humor as one of the choice attributes of a desired employee.
Why bring your funny bone to work?? • A work environment that cultivates fun – grows in energy, self-esteem and team spirit • In working environments where humor is supported there develops a culture that utilizes the humor to reduce stress and provide perspective. • Learning to laugh at ourselves and our work lightens the load. In today’s times we need humor more than ever.
Humor energizes us… • A fun culture motivates and nurtures “want to” vs. “got to” • Productivity is a performance art; the person that performs well succeeds. • Fun is an important tool in the trainer’s belt. • Infuse your training with acts of fun and you will engage your audience
Humor energizes us… • Fun is an integral element of adult learning and helps to facilitate lasting effects • Fun creates enthusiasm and excitement in learning something new; it stimulates the senses • A fun culture means being prepared to break out of the box – doing the unexpected – willingness to look or be silly
Humor helps communication… • Humor can provide a non-threatening means through which an employee or employer can communicate with others without intensifying the emotional temperature of the relationship. • Consider the frazzled secretary who posts the sign - "I have only two speeds, and if this one isn't fast enough then I'm sure you're not going to like my other." OR "A Creative Mess is better than Tidy Idleness." The secretary's sign pokes fun at the situation, and the boss's note pokes some fun at himself.
Humor helps communication… • A smile can also have a positive effect on the sound of your voice. • If you communicate in a fun memorable way, you will grab the attention of your audience • It will engage their interest and enliven their willingness to act. • Communication is a vital key for success in every organization
Humor builds relationships… • Humor can facilitate the development of staff cohesion and a sense of team effort in the workplace • Fun is a social glue: it gets individuals to stick together, and it creates camaraderie in teams; • It soothes the natural tensions that arise when people work together. • Office jokes taking the seriousness of work lightly provide us with the opportunity to become more connected with others.
Humor Reduces Stress… • Work is often associated with stress, and we know that stress is one of the main causes of illness, absenteeism, employee burn-out, etc. • Humor is a great stress reliever because it makes us feel good, and we can't feel good and feel stress simultaneously. • Dr. Norman Cousins, author of Anatomy of an Illness, brought to our attention how laughter can be healing or reduce symptoms.
Humor Reduces Stress… • Humor and its fallout, laughter, reduce stress by activating the physiological systems including the muscular, respiratory, cardiovascular, and skeletal. • This fact results in the loss of muscle control, as many of us have, when we laugh so hard that we fall down or wet our pants. • Laughter has been labeled a jogging and juggling of the internal organs. When we laugh we feel physically better, and after laughter we feel lighter and more relaxed. • Humor provides a psychological stress reducer as it snaps our thinking to another channel.
Humor Provides Perspective… • Another way in which humor lightens the load of the workplace is by providing perspective. • Ashleigh Brilliant (known for his one- liners often found on postcards) says, "Distance doesn't really make you any smaller, but it does make you part of a bigger picture." • Consider the Ziggy cartoon where Ziggy is lying on the psychiatrist's couch and the psychiatrist is saying, "The whole world isn't against you...there are BILLIONS of people who don't care one way or the other."
12 steps to fun or How to recover your funny bone • Start with yourself • Don’t wait for someone else to start the fun – find your own • Discover your funny bone; examine how you spend your time and what you can change to split your sides • Create your own style, get zany, anything goes (almost)
12 steps to fun • Inspire fun in others • Be a role model for fun • Recognize and support the effort of others in the creation of fun. • Give gifts that stimulate fun and spontaneity
12 steps to fun • Create an environment that encourages fun • The workspace can have a great impact on our attitude. • Choose colors that enliven your spirit, • Use music to brighten your mood, • Have toys within reach to relieve stress • Put up pictures of smiling faces and cuddly pets
12 steps to fun • Celebrate the befits of fun • Recognize fun when you see it, • Be fun’s champion • Be open to other’s ideas • Use fun to spontaneously celebrate good work and good effort
12 steps to fun • Look for the humor in your situation • Find the silver cloud • People want to be with someone fun and optimistic • Always be ready to laugh, especially at yourself.
12 steps to fun • Eliminate boundaries and obstacles that inhibit fun • Fun is contagious, let it travel thru the organization giving it energy and life. • Make it a goal to find and remove obstacles that stop the flow of fun.
12 steps to fun • Follow your intuition; be spontaneous • Don’t wait for fun to find you – make it occur whenever anyone needs a boost. • Surprise is half the fun; use it to refresh your work and team.
12 steps to fun • Don’t Postpone your fun (or mine) • Fun is not a reward for completing a task; • It is the lubricant for getting things done well and effectively with others; • Make it a daily part of your routine!
12 steps to fun • Make fun inclusive • Fun is for sharing • The moment you exclude another from the fun it stops being fun • “The more the merrier” is the best attitude to adopt.
12 steps to fun • SMILE! And laugh a lot • Smiling and laughing cost nothing; they need no special skills and take little time to accomplish • Smiles are contagious and what a wonderful thing to catch • Greet everyone with a smile; tell a joke; laugh at yourself; you’ll find others eager to join in the fun.
12 steps to fun • Become know as “Fun Loving” • This is the greatest compliment you can receive. • Make it a personal mission to infuse fun into everything you do. • Share your fun with others and let it light up your life
12 steps to fun • Put fun into action • Grab a fun idea and take action • Share ideas, borrow ideas, or create your own; just start the fun! • Make it a habit
Tips to tickle the funny bone • Lighten up the day to day • Frustrated by morning traffic? • Grab some “Groucho” glasses and slip them on; watch the smiles around you. • Birthday card for a 65 year old, purchase one for a 5 year old and pen in the 6. • Smiling pancakes in the morning
Lighten up the day to day • Be a joke fairy. Leave a joke or special surprise under someone’s pillow. • Or add it to their lunch bag to brighten the day. • Watch AFV together and forget the news for a night.
Lighten up at work • Page a day calendars (Gilbert, Ziggy, Far Side) • Fun and motivational signs, posters, cartoon clips or post its. • Casual day, pig out day, theme day or use your imagination day. • Celebrate Christmas in July; have a sundae social on a Monday afternoon.
Lighten up at work • Learning the Fun-damentals • Engage new employees with an orientation scavenger hunt • Start a meeting with a ball-park wave • Use a game format such as bingo or jeopardy in training sessions • Start the training with a sing along – a theme song or an oldie but goodie
More tricks for the trainer • Hand out crayons and have participants doodle the key points • Create a crossword puzzle or word scramble with learning objectives • Giving a test? Use fun prizes like bubbles, paddle with ball, funny pens
Meetings fun?? What an oxymoron • Start your meeting by asking everyone to complete an opened-ended grabber of a sentence: • Wouldn’t it be fun if….. • The funniest thing I’ve seen at work… • Have a meeting mascot • Pick a color and have everyone wear it that day
Recognition with a fun twist • Provide staff with a wellness day off campus. • Give them a “get out of jail free” card to use for a few hours off. • Give fun gifts such as these books: • All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten • Chicken Soup for the Soul • Life’s Little Instruction Book. • Give a fun sweet treat like: • Life saver’s candy, 1000 Dollar Bar, Kudos
Funny you should say that… • Celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, projects completed, any milestone • Bring in treats • Send flowers or balloons • Display it in a public area • Put it in the newsletter • Send out an email
*Dave’s Top ten list • 10. Gag gifts • 11. Popcorn tins or fruit baskets • 8. Plaques and trophies • 7. Books • 6. Tickets to a sports event • 5. Balloons (with or without the gorilla delivery)
*Dave’s Top ten list • 4. Gift certificates (to almost anything) • 3. Dinner out (lunch and breakfast work too) • 2. T-Shirts, and • 1. Coffee mugs (preferably with a cartoon) • * 301 Ways to Have Fun at Work by Dave Hemsath
Foster funny teamwork • Have a movie at work with popcorn and candy • Set up a ball game after work and start the fun with a tailgate party lunch • Golf outing for everyone – set up a miniature golf course on campus • Special Olympics – egg relay – chair races • “Decorate your area/work space” contests
Funny resources • List of Resource books • “301 ways to have fun at work” • “Nuts!” • “Lighten Up” • “1001 Ways to Reward Employees” • “Managing to have fun” • “Games Trainers Play” • “Dogbert’s Top Secret Management Handbook”
What YOU Smiling at?? • Students Say the darndest things • “Can I take dance 101 as an online course?” • “I didn’t read the email because, I get too many… my inbox is full… can’t remember…” • “I didn’t think the deadline was really THE deadline”
What YOU Smiling at?? • Opportunity to share a smile