How to Use Humor at Work to Lighten the Mood, Even If You Aren’t Funny

October 18, 2021 9:00 am Published by

Humor, laughter and smiling are easy, cheap antidotes to negativity and difficult circumstances. Consider the following:

  • Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine. — Lord Byron
  • Even the gods love jokes. — Plato
  • If laughter cannot solve your problems, it will definitely DISSOLVE your problems; so that you can think clearly what to do about them. – Dr. Madan Kataria

And while we don’t really need research to confirm what we all know experientially, here a few facts from the Mayo Clinic. Laughter:

  *improves our mood

  *decreases the stress we are experiencing

  *increases oxygen flow to our heart, lungs, and internal organs

  *releases endorphins in our brain

  *stimulates circulation and relaxation

  *relieves pain

  *boosts our immune system


    How do you measure a snake? In inches—they don’t have feet. (For U.S. residents only.)

    What did one ocean say to the other ocean? Nothing, it just waved.

    There’s a fine line between a numerator and a denominator. (Only a fraction of people will get this joke.)

The Challenge: Many of Us Aren’t That Funny

The problem is: a lot of us just aren’t that funny (although we may think we are). We can’t remember jokes, we botch the punchline, or combine information from two jokes (which often results in a laugh at our ineptitude!). But, as I sometimes say, “Don’t let a lack of talent get in the way of being successful.”

There are a number resources available to help you bring humor into your workplace, even if being funny isn’t your forte.

Cool Resources to Get You & Your Colleagues Laughing

My team and I have gathered a handful of resources, but there are thousands out there – and we’d love you to use the comments section to share with the rest of us the websites, videos, and books that you go to when you need a shot of laughter.

  • Search for “clean jokes” on the Internet.
  • On YouTube, search for “fail” videos (e.g. employee recognition fail). NOTE: You will have to scroll through and screen for appropriate videos.
  • Searching for “funny pictures” or “funny memes” on Pinterest and Instagram can yield positive results as well.

Ways to Share the Laughter

More opportunities exist to insert humor into daily work than we can list, but here are some places you can infuse some smiles and laughter into your work day and with your colleagues:

   -link to them in an email (either a “see this” email, or added to the end of a regular work email)

   -at the beginning of a meeting – to help start out with some fun

   -at the end of a meeting – to lighten the mood as people leave to implement action steps they’ve agreed to

   -during a presentation (cartoons are great, videos are better)

   -print the cartoon or joke and leave it on someone’s desk

A Few Guiding Principles

While jokes, humorous stories, funny pictures and videos are great to share at work, NOT ALL jokes, stories and visual images are wise or appropriate to share. For those of you that may have some challenges in identifying the boundaries, here are a few guidelines:

  *Using yourself as the object of humor (versus someone else) is usually a good idea

  *Avoid content that is sexual in nature (either directly or through innuendo or “double meanings”)

  *Stay clear of using foul language or cuss words (even if some of the word is s****k out)

  *Don’t be condescending towards groups of people

Best principle to use: practice using jokes, humorous stories and laughter-inducing pictures and videos more than you do now! 

GUARANTEE: Laughing together regularly will create a more positive work environment AND create a greater sense of camaraderie among you and your colleagues.

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October 18, 2021 9:00 am


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