Research tells us that we laugh less and less after age 23. Is it a coincidence that, for many college graduates, it’s around that time that they enter the workplace full-time? Depending on the culture of your work environment, you may avoid humor all together. Fear of being perceived as unprofessional or disrespectful can make us stiff, hyper-correct, and overly-serious. This phenomenon has been called the “humor cliff.”
Join me in a movement to bring back the laughter!
Book Club this month dove into the book Humor, Seriously, by Jennifer Aaker and Naomi Bagdonas. This book builds the business case for laughter in the workplace, and it’s pretty compelling. In a nutshell, humor at work increases our sense of connection and generates more creative ideas.
So how do we inject fun back into the workday?
There’s no need to take a comedy class, memorize jokes, or dress like a clown. It’s not performative humor; it’s about levity—which is much more simple and much more accessible. I rounded up a few fun examples:
Modeling levity is important at home, too. My husband and I have always made it a point to laugh together. My family loves to watch shows such as Impractical Jokers. We have been known to invent games such as “soap soccer” (which involves a tarp and soapy water, however it’s not recommended) and balloon tennis (turns out you can hit a balloon VERY hard with a racket, and it won’t break - great for releasing some stress too!). Whether your children are toddlers or teenagers, laughing together, and showing your kids that you can laugh at yourself, is a great way to connect.
The bottom line is that levity takes the pressure off. You don’t need to be a stand-up comic to tell jokes. A little laughter can go a long way toward strengthening relationships at work and getting everyone in the right mindset for a productive day in the office, and beyond.