Traditionally viewed as a serious environment, it can be jarring, and potentially even inappropriate to some, to hear bursts of laughter in the workplace. However, many studies have shown that humor can have a positive impact in the office.
According to research conducted by MIT, even a slight chuckle can bring with it a host of business benefits. Laughter is known to relieve stress and boredom, while simultaneously boosting engagement, spurring creativity and influencing productivity and precision. In addition, Harvard Business School professor, Alison Wood, has found that cracking jokes while in a business environment can even make a person seem more competent.
When you laugh, it lightens your mental load and increases your brain’s release of endorphins. The Mayo Clinic conducted research that shows that a more intense burst of laughter can even heat up and subsequently cool your stress response which can lead to a more relaxed feeling. Lower stress benefits employees as it reduces absenteeism and increases overall productivity.
While it’s important to be conscious of your environment and not distract fellow colleagues, breakroom banter and coffee with a side of humor can only improve your business and overall morale. When considering this research, it ultimately leads to this question: should laughter be discouraged at work, or in fact required in order to bring a more positive workplace atmosphere? The answer is up to you, your boss, or more directly, just how funny the jokes are that your colleagues make.