The Power Of Laughter In The Workplace

Happy Employees
When was the last time you laughed out loud at work? I’m not talking about using LOL on social media posts……I mean a deep laugh in the office or at a meeting?

I’ll bet you can’t remember. We take ourselves far too seriously and seem to confuse solemnity as acting appropriately at work. Having fun seems to be inappropriate behaviour in many established corporate environments.

“He who laughs most, learns best”

– John Cleese

It makes us more receptive to new ideas…..who can say “no” after they have just shared a giggle with someone. You are more likely to learn and try new things when you are relaxed.

Your Boss Should Make You Laugh

One of the best bosses I ever worked with encouraged pranks. Our team “pranked” everyone in the group including the boss. The best pranks were “got you” and were unexpected. We vied with each other to out do the other team members so we became really creative. 

We couldn’t wait to see the results of our pranks and we laughed and laughed knowing full well that that person was already planning their revenge.

Humour Builds Trust

As a result our team worked and played hard. We were encouraged to be creative and to try new things because of our ability to laugh as a team. We learned, we built a strong and creative team ,and we created a successful and respected department.

Laughter Builds Relationships

I remember those good times as a model of how a team can push the boundaries, find new ways of doing things and have fun. These people are still my friends today and are the people I would go to for advice. Laughter builds relationships.

Pay It Forward

It takes self confidence as a manager to be able to share and encourage laughter with your team. Take the time and you will reap the rewards. Teach your team the value of laughter at work and it will be one of the most valuable lessons you can give them.

I would love to hear your stories about the power of laughter. – Share them in the comments section below!


Alanea Kowalski
Alanea Kowalski
ALANEA Kowalski is an executive coach with over 25 years of international business experience who focuses on startup or high-change environments particularly with expatriates, women leaders and executives working toward developing global understanding and presence. Her areas of expertise include Financial Services, Pharma and High Tech. She coaches numerous C-suite clients and executives managing cross-cultural teams and working in multinational companies. Alanea has worked for Citibank, and as a consultant in Executive Search, Talent Management and Career Transition. She has worked with clients throughout North America, China, Hong Kong, Russia, the U.K and Europe. Alanea has lived in the UK, Canada and currently she resides in France. She holds multiple coaching certifications: The Coaches Training Institute, Lore International, The First 90 Days (Michael Watkins), The Team Intensive and Coaching Ourselves (Henry Mintzberg). Alanea is on the Advisory Board for ACEC, Association of Corporate and Executive Coaches. She is described by her clients as having the ability to interlace the strategic and creative with the practical. She pushes and challenges her clients to reach the next level using humour as well as her deep understanding of people and business. She takes her work seriously but, not herself. Often Alanea is described as a hybrid Coach and Consultant. One of her favourite phrases is “what if”.

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  1. A mix of fears for the future, competition and excessive workloads has turned offices and companies in hostility and discontent. This becomes reduced performance, acts of sabotage, verbal aggression (if not even physical), with impacts on emotional climate, productivity and on the company’s balance sheet. The economic crisis and the subsequent renovations have a decisive role by generating fear and nervousness. Anger can also be a signal that alerts management on a climate of injustice, the presence of obstacles preventing goals, on the existence of conflicts to deal with and resolve. In the workplace the seriousness has always had a positive connotation. When an organization wants to give itself a positive image is defined as “serious”.
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  2. One is valued and tends to evaluate on the basis of concepts that have to do with the reliability, efficiency, meaning the seriousness as rigidity. Managers are, on average, people rather measured, whose look [by the clothing or the posturing] is often the result of choices dictated by the business context and the social environment. They chose the “mask” of serious-angry because they believe that this is the only way to be a leader, to pursue a career, collect the consent. Yet the irony is an integral part of our lives, allows us to defuse the difficult moments, to make the day easier and above all to download the stress accumulated. Even in the workplace the irony is an extremely important component: during a busy day, hard and tiring, a joke or a laugh helps us to better deal with our tasks.
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  3. . Even in the workplace the irony is an extremely important component: during a busy day, hard and tiring, a joke or a laugh helps us to better deal with our tasks. If we learn to take slightly less seriously, probably we would live better and would be better in our work. Frown attitude, that distinguish effective leaders, reliable workers and professional consultants, are part of a bureaucratic vision of the work. There is nothing better than to get into an office, regarded as a “place for things serious” knowing in advance that you will have at least the opportunity to smile. In the real world irony serves to establish the climate of complicity, of correspondence of intent and visions to work better. This is not to say missing respect, do not recognize multiple hierarchies and dependencies. More simply, we start from the premise that people are basically professional and serious, but precisely for this reason, able to defuse with a sense of humor. The humor is the other face of the s

  4. Smiling, even of their own difficulties, allows you to face adversities and daily challenges with greater serenity. The use of humor in the current business environment, characterized by complexity, uncertainty and speed of change, reduces tensions, increases the ability to solve problems, increases productivity and facilitates team spirit. Humor proves to be an important competence attitude and even in conflict management it seems to be a precious ally. A message proposed in a humorous manner, in fact, is perceived as less aggressive, while keeping intact its original meaning. Humor proves to be effective also in negotiation: a request or a change is more likely to be accepted if offered in a humorous way.

  5. You’re right. The benefits of laughter exceed what anyone would expect unless that actually considered the aspects beyond the physical act of laughing. We are a serious bunch of people. Early in my working career I was on a team in IT where everyone, including the ‘boss’ had a great sense of humor. It was hysterical one time when a few guys installed a tiny program on my boss’s computer when she went to lunch. It was called ‘Drip’ and as soon as one key was touched, it appeared that all the letters on her screen were dripping off the page. Oh the screams coming from here office! Priceless!! We got a lot done on that team and I credit the camaraderie and support bonded by humor.

    • All good points, Jane! Simply can’t put into words just how much a respectful sense of humor over the course of my career has helped me and so many others get through day to day challenges. Perhaps it didn’t solve the problem we were up against, but it certainly broke through the stress levels and (as you’ve indicated) cemented a level of camaraderie that was simply priceless. Thanks for sharing your experience!