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It pays to play — and laugh and party and have fun — at work, and that’s no joke

First Published      Last Updated Nov 19 2016 03:46 pm

Job satisfaction » Humor can bring balance and proportion — and, at the same time, boost productivity and unity in the workplace.

A CEO, a human-resources director and a new company hire are left adrift at sea after their ship crashes.

The HR director tells the CEO: "This is all your fault! You steered the ship!"

The CEO retorts: "Wrong! This is HR's fault. You were in charge of the crew!"

The new hire shouts: "You're both at fault! You steered, but you charted the course!"

After desperately casting a memo in a bottle to the tides, all three were eaten by sharks.

The message read: "Worst company retreat ever!"

———

Laughing matters • Humor is as much the stuff of business as it is of life.




Yes, the bottom line is serious. But whether it's daily quips between colleagues in the hallway, ice-breaking meeting openers or the office cutup's water-cooler monologue, such mirth is a basic ingredient to succeeding in the business world.

"You see this in all sorts of workplaces in every profession you can imagine," said Michael Kerr, a scholar and motivational speaker based in Canada who wrote "The Humor Advantage: Why Some Businesses Are Laughing All the Way to the Bank."

"Humor is both a driver of success," the author said, "but it also reflects success."

And that goes far beyond just telling jokes.

"A sense of humor is a sense of balance and proportionality in our lives," Kerr said. "It's about finding the funny in your day-to-day work, about laughing at things you have no control over and laughing at yourself more."

For employees, humor can make work friendlier, unwind tension, project confidence and contribute to career advancement.

From a corner-office perspective, creating a lighthearted environment is known to boost productivity and bond workers. It brings out more creativity and reduces sick leave. A recent study found that a majority of employees would accept less pay in exchange for having more fun on the job.

But levity almost always has an edge to it, and not everyone is comfortable cutting jokes at work, particularly in the conservative Beehive State.

"Utah's culture tends to be a little stiffer than it is in other places," said Lane Beattie, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber.

"You may also be working in an industry that is very stress oriented," Beattie said. "But it is probably even more important in those areas to find time to break with the mundane to a point where people can laugh."

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