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HOW FUN AND LAUGHTER MAKE TEAMS WORK AT WORK
You’ve probably heard it before – how having fun in the office and laughing with your colleagues can actually boost your team’s productivity and bring in greater results to your company. And no, it’s not a myth.
From our article on why team building is an important investment for any organisation, laughing and having fun at work address 3 out of 7 factors of personal wellbeing – physical, mental, and social. In other words, all the more reason you should crack up in the office to improve not just your work life, but also your overall quality of life.
Contrary to conventional beliefs, work and play are in fact not two conflicting ideas. Playing makes you work better. When you genuinely and generally have a good time in the office, you will naturally have greater job satisfaction and feel more loyal to your organisation.
Now here’s why.
Laughter puts people at ease. It reduces stress in three ways – a change in how you view or perceive your stressors, a mood lifter, and a physical response that relaxes you. When we laugh, a chemical reaction occurs – endorphins (‘feel-good’ chemicals) are released, and cortisol (stress hormone) is reduced. Laughing also exercises several muscles in the body, namely your abdomen, back, shoulders, and 15 facial muscles. 15! That is why they say, “You don’t stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing.” Aaaaaand it’s true.
Laughter can also bring people together. Humour is a very attractive trait and increases likeability. Don’t we want to work with someone we like? Laughing has a way of breaking down walls and lowering your guard. You will come across as more authentic, which would then build trust between colleagues. And of course, laughing as a group creates camaraderie and bonding.
Okay, so being all chummy is well and good. But how does it make us more productive? When we are comfortable around a person, we tend to feel less fearful of being criticised or judged (by others or even ourselves) for our ideas. In that way, we’ll be more willing to play around with ideas and be more open to share them. As we brainstorm for ideas as a team, laughter plays a major role in shifting from convergent thinking – where they can see only one solution – to divergent thinking – where various ideas are generated.
Here are some ways that you can inject fun and laughter at work:
1. Energisers are great during team building events. Why not use them in your day-to-day gatherings too? Perhaps when you have a little bit of time before a morning meeting, or before after-lunch meetings, you can add an energiser to fight that post-lunch drowsiness.
2. One of the easiest ways to add fun is through bonding over food. Have a basket in the pantry where colleagues can share treats. You can look forward to exotic finds from (generous) frequent flyers. Or take it a level higher and go for a food hunt!
3. How about sharing funny content? Forward that funny email or video that got you chuckling by yourself. Or perhaps a tweet! I kid you not, Twitter is arguably the best place on earth for laughs.
4. You can also inject a little bit of humour and fun in your instant messages, whatever platform you use. Reply with stickers and gifs (Telegram’s a great one for it!) instead of plain old text.
5. Or you can simply find things to smile and laugh about. Take a breather, look around, and amuse yourself with that oddly shaped cloud (and make a remark to the colleague next to you while you’re at it – but be prepared to receive a weird look XD).
In short, having fun and laughter at work enhances our performance, strengthens our ties, and is no doubt one of the best stress management tools around. So lighten up, let loose, and laugh it out!