Laughter, like yawning, can be contagious. It is the best (free) medicine on the market. Yet oftentimes we as adults do not get enough does of it in our lives. There is an urban myth that states children laugh 300-400 times a day while adults only laugh 15-20 times a day. We get it: we have a lot of responsibilities, there's work to be done and everyone is relying on us. But losing our funny bone does not make us more productive, creative or help us cope better with life. In fact, it has the opposite effect. Well, the good news is today is another day to infuse more laughter into our lives AND it just happens to be the start of laugh at work Week!
Laugh at Work Week is observed internationally every first week of April. As the name suggests, this week is dedicated to having fun and making the workplace more enjoyable. According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics survey, the average American spends more hours at work or commuting to work than they do at home. There is noted business value in adding humor and laughter into your office: it creates camaraderie among the team, leading to better communication and collaboration, it increases creativity, and it reduces stress in the office, which can lead to lower incidences of absenteeism. A team that laughs and plays together will succeed together. Here are some ways to introduce or encourage laughter, humor, and fun in your office this week:
- Keep it appropriate and professional. First, let's get this necessary reminder out of the way. As you are having fun, be sure to stay away from potential HR minefields. Humor is meant to be light fun done in jest to entertain everyone and lift spirits. Avoid mean-spirited or derogatory jokes that can hurt feelings and kill morale, or even worse – lead to litigation.
- Create a “Fun Team”. Select a few employees to form a team to take on the task of developing initiatives to bring humor and fun into your workplace. Ensure that this team properly represents your workforce so that all groups or departments are represented. The team will need support from management to carry out the activities that they come up with.
- Have Fun Challenges. Basketball contest, whacky socks, karaoke, best imitation of the boss, paper airplanes, etc. The sky is the limit when it comes to activities that you can do with your team. Most folks love a little friendly competition.
- Bring in the Entertainment. Hire a local act to come to perform for your team during lunch. Depending on their interests, you can find local bands, magicians, cartoonists, dancers, etc. Use the entertainment to set a festive, party-like atmosphere in the office. This could work great on Wednesday (Hump Day) or on Friday to close out the week.
- Distribute Gifts. Everyone loves presents! You do not have to break the bank to find fun(ny) gifts and trinkets for your team. Companies such as Positive Promotions, Baudville, and Oriental Trading offer items to fit every budget. Consider items that your employees can enjoy at their desks and at home such as playing cards, puzzles, desktop games, balls, etc.
While Laugh at Work Week is only observed during the first week of April, hopefully, these will not be the only days that laugher and fun find their way into your offices. Happy laughing!!