The workplace is supposed to be a serious, productive environment, where employees diligently attend to their tasks without any clowning around. Right?
Not so fast.
A good sense of humor makes a positive difference when it comes to fitting into your company’s culture, according to a new survey from Accountemps: 78 percent of CFOs claim humor is very important or somewhat important.
“A sense of humor can boost moods and improve connections among colleagues,” said Mike Steinitz, executive director of Accountemps. “Creating a positive and friendly work environment can lead to higher levels of employee engagement and productivity.
“Not all business matters are funny, but a little levity can go a long way, particularly when it comes to defusing tension or recovering from a minor mishap,” he added. “There’s nothing like a joke to put people at ease.”
Not all humor is good humor, however, when it comes to cracking jokes in the workplace. Here are five rules for being funny in the workplace, thanks to Accountemps:
- Show your personality. When used appropriately, humor can help build rapport with colleagues. Interviewing for a new job? Consider weaving in some wit to build chemistry with the hiring manager and show that you are approachable – a trait of a good leader. As an added bonus, it can help alleviate nervous jitters.
- Consider the circumstances. Comedians know timing is everything. While a chuckle or two can help diffuse stressful situations, cracking one-liners during a serious meeting is an unwelcome distraction.
- Use the right medium. Be cautious when using humor in an email or instant message – it might fall flat or be misinterpreted because the recipient cannot see your facial expressions or hear the tone of your voice.
- Laugh with them – not at them. Never use humor at the expense of others, and be mindful about sarcastic or demeaning comments that can be off-putting or offensive. Poking fun at yourself is safer; it shows that you are self-aware and don’t take yourself too seriously.
Keep it G-rated. Steer clear of inappropriate or negative remarks that could make someone feel uncomfortable. If you’re unsure of how your joke may be received, keep it to yourself.
The survey includes responses from more than 2,200 CFOs from a random sample of companies in more than 20 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas.