I recently stumbled across an article that discussed the benefits of humor in the office by the BBC that can be read here. I, for one, am a huge advocate of humor in the office and this article seems to agree with that. I strongly believe that humor can help create a culture that promotes openness amongst employees and managers and can create friendships outside of the workplace. Though humor can be a great way to create bonds in a company, it must be used in good taste or it can negatively impact relationships. Let’s take a look at some do’s and don’ts of using humor in the office.
Do’s of Office Humor
One of the best ways to create rapport or break down barriers between employees is to self-deprecate. Don’t be shy to poke fun at yourself, this shows that you can take a joke and you are an open person. If you are able to laugh at yourself it shows humility and can make coworkers more comfortable in engaging with you. Joking about celebrities or funny internet memes are all fair game and can be a great way to make people laugh. See a funny photo of a cat sitting at a tea party dressed up? Share it! Small gestures like this, when done within reason, can help lighten the mood around the office and make coworkers smile.
Don’ts of Office Humor
Though office humor can be a great team-builder, it can also be a fine line. Never, ever, make fun of a fellow employee who is not present. This is how rumors start and can create a riff. If you are going to make a joke toward a coworker approach with caution. If you are close with them and you know they can handle a jab here and there, have at it, if you aren’t close on that level it is best to stay away. Do not joke about sensitive topics such as sex, race, drugs, etc., these topics can all make someone uncomfortable and can send the wrong message.