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Is laughter the best productivity medicine?

1 April 2014

It is widely accepted that laughter is the 'best medicine' in regards to mental health, but did you know that a good giggle at work could help boost productivity?

A number of recent studies have shown that encouraging humour in the workplace is a simple and effective way of increasing employees' performance.

This can be largely attributed to the health benefits of humour, as regular laughing can boost a person's immune system and lower stress hormones, leading to less time off work due to illness and anxiety.

Telling jokes in the office can also be used to improve the working relationships between staff members. Laughing with a group of people can promote positivity, defuse conflict and enhance team building.

However, it is important to choose the right time and place to encourage laughter and to ensure that humour is appropriate to the workplace; an ill-considered comment or joke could offend or humiliate a co-worker. Therefore it is important that managers are clear on what is acceptable when introducing a more light-hearted approach in the workplace.

Employee Relations 101 I ER101 training iHR Australia v2 18.2.14

Laughter can also help boost staff retention rates, as happier, less stressed employees are more likely to want to stay in an organisation. A company where smiles, humour and laughter are the norm is a business likely to attract and retain the most positive employees.

If you are interested in improving your workers' performance through creativity and humour, Inc magazine offers a few unusual ideas on how to make the workplace more light-hearted.

Unfortunately, humour is an area where offence can be caused when things get out of hand so it is also necessary for managers and employees to think before they speak and be aware of the boundaries of acceptable behaviour. Anti-discrimination, harassment and bullying training should cover these areas and encourage employees to treat one another with respect and to speak up about inappropriate comments and behaviour.

iHR Australia offers public and onsite anti-discrimination, harassment and bullying courses, as well as coaching for executives and management. Training can be tailored to suit your organisation, call 1300 884 687 for more information or make an online enquiry.

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