Using Humor in the Workplace

Jim Jelinske, founder of Creative Education Services, conducts educational programs and speaks at schools and businesses all around the United States. Jelinske’s specialization rests in bringing humor to toxic or tense workplaces and critical conversations.

Humor is a vital aspect of the human interaction. However, not everything that’s funny to one person is funny to another, and those who present more of a “forbidden” sense of humor can come off as immoral, dirty, or gross. However, humor in the workplace can be key to creating a creative, innovative and healthy environment for your employees.

“Great work places create conditions that allow employees to have fun and connect.”

In the service industry, humor can be a great way to connect with consumers or patients. Nurses who have funny scrubs can help ease children who are nervous about shots or dental procedures. Humor is a universal way to connect with another human

  • Use humor to make new employees feel comfortable in the workplace.
  • Use humor to cheer up a stressed or upset co-worker or employee.

Of course humor in the office is an excellent way to connect with others, but when does it become inappropriate?

Your humor may be off-track or inappropriate for the workplace if you…

  • Are using a co-worker or employee as the butt of a joke. Even in a harmless fashion, it’s inappropriate to single someone out for a laugh.
  • Don’t try to excuse harsh criticism or sarcasm by saying “I was joking.” If you have to tell someone you were joking, chances are no one found it funny but you.
  • Don’t sacrifice your authority for humor. Being a leader should always come first.
  • Gags and pranks can be funny for everyone, but unless the person being pranked finds it funny, you should steer clear of practical jokes.

Watch this video to find out more interesting insights about humor in the workplace...

Creative Commons licensed (BY-ND) flickr photo by Daniel E Lee.