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3 Ways Humor Improves Company Culture

Sean: How does humor improve work culture? We’re going to explore that today and give you three ways that humor can improve your work culture. Welcome to another episode of The Inflection Point. Henry. You may notice that today I’ve got a different setup here.

Henry: Yeah, your background does not look at all like the back room in my apartment here in New York.

Sean: I’m lucky enough to be staying with somebody very dear to me. And that person is you. So thank you for hosting. I appreciate that.

Henry: My pleasure.

Sean: So how does humor improve work culture? Well, let’s start with the obvious. You know, these days, social connections are really tough to make at work, whether you’re working remotely or on-site or some hybrid of the two, challenges are on the rise. There’s loneliness, there’s isolation, there’s burnout.

Henry: Humor helps improve the experience of working, right? It brings people together and infuses enjoyment into your day. Look, time out. There’s nothing dull about humor, but there is definitely something dull about overanalyzing humor.

Sean: How many scientists does it take to analyze a joke? Well, it turns out a lot. And if you want the science, go ahead and Google it.

Henry: You know, sidebar: I always thought Google stemmed from the cartoon Barney Google with the goo-goo googly eyes, but it actually comes from the mathematical expression of 100 zeros following the number one.

Sean: This is true. This is true. So let’s talk about the three ways that humor can improve work culture.

Henry: Yep. Using humor will build resilience. Using humor helps you strengthen and build relationships. And using humor makes work fun.

Sean: Look, laughing increases the feel good endorphins that are released whenever you are experiencing something fun, you know? And that release of those endorphins, those natural chemicals, it causes the muscles to relax and it reduces stress.

Henry: And this is a true story timing out for a second. I was talking to a relative of my father and he was talking about when he enlisted in the Army. He told me this story – absolutely true, which every comedian always says is a true story. But he said, so, he’s being interviewed for the physical. And they say, have you ever been abroad? And he says, no, I’ve been a man my whole life.

Sean: Oh.

Henry: And he meant it. It’s an old joke, but it’s absolutely true. So it was funny. I mean, you can leverage humor so many ways to build relationships, but laughter is the shortest distance between two people.

Sean: I think that’s true. And all right, jokes aside, there’s the telling of humorous stories, right? Something that makes you laugh and giggle. Just something about yourself. Humorous stories are that sharing of experiences, but with a twist because, expectations are upended or unintended consequences are shared, and we’re able to connect with the other person because we see ourselves in that story.

Henry: Yeah, we become relatable. And when a leader shares a small, relatable flaw, suddenly you see the person behind the status or the power or the title. Now it can put people at ease. It can break through the armor. It’s so powerful to defuse tension and become relatable.

Sean: The third way that humor helps to improve work culture is it makes work fun. Humor is by definition fun. And who doesn’t want to have more fun at work? We don’t. We like to have fun at work and we encourage our clients to do the same. Because when you’re having more fun at work, then you’re actually able to get more done. It’s more… You’re more at ease at work. And the esprit de corps, the morale of the people and the spirit of your culture improves.

Henry: Esprit de corps. I like that. Well, a funny story isn’t appropriate for every audience in every situation, of course. And you’re not a professional stand-up comedian. But when humor bubbles up, it can be a powerful way to build trust and to humanize you.

Sean: So have some fun. Use these three ways of improving your work culture with humor and enjoy yourself doing it.

Henry: Catch you on the flip side.

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