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Humorous | Tuesday, 18th August 2015

Why Humour? – The Importance of a Light Hearted Laugh in the workplace

Written by Julia Farrugia

Upon analysing your gut instinct it probably makes sense that humour and digital marketing should go hand in hand. But we’re often stuck trying to explain why we feel the way we feel – i.e we usually can’t effectively explain what our gut is trying to tell us.

There are in fact a variety of reasons as to why we instinctively know that humour and digital marketing are the match made in heaven.

god adam

First, let’s take a look at the internal effects – we’ll be looking at the external influences throughout the week.

There are more or less two types of companies. The ones which are more traditional, and the ones which follow a ‘Google’ work ethic. The difference between the two is that one is somewhat more rigid than the other. One has a corporate way of looking at things – there are stricter rules and methods of operation and there are specific systems in place to ensure plain sailing. This is great for some corporations, and also great for some people who appreciate this kind of working environment.

For others this could never work.

Some people, especially those working in the creative sector would find it difficult to work in an environment that is so rigid. In cases like these flexibility is key. A person must feel comfortable enough to work within his or her own structure which would be the ideal structure for them to get creative. For some this might mean blasting death metal into their ears, for others it might mean sitting as close to a window as possible. Everyone has their own method of working. Personally I work best in a coffee shop full of people, noise, and hubub. That’s where Spotify paired with coffitivity come in handy.

A healthy dose of theory

In case you’d like some theory to back all this up, here’s Maslow’s Theory of Hierarchy needs.
This is a well known theory which is often discussed in relation to organisational communication. It’s basically a pyramid which puts in order a person’s needs. It’s kind of like a food pyramid – but for a human being’s wants and needs. In the pyramid Maslow explains that each level is something which must first be fulfilled. So you can only progress to the next level if you’ve satisfied the requirements for the one before it. It’s much like a ladder leading to self-actualisation.

MaslowsHierarchyOfNeeds.svg

The first level deals with your biological and physiological needs – for example whether or not you’ve got enough food, whether you’re physically comfortable, and so on.

The second deals with your safety and security – do you feel as though you’re safe where you are? If you feel as though you’re under threat then you’re not going to enjoy what you’re doing.

The third is related to the social aspect – do you feel that you’ve built healthy relationships, do you have friends, do you feel appreciated? These are all very important questions which will affect the way you feel at your workplace.

Fourth comes your esteem needs – do you have self respect, do you have a positive regard of yourself based on the work you’re doing?

And lastly – self actualisation – are you reaching your full potential? Are you reaching your goals… are you happy with yourself?

Maslow’s Theory is simple enough to understand – however it’s surprising how many people don’t stop to think about their wants and needs, with some people being stuck in situations and jobs which make them unhappy.

Now you might be thinking “what does all this have to do with having a laugh?”

It’s simple really, a positive work environment affects level 3 on Maslow’s scale. It affects the way people work with each other and interact, which in turn affects the way work is produced.

How can you inject some humor into the workplace?

Well, for starters, it’s not about whoopie cushions and covering someone’s office furniture in foil (though that is kind of fun). It goes a bit deeper than that. It’s about having a good old fashioned laugh together in the office.

foil

Going off and doing something silly together is great – that’s why we’re such fans of dressing up in silly costumes and having a bit of a laugh at each other’s expense. But it doesn’t have to be that complex.

Everyone in your team is a human being, and like any human being out there, everyone gets stressed, tired, and hassled. Everyone has a hundred and one things going on and everyone reaches their breaking point at some point or other.

That’s why it’s good to develop a system which will help you inject a bit of light-heartedness into the office environment.

Weekly wind-down sessions allow people to discuss things unrelated to work, and also allow people to get to know the people they’re not working with directly.
Monthly internal activities which require a bit more input from everyone allow people to show their fun sides.
And every once in a while it’s important to get out of the office and go somewhere else. It doesn’t really matter where it is or what you do once you get there, what matters is that it allows the team to go off and do something completely separate to what they would do at work.

People who truly love their jobs always say that they don’t feel like they’re working. By creating an atmosphere which is relaxed, and fun to be in you’re getting people one step closer to that feeling.

Julia Farrugia

a little more about

Julia Farrugia,

Online strategist by day, environmental activist by night, Julia is the youngest member in the team. When she’s not curating, editing, or writing content she’s scheduling and planning. Her highlighters are her friends and she’s constantly taping to-do lists to the wall.