Can laughter be the best medicine for workers?
Joking and laughing are activities that some employees might have been afraid to commit in the workplace - especially because they want to stay professional and out of fear of getting reprimanded by their managers.
But with offices shifting to remote workspaces and news becoming more and more depressing after every passing day, maybe it's time to revisit the good old positive effects of laughter and rediscover why it could be the best medicine for a virtual workplace full of tension.
Stanford Graduate School of Business Professor Jennifer Aaker previously talked about this in a podcast, where she said employees hold back on humour at work because it might not be the most appropriate place to display them.
"When we ask people what holds them back from using humour at work, many believe that humour simply has no place amidst serious work," she said. "We're worried about harming our credibility and not necessarily being taken seriously."
"And yet in large scale studies that we run and that others have run, the large majority of leaders really prefer employees with a sense of humour and believe that employees with a sense of humour do better work."
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According to Aaker, showing a sense of humour could change how people interact. A person exhibiting humour gets more attributed to someone with more confidence, and this further cultivates a sense of trust.
This is even more important now, she added, as workplaces shifted to a different world and it's hard for employees to feel "comfortable enough to share with each other authentically."
Stanford GSB lecturer Naomi Bagdonas also said: "Humour is a particularly potent elixir for trust."
"What happens is our brains release the hormone oxytocin, and we're essentially cued to form an emotional bond with that person," she explained. "And oxytocin, by the way, is the same hormone that's released during sex and childbirth, fun fact. Both moments when, from an evolutionary perspective, we benefit from feelings of closeness and trust."