Thoughts on Humor in the Workplace

Business is serious stuff. There’s no time for humor. That’s for people who just don’t understand how important it is to stay focused on the bottom line.

Get to work! Work harder!! Work longer!!! Produce more!!!! What are you doing out of your seat? IF YOU’RE LAUGHING, YOU’RE NOT WORKING HARD ENOUGH!

Managers and leaders that operate with this mindset are truly out of touch with human nature. Business can be a pressure cooker. It needs a release valve to let out the steam when the pressure becomes too great.

That’s how I look at humor in the workplace. It is the release valve. It’s an essential part of producing the greatest stew, while not blowing up the kettle.

Everyone needs a release. Yes, business is serious. But so is life. Humans are strong, resilient, and dedicated…until they hit their ultimate pressure point. Then they stop! They need time to recover, to relax, to release the pressure.

Some managers recognize this but choose to work their staff hard until the pressure is strongly apparent, and the alarms go off, warning them that the kettle is about to burst. Then they take a break to release the pressure. I guess for some types of businesses, this works. But I believe in a creative environment such as Photonics, it’s best to continually release some pressure, so it never reaches the destructive point of alarm.

I believe that a daily dose of humor in the workplace is beneficial. It helps people stay fresh. It reduces stress. It helps clear minds so we can think creatively and produce great work. It’s healthier, and it creates a more balanced and enjoyable work experience for staff and managers alike.

So, as a longtime business owner and manager, I say “IF WE’RE NOT LAUGHING, WE’RE NOT WORKING HARD ENOUGH!”