HA + HA = AHA – The Power of Humour in the Workplace

Having fun at work is important. Not only does it lead to employees who are less likely to leave but it boosts performance and profits because people love coming to work.


Managers who lead with levity statistically perform better because of higher levels of employee engagement and retention because humour creates a sense of community.

It can allow your company to differentiate itself from the herd.  Paddy Power /Head of Mischief

It’s a potent stress buster because we feel physically and emotionally better when we smile and laugh.

Humour gets people to listen because we’re far more likely to tune into conversation if it has a funny tone and content.

Neuroscience research shows that humour activates our brain’s dopamine reward system and cognitive studies show that dopamine is important for both goal-oriented motivation and long-term memory.

It increases our acceptance of new ideas and problem solving. Studies have shown simply watching comedy on TV makes us better at problem solving.

It triggers new connections in the brain because it stimulates the right hemisphere which sets off divergent creative thinking. HA + HA does equal AHA.

It increases persuasion because it’s much easier to influence someone when you’re making them smile.

It increases the likeability of any speaker because it automatically relaxes us and we associate that feeling of happiness with the speaker.

It reduces status differentials helping managers and employees to work more closely together.

It builds trust which leads to huge benefits in organizations like group cohesiveness, diffusion of conflict and team building among diverse groups.

At a meeting, it encourages people to work more closely together because when we smile and laugh together we are mirroring each other’s body language.

It increases your change of promotion. Research shows that managers who display a good sense of humour are given more promotional opportunities.

Not all humour is good though. The following should be avoided.


Cruel or Inappropriate Humour

Forced Humour

Off-topic Humour

Too Much Humour


Maura Jakksen Byrne is director of Your Business Smart Coach specializing in Business Transformations and Career Revolutions.


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