Heard the one about the guy whose boss found him asleep at his desk? Sleeping? What sleeping? He was just trying to pick up his contact lens without his hands. Then there was the case of the tech support person asking whether the customer had any “windows” open. Let’s just say they were not discussing the same type of windows. Groucho Marx famously said, “Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.” Journalist Jonathan Raban once wrote, “In an underdeveloped country don’t drink the water. In a developed country don’t breathe the air.” Okay, now did any of those make you smile? Yes, they are supposed to be jokes though not everyone might find them funny.
Word from The Happiness Project says that levity can transform your workplace, lead to higher productivity and low turnover, and make each and every day, a good day. Today’s employees just don’t function as well in stuffy, regimented, rules-bound office environments. Though it is easy to find advocates of the fear approach to motivation – so don’t threaten to quit your day job if the bosses aren’t light hearted enough.
But before you go out and buy those rubber chickens and handshake buzzers, you should know that it’s not all about the laugh-a-minute environment. The best workplaces are those where employees have fun while brainstorming; where bosses are optimistic and smiling; where meetings are positive and light; where friendships develop between co-workers – though not affairs. Simply planning one fun event per month for the team or celebrating special events can improve morale. Additionally, employees like it when their opinions count, when managers encourage their development and when they believe they are doing important work. Then again, it’s worth remembering that Abraham Lincoln said folks are as happy as they decide to be.