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Cracking up at work

The scientific linkages of humour to ‘work output’ sounds more like common sense. Good humour makes the employee happy, a happy employee works better and so on and so forth.

india Updated: Nov 05, 2007 22:27 IST

Joke Lite is the recommended diet for a healthy workplace. No, stupid, we didn’t know that. Researchers are now working on ways to figure out how humour can make more cohesive teams in cross-cultural workplaces. This is the next project for researchers in the University of Missouri-Columbia after they concluded that an office that jokes around as it tweaks PowerPoint presentations and races to meet deadlines is that much more creative and productive. The researchers also found that in cross-culture teams, it is more difficult to crack a joke, be funny and not ruffle some feathers. Jokes that are related to work are the best — with the precaution that jokes about the boss not be cracked while he’s in the vicinity.

The scientific linkages of humour to ‘work output’ sounds more like common sense. Good humour makes the employee happy, a happy employee works better and so on and so forth. But point is that productivity in these times of lean meat, sorry, teams, is no joke. So, any study about the role of humour in a cost-cutting business environment will have many takers. The next step, of course, is to define a light joke. For instance, a career diplomat talking about headless poultry is simply not a light joke, it would seem, much as the workplace may cackle at it.

Laughter, then, is not only the best medicine, it is also the best incentive. No wonder so many people get to laugh at their salary. Bottomline, no cutting corners on the quality of humour employed. No, don’t hire the guy who claims he has a ‘keen sense of humour’ — he’ll only crack jokes and there’s simply no place for that.