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October 22, 2012

We take 'Humour' seriously.

As a child, stories of Tenali Ram, Birbal and Gopal Bhand, the court jesters of royals were my favorites for the fun measure. As a grown up, have come to realize the role humour played in those numerous stories. The great kings too had realized the value humour adds to our lives.

The human resource issues plaguing the management, the challenges faced in getting the right talent for the key positions, the quarterly reviews, change management bottlenecks and so many more issues make a part of day to day life. The personal sail too seems to be rocking every now and then. Amongst all this we need a breather to save ourselves from burnout. For most of us; going to work does not just mean work, it also means meeting our peers at office and sharing some light moments amidst the busy schedule. Our peers become a part of our extended family as we spend almost one third of our life at workplace. The relationship we share with them to a larger extent affects our happiness and well being.

Thus the ‘happiness quotient’ at work, which keeps us going in spite the odds, deserves a favorable place in HR books. Recently we have come across designations like Chief Happiness Officer, Chief Fun Officer, does that mean more and more organizations are giving ‘Happiness at Workplace’ its due.

Research has put forth enough evidence to prove that the vitality and lighthearted environment at workplace rubs off on the stakeholders too. It breeds patient, flexible and endearing professionals. A hearty laugh keeps the heart happy and relieves stress. Sharing some lighthearted humour amongst the deadline pressure keeps the heart pumping. Laughter stimulates the immune system, releasing endorphins to heal pains.

The old school of thought of ‘Work means serious business’ is loosing ground. A jovial and playful attitude is no longer synonym with unprofessional and incompetence. We now see more and more organizations imbibing humour in their culture, to name a few; Google, IBM, Yahoo and Deloitte have officials appointed to look into the fun element and find ways to motivate the teams. As an engagement instrument ‘Humour’ is skilled enough to bring out benefits like a loyal workforce, a conducive environ where differences in opinion are ironed out creatively, team bonding, enhance productivity and a healthy talent force. However while we are at it we should avoid getting entangled in uncomfortable situations as a result of humour at the cost of gender, religion, race, sex and similar taboo subjects.

Fun and Humour is not necessarily about cracking jokes. It is more than that, it is an attitude to look at the brighter side and find reasons to feel good about a situation. It is about motivating peers with funny anecdotes and helping them come out of painful experiences. It is about giving momentary distraction from professional and personal crisis.

Ways and methods can be numerous, laughter sessions, special chill out zones with access to funny books and games, HR mailers sharing funny incidents, jokes and creative graphics to tickle the funny bone, activities to bring the teams to an impromptu performance. Small initiatives go a long way in creating an ambience good enough to qualify for the ‘Fun Place To Work’ award.

Tags : Humour, Role of humour at work chief happiness officer, happiness quotient, happiness at work

About Nivedita

Nivedita has almost six years of experience in the HR domain. In her current role with an IT company, she manages the talent acquisition and talent management initiatives of the organization. She has been honored a Master’s degree in Business Administration with a specialization in Human Resources. She began her career in 2005 and has been working in the different domains of Human Resources ever since.