International Joke Day helps build workplace engagement

Happy International Joke Day!
(Photo via Flickr,

Happy International Joke Day! Time to break out your best knock-knock jokes, puns and one-liners!
International Joke Day, celebrated every July 1, is a great excuse to introduce and encourage humor, fun and camaraderie into your workplace.
It doesn’t matter if you or your coworkers aren’t comedians, or if punchlines always seem to escape your memory right when you need them. The point of International Joke Day isn’t to be clever or even laugh-out-loud funny — it’s to connect with other people in a silly, playful way.
Humor brings us together, breaks the ice, eases tension and ultimately helps coworkers work better together.

Why Even ‘Bad’ Jokes Are Good for You

We’re not talking about truly bad jokes that are tasteless, offensive or try to create humor at the expense of any one person or group of people, especially those who are vulnerable.
Those types of jokes have no place in a work environment.
But “bad” jokes? Even pun-filled, groan-inducing corny jokes can get us smiling, so share away!
In fact, these may be the best type of joke to share on International Joke Day because they take the pressure off. Your employees and coworkers shouldn’t feel an expectation to be clever or make a “performance” out of telling a joke. That defeats the purpose.
The focus should be on loosening up, laughing together and bonding.
Enjoying a laugh with coworkers has a well-documented positive influence on your workplace. Every chuckle “brings with it a host of business benefits,” writes Harvard Business Review senior editor Alison Beard in her May 2014 article, “Leading with Humor.”
“Laughter relieves stress and boredom, boosts engagement and well-being, and spurs not only creativity and collaboration but also analytic precision and productivity,” Beard writes.
Despite these benefits, humor is all too rare in today’s workplace.
According to Beard, “Babies laugh, on average, 400 times a day; people over 35, only 15. A recent study of Gallup data for the U.S. found that we laugh significantly less on weekdays than we do on weekends.”
So, how can we start laughing more? Part of the solution is to treat humor as a choice.

Humor By Choice, Not Chance

“I think the most important thing is to really strategically and intentionally start using humor and not just let it happen by chance, but by choice,” author Karyn Buxman recently told attendees at a business luncheon in Louisiana, covered by the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report.
Buxman is a self-described “neurohumorist” who has studied the intersection of humor and business success.
Part of the challenge of increasing humor at work — and what keeps too many workplaces devoid of laughter — is how we think about humor: We’re either born with a sense of humor, or we’re not. We have the “gift” of comedy, or we don’t.
But most humor — at least the kind we’re talking about — is about attitude, not skill, luck or circumstance. It’s an attitude that can easily be practiced and developed.
“If you start looking for humor you will find it, and the more you look for it, the easier it becomes,” Buxman says.
So, today, in honor of International Joke Day, encourage your workplace leaders and employees to try out a joke or two, no matter how silly. For inspiration, try The Oatmeal’s Dumb Jokes That Are Funny, or Reader’s Digest’s “1000s of Our Best Clean Jokes.”
For more great tips and insights into building a vibrant culture of engagement and recognition, be sure to download our free e-book“The Top 20 Employee Engagement Blogs You Should be Reading.”
The Top 20 Employee Engagement Blogs You Should Be Reading
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