Word-Of-the-Week #1003: Guffaw

October 26, 2023 by  

Guffaw – a hearty, boisterous burst of laughter.

When was the last time you experienced true, unforced laughter? Do you remember what triggered it and how it made you feel? Do you know that laughter can have a positive impact on your health?

This Chicago Tribune article by Marissa Levin, “FUNNY BUSINESS Cutting up at work offers host of benefits. Corporate America needs to loosen up” is so on target and a major point I made in my speeches.

“According to research from Wharton, MIT and the London Business School, giggles and guffaws offer several business benefits. Laughter can relieve stress and boredom, boost engagement and well-being and spur not only creativity and collaboration, but also focus and productivity, Harvard Business Review notes.

Babies laugh about 400 times a day; people over 35, only 15, Harvard reports. A recent study of Gallup data for the U.S. found that we laugh significantly less on weekdays than we do on the weekends.

  • With the onslaught of negative information coming at us these days, going to an office that values fun helps us to maintain perspective and optimism.

At my first company, Information Experts, we had a Good Times Committee (GTC) that was responsible for planning fun events. We had a line item in our budget for fun. No matter what the day held, we knew there would be some laughter along the way.

This week features 2 ways workplace goofiness can improve your culture and bottom line.

Laughter keeps us focused on tasks.

In a study, psychological scientists David Cheng and Lu Wang of the University of New South Wales found that people who watched a funny video clip spent twice as long on a tedious task compared to people who watched neutral or positive (but not funny) videos.

“There has been increasing recognition that humor may have a functional impact on important behaviors in the workplace, and that exposure to humor may increase the effectiveness of employees,” Cheng and Wang write.

Laughter is a great natural team builder.

A study from the staffing firm Accountemps revealed that nearly 80 percent of executives said an employee’s sense of humor is important for fitting into the company’s corporate culture.

Mike Steinitz, executive director of Accountemps, said an employee’s sense of humor can boost morale and improve connections with co-workers.

  • “Creating a positive and friendly work environment can lead to higher levels of employee engagement and productivity.”

Humor also can lighten the mood when something goes wrong.

“Not all business matters are funny, but a little levity can go a long way, particularly when it comes to defusing tension or recovering from a minor mishap,” he said. “There’s nothing like a joke to put people at ease.”

This week is all about guffaws. How would you rate your sense of humor? How often do you laugh in any given day? Do you work in a positive friendly environment? Are you fully engaged and productive?

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