I have spoken to many candidates recently who have suggested that humour has left the business they work in and it has made a huge impact on their productivity, enthusiasm and love of the business they work for. Managers are showing a disapproval at the sound of laughter and hearing it means 'that serious work at hand is being neglected'.
However, in the interest of getting tasks completed on time and minding bottom lines, humour in the workplace could be the most effective tool to increasing innovation and unconventional thinking.
A fantastic example of how such an innovation took place was in 1953 when a New England chef George Crum mischievously decided to play a little joke on customers who repeatedly returned his fried potatoes to the kitchen complaining they were not crunchy enough.
Crum sliced the potatoes super-thin, added salt, and fried them literally to a crisp. The customer adored these first “potato chips” and shared them with other patrons who immediately wanted more. An entire industry was born!
I have to say this isn't the environment that I work in as we are all about the banter, jokes, silly emails and of course the non-offensive and sometime offensive (but with no harm intended!) comments. We work together 40+ hours a week - this has to be an essential part of our office. An office which is fun is going to be a far nicer environment in which to spend your time - and we do manage to get our work done too!
Professor Robert makes the case that humour at work increases creativity, leading to improved problem solving and innovation and happier employees. Jokes about work bring employees together.