Add a bit of fun to make workplace interesting

Laugh it out

Add a bit of fun to make workplace interesting

As of now, every person is thinking about how to emerge and thrive to set go the combat of healing reparation rooted on account of recent recession. What to focus on? Which leadership qualities are needed? How to motivate and energise the people?

This question has become a maxim in today’s hypercompetitive business environment where everyone is trying to blame the other for even the silliest of mistakes and problems, but it has also become something of a cliché.

What does this phrase really mean?  Doesn’t everyone try to align people and business strategies, and if everyone does so, how does it provide a solution? And can’t you successfully execute business strategy without an articulated “people strategy?” These things and many more have created a void of confusion. Corporates are striving to bridge the yawning gulf between dreams and reality to outlast the slog.

Under the circumstances, today’s work environments are rife with moody bosses and co-workers, repetitive tasks and unpredictable market pressures. Stress abounds. It is a complex, unending, incredibly difficult, oft-shunned task to maintain/mantle the drollery intact. Only the best proffered outlive.

In such a derogatory condition, it takes both employess and their supervisors to do magic or preach philosophy, for them to cope with each other. Magicians can pull objects suddenly out of hats, while philosophers can explain theoretical concepts, two skills (improvisation and abstraction) that are relevant for maintaining drollery.  

Certain myths about work, fostered by the supervisors, are pulling them down. They think, “Work is not supposed to be fun.”  “One should buckle down and get serious.” Perhaps the biggest myth of all being chivvied them is: “People will consider me as important if I act seriously.” On the contrary, they forget that by being serious, new problems are created, such as stress, worry, anxiety, emotional pain, drudgery and ultimately, failure. The harder you try, the worse the problem becomes.             

It is, but obvious that one would prefer to work in a funfilled rather than a grim environment. But the fact remains that happy and satisfied employees tend to be more committed to the organisation and have a favourable attitude towards work and workplace. They are more likely to help co-workers (team spirit) and are less likely to quit their jobs.

Face it! Work can be fun! It is a language through which people join and identify with a common universe. The quickest and most effective way to become more proficient at the skill of humour is to lighten up. A direct result of humour in the workplace is, it will optimistically affect the ambiance and flow of honest communication.

One cannot mandate fun, but setting up the tone in which it can happen is usually all that is needed. Most employees don’t need to be taught what humour is, what fun is or how to have some of it.  “The most important thing is for the executives to take things lightly and set examples like the following.”

A zonal manager of a bank, whose branch was situated in a drought-prone area, called his assistant and said: “Our Bomanahalli branch is in trouble again - the staff has no water.” The pompous assistant snapped: “That’s nothing new – they are always complaining about being short of water. Only last month we sent them a new tank.” 

“Well it’s very serious this time,” insisted the zonal manager (with lot of concern), “the stamp on the letter is stuck on with a staple.” This incident not only injected fun into the working environment but also created team building, optimism and synergy. Though, not evidently visible, it has paved way for the organisation to undergo a redesign and engineered to encourage fun and benefit from the positive results that follow.

There are many interconnected factors that inhibit humour and enhance energy. We may not really motivate others, but we can certainly create a high-energy environment that magnifies and expands the energy of individuals, teams and organisations. In another instance, a new manager known for his temper walked one morning into his office and switched on the fan. It did not work. He called the peon and shouted at him.

The peon said: “Wait Sir”, and brought a long stick and tapped the fan blade with it. The fan at once started whirling. The peon said, “In this office nothing works till it is given a kick.”

A brief smile, instinctively, swirled across everybody’s face. Perhaps, the instance would have cheered up the inner-self of those who were around including the manager and off course the pleasantry would have ruminated for a long.

A lack of humour, defines the emotional state of a workplace. If it is realised that laughter is important on the job and try to replace anger, mirthless and melancholy with humour, the world and the workplace would be a better place to live in and a lot of our present-day ills would vanish.

For both selfish and altruistic reasons, it is important to know what makes other people happy so you can bring them joy while making them feel appreciated and respected.

Pay attention to what makes your colleagues, employees or customers laugh or smile. Let’s look at an area where you can easily profit from an expanded sense of humor — setting the tone for the work environment and some simple ways to develop your own sense of humour. Be a sport, no talk can belittle a person nor is head-going. 

In a bank’s branch, an employee was habitually coming late. The branch manager often scolded him. He resented the rebuke and one day, as usual he was late, before the branch manager could ask him anything, forgetting his position, he asked the manager:

“What I would like to know is, do I get here later than you?”

“That has nothing to do with the question,” flared the manager whose anger was aroused. “Look here, are you the boss?”  The employee felt the position was growing dangerous. He said, “No, Sir! You are.”

“Then,” replied the branch manager, “Why on earth are you talking like an idiot?” Then there was a chuckle all around and a thaw set in.

It is said – ‘imagination was given to a man to compensate him for what he is not; a sense of humour was provided to console him for what he is.’ Indeed, laughing at oneself, as the branch manager in the quoted incident unwittingly did, is the highest form of laughter, while the lowest form is to laugh at someone else.

Most of us don’t use our sense of humour enough because we take ourselves too seriously that we are afraid to look foolish or silly. But what is there to be foolish or silly about – when the motto is to spread a pleasantry around?

A supervisor to his subordinate: “You do everything lazily and slowly. Is there anything you do quickly?”

Subordinate: “Yes, sir, I tire very quickly.” 

It is the attitude, more than the aptitude, determining the altitude of a supervisory. In the workplace, humour and fun can increase productivity, encourage creativity, enhance team building, and thus improve esprit de corps.

Make it a business to know what makes people in your life happy. Your family, colleagues, office staff, and friends all enjoy something.  Knowing what makes them laugh gives you an opportunity to plant seeds of pleasure in their lives. There is no greater morale builder than making others happy.

Spontaneity in jesting is also an art not everyone can master. Once, while parking the vehicle, I met a good old friend of mine.  After a brief talk he enquired where I stay. I said, “I stay on 4th Main Road, of BTM I Stage near Jayadeva Hospital. He threw a dismayed look. In turn, when I asked him where he stays, which he perhaps anticipated that I would.

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