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LOL… Be Careful! Humor at Work is a Double-edged Sword

Not all humor is appropriate for the workplace. Be careful not to say something that you will later regret.

Laughter has been documented to provide many benefits, including stress reduction. Since the workplace is one of the more stressful areas of life, humor is often interjected as a stress-reliever, morale booster and team builder.

But it’s important to use humor cautiously, because it can also be offensive to others. Inappropriate humor can spark lawsuits and alienate people, leading to more stress instead of less.

Regardless of whether you rate yourself as a comedian, it is important to remember these tips if you decide to practice a joke on coworkers:

Talk about light subjects, not serious ones. Subjects such as death, physical attributes or disabilities, sex, race or politics can be painful and uncomfortable, so avoid them.

Formulate your message. Are you including a hidden message in your joke? Make sure you’re not using a joke to deliver your message, because you’re not comfortable saying it to the person directly.

When in doubt, don’t. Have you ever had to explain something was a joke? Then it wasn’t funny. If you’re concerned about being “politically correct,” then it’s best that you don’t deliver your wisecrack.

In a professional setting, using humor as a stress reliever is usually a good idea, but be sure to pay close attention to what you’re saying and ask yourself if it could offend someone or make them uncomfortable. If you find yourself dealing with someone who is using offensive humor, try to change the subject or use aggressive communication to stand up for yourself or the person targeted.

Everyone likes to have a good laugh, but not at the expense of others. When you choose to practice your standup comedy routine, make sure it’s humor that works. We all need to do our part to help relieve ongoing stress and make our work environment friendlier, healthier and safer.

For more health tips, visit Optima Health.

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