This Sunday is World Laughter Day; it takes place on the first Sunday of May every year. The first celebration was on May 10, 1998 in India and was arranged by Dr Madan Kataria, founder of the worldwide Laughter Yoga movement. The day is now celebrated worldwide.

Today’s highly charged environment; politically, economically, socially, not to mention growing political correctness, could lead us to think that life is no laughing matter, but the flip side is that laughter is the perfect, and some would argue essential antidote to the stresses of daily life.

“He who laughs last, thinks slowest.” — Anonymous

The above quote is worthy of a good LOL, but it also speaks volumes about laughter and the workplace. 

Answer honestly: how happy and productive do you feel at work during dreadful days devoid of laughter? An inability to laugh at work can make the daily grind at best dull, at worst depressing. Many experts agree that laughter isn’t merely an escape, but an asset that will help you be more productive.

In Psychology Today, Mark Leary, PhD explains how over thousands of years, we have shifted from focusing on the present to obsessing about the future. We think so much about, “what if”, that we don’t realise the negative toll of letting our worries wander. He explains, ‘I first became interested in the impact of worry and stress in the workplace when my father had a quadruple bypass at the age of 45. Despite his best efforts, I saw how the stress of his job and having a bad boss impacted his life. Perhaps that’s what led to my passion for helping people realise they have the power to worry less and enjoy more’.

The Business Case for Laughing 

We know from Gallup that when people focus on their strengths, engagement increases. What’s even more impactful is the relationship Fabio Sala noted in Harvard Business Review between executives who used humour in the workplace and the bonuses they received. The ‘funnier’ an executive was, the higher the bonus. An incentive surely to not only allow humour in the workplace but to create a climate where enjoyment and humour are encouraged?

There are clear benefits of humour in the workplace: less burnout, higher probability of learning, more collaboration, faster recovery from stressful situations and an increase in overall work effectiveness. 

Deciding if and when to introduce humour in customer service requires skill, and it goes without saying that consistently bad service won’t merit a flippant approach with an irate consumer, but a smile down the phone or a funny tweet can go a long way to brightening up someone’s day.

One reason humour is so beneficial is because you can’t experience two emotions at once. If you are laughing or feeling enjoyment, you can’t be feeling pressured or stressed. It’s like a mini vacation. That mini vacation resets our emotional battery, and we all know how important it is to keep our batteries charged.

We’ll certainly all be laughing in November when the renowned Sir Lenny Henry joins us, not only as our host presenting deserving winners with their trophies at CCA Excellence Awards & Gala Dinner, but also offering his unique views and wit in a ‘not to be missed’ Q&A session at the Annual Convention.

But we don’t need to restrict laugher to World Laughter Day. In the words of Charlie Chaplin, ‘A day without laughter is a wasted day’.

Have a fun weekend!