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Industry Insights

April Fools' Day reminds us to bring humor to the office

By ,
Nicole Rodeghiero of Accountemps.
Nicole Rodeghiero of Accountemps. - ()

The bad news: April Fools' Day lands on a Saturday. For those in an office setting, you'll need to wait until Monday morning to prank your officemates. The good news: Data show that having a good sense of humor can be beneficial.

According to Accountemps, 78 percent of chief financial officers who were interviewed said an employee’s sense of humor is at least somewhat important for fitting into the company’s culture, with 22 percent stating humor is very important.

Why is humor so important?

Humor can help professionals in a number of different ways, most notably in helping to build a rapport with fellow coworkers and to help alleviate stress in the office. Having a sense of humor at the office shows that you don’t take yourself too seriously, which in turn makes you more approachable to colleagues and management.

The downfall

While humor and having a few laughs in the office is by and large a good thing, there is a fine line that needs to be drawn in the sand. It is extremely important to not go over-the-top with inappropriate behavior at work. While people enjoy working with someone who has a good sense of humor, too much goofing around can be counterproductive. To be taken seriously, professionals must balance their desire to keep the mood light with the need to accomplish business objectives and maintain professionalism.

How to find the balance

If you are looking to lighten up the office a bit and share a much-needed laugh with colleagues, try following these tips:

  • Show your personality. When used appropriately, humor can help build rapport with colleagues. If you are interviewing for a new job, consider weaving in some wit to build chemistry with the hiring manager and show you are approachable. That is a trait of a good leader and can help alleviate any nerves associated with the job interview.
  • Know the time and audience. Every comedian knows timing is everything.While a chuckle or two can help diffuse stressful situations, cracking one-liners during a serious meeting is an unwelcome distraction.
  • Use the right medium. Be cautious when using humor in an email or instant message — it might fall flat or be misinterpreted because the recipient cannot see your face or hear the tone of your voice. 
  • Laugh with them not at them. Never use humor at the expense of others, and be mindful about sarcastic or demeaning comments that can be off-putting or offensive. Poking fun at yourself is safer and shows that you are self-aware and don’t take yourself too seriously.
  • Keep it G-rated. Steer clear of inappropriate or negative remarks that could make someone feel uncomfortable. If you’re unsure of how your joke may be received, keep it to yourself. 

While you might not get the satisfaction of bringing jokes and humor on April Fools’ Day this year, there are a number of ways to lighten the mood in the office. As the old saying goes, laughter is the best medicine! Just make sure you are following the appropriate protocol.

Nicole Rodeghiero is branch manager for Accountemps in Princeton.

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