Selasa, 27 Juli 2010

Laugh Your Way to a Happier Workplace

Laughter is contagious, so why not infect your whole organization?
by Joanna Boydak, LiveCareer

Recent studies reveal that laughter can benefit your health and your job performance: it boosts your immune system and increases blood flow to promote alertness and relieve stress and tension (for up to 45 minutes after you crack up). Ten minutes of laughter can also burn up to 50 calories, so you can even work off those cookies you succumbed to in the break room! And laughter has social benefits too: increased communication, enhanced teamwork, group bonding, and conflict diffusion.

Laughter in the workplace
Introducing fun into the workplace isn't entirely new. Southwest Airlines' president Herb Kelleher is known for his light-hearted approach to business, with stunts like settling a legal dispute with a public arm-wrestling match (which he won) or going to work on a random day dressed up as Elvis. And Ben and Jerry's has a Joy Gang, a group of self-selected employees who encourage morale-building activities like performing humorous skits and preparing themed staff meals.

Even if your company doesn't have a Joy Gang, you can still have fun at work, laugh more, and really love your job. Here's how:

1. Offer a Laughter Yoga class. Sounds unconventional, but Dr. Madam Kataria's Laughter Yoga is a hot new trend, integrating unconditional laughter with yoga breathing. Since the body can't differentiate between real and simulated laughing, you get the same psychological and physiological benefits. Many companies are taking advantage of the more than 6,000 social laughter clubs in over 60 countries.

2. Add humor to office communications. Introduce cartoons, news clippings, photos, and appropriate jokes into office memos or emails. Start every meeting with a joke or funny story about something that recently happened at work.

3. Start fun office traditions. Start meetings with an ice breaker, taking turns to come up with a fun activity. For example, everyone could anonymously write their one "guilty pleasure" on an index card, and then the team could try to match each guilty pleasure to the "guilty" party.

If you run your own company, you can introduce fun work customs and create a pleasurable work environment.

4. Inject humor into lunch hour. Invite a stand-up comic to come into the office to relieve some stress--new comedians need to practice their material, so you can often make inexpensive arrangements for one to come in and lighten up the mood.

5. Laugh at yourself and (gently!) at others. Letting your coworkers know you don't take yourself too seriously promotes a comfortable work environment that can lead to greater productivity.

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