Keeping the Laughter Going in Your Business Environment

Humor or comedy is the general tendency of situations to elicit amused reactions and offer amusing entertainment. Humor is a natural and healthy response to stressful situations or circumstances that are experienced in the course of our daily lives. The word derives from the ancient Greek medicine, which believed that the condition of the fluids in the body, called humours, influenced human emotion and health. It was thought that a mixture of wine and herbs could alter the humours and create the right state of humour. This approach later came into contact with other cultures and was subsequently identified as the art of humour.


Most people, when they sense that someone else is being funny, will try to join in, but an understanding of what is funny and what is not can go a long way in reducing offensive behaviour, even when it is not directed at anyone in particular. Incongruities can arise any time, and any situation. While it may be tempting to take offence at something that is repeated by someone else, it is important not to take offence at the mere observation. If someone comments on your outfit, whether it is in a negative light or a positive light, but fails to take offence at the observation, you have crossed the line. The observation can be dismissed as another example of incongruity, where there is no direct meaning in the context of the situation, but rather is perceived as having a meaning that is different.

A few good examples of something funny can be found in everyday life. For instance, if a friend told you that he/she wished that all children were alike, you would probably laugh at the obvious observation. However, if you were told that this statement implied that all children have the same characteristics, you might become upset and even hurt the feelings of the person who said this. While you cannot change the individuals or the situations that lead to these observations, the key here is to understand that there is a difference between appreciation or sharing of a characteristic and criticism. You may find that you are being criticized for your behaviour in an unwarranted manner, but you do not necessarily take offence at the comment. This type of humour is appreciated by everyone, but is not taken seriously enough as an attack or offence.

Funny jokes are considered to be the last resort of those who feel they are being belittled or ridiculed. It is considered an admission of frustration and often a cry for help from someone who believes they have been humiliated or made fun of in an unfair way. The most serious and problematic forms of humour are the ones that take offence and express hatred. The use of humour for this purpose is most certainly frowned upon in the workplace and can result in disciplinary actions. For this reason many companies have strict guidelines in place to prevent this type of humour from taking place.

This does not mean that all forms of humour are bad. The important thing to remember is that humour can be used to express appreciation or relief when things are going wrong. Even when using humour to make light of another person’s misfortune, it is important to first express thanks to the situation rather than taking advantage of the situation. Using humour to make people laugh and then going on to explain how they can rectify the situation is a much better approach. This makes things funny and helps to build a feeling of comfort and support around an issue.

In order to keep the business environment healthy and enjoyable, it is important to have a healthy sense of humour. Keeping the atmosphere light and relaxed, is one of the keys to maintaining a healthy business environment and having a healthy and positive attitude. Humour can be infectious and bring out the best qualities in people, as well as inhibiting the worst ones. There is something funny about the human condition and even if you do not understand what is making you feel funny, the truth is that other people probably do. Asking your colleagues, friends and family members about what makes them laugh and making yourself laugh can also be a great way to boost your own self-esteem.