Humor in the Workplace

Goodwill and easy rapport among colleagues - that's camaraderie. Do you experience it at work?

We believe the strongest bonds of camaraderie come from three simple practices:

  • Acknowledge each other
  • Acknowledge each other's work
  • Say "thank you"

Taking a closer look, there are several more factors. To build camaraderie, it's important to have:

  • A sense of belonging where you work
  • Acceptance for who you are
  • Inclusion - "Make everyone an insider"
  • Occasional fun events, planned to meet diverse interests
  • Clear messages stating that all are welcome
  • Understanding for those who don't choose to participate
  • Good humor

Camaraderie tools

Some very creative examples of camaraderie-building events already exist on campus. Here are a few ideas:

Special events

  • A kite-flying day
  • A pre-game parking lot tailgate party
  • A picnic

Ongoing activities

  • A quilting group
  • A choral group
  • Team sports

Community involvement

  • Habitat for Humanity
  • High school mentoring program
  • Adopt-a-family

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More ideas

  • Award department "trophies," serious or funny
  • On-line trivia contests
  • Weight-loss contests
  • Fitness competitions

Humor

Laughter - it's about the most effective way there is to relieve group tension. Humor is a free, natural tension-reliever. Ideas for humor in the workplace abound. Check some of these resources, and choose something to implement where you work:

  • Look up "humor at work" on the web, and find ways to lighten up your work and your workplace. Here are some of our favorites:
    • The Humor Project
    • Humor University
    • "I Think, Therefore I Laugh"
    • Humor at Work: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Frying
  • Here's a reading list from the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor:
    • Barreca, Regina. They Used to Call Me Snow White . . . But I Drifted: Women's Strategic Use of Humor. New York, NY: Viking-Penguin, 1991.
    • Blumenfeld, E., & Alpern, L. Humor at Work. Atlanta: Peachtree Publishers, 1994.
    • Kushner, Malcolm. The Light Touch. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 1990.
    • Morreall, John. Humor Works. Amherst, MA: HRD Press, Inc., 1997.
    • Paulson, Terry. Making Humor Work. Los Altos, CA: Crisp Publishing, 1989.
    • Weinstein, Matt. Managing to Have Fun. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, 1997.

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