The Benefits of Humour at Workplace

The Benefits of Humour at Workplace

 

“Humour is the possibility of particular cognitive experiences to incite laughter and provide amusement.” – Wikipedia

Good humour, according to Grenville Kleiser, is a tonic for the mind and body. It is the best antidote for anxiety and depression. It is a business asset. It attracts and keeps friends. It lightens human burdens. It is the direct route to serenity and contentment.

Humour can be a strong and useful tool to get ahead in the workplace. However, when used incorrectly, humour can be perceived wrongly and cause damage. So, it is an important topic of study for proper understanding of leadership and communication in a working environment.

 

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As someone who uses a lot of humour, I am interested in what makes for an effective joke in various settings and what undermines my efforts. So, I found this research on how humour relates to status and competence really fascinating.

A good joke can go beyond simply increasing one’s capital, of course. Humour is one of the highest forms of human communication. It can serve to increase intimacy, show compassion and understanding, break tension, make the unspeakable speakable and generally bring people together in a way nothing else would with amusement.

Bitterly, Schweitzer and Brooks in their research paper “Risky Business: When Humour Increases and Decreases Status” which was published in 2017, created and explored experiments which examine the positive and negative impact of humor in business environments.

 

After the experiments, they were able to see how much of an impact, both successful and unsuccessful attempts at humour have on social capital. They sought to answer the following questions:

 

Hypothesis 1: The use of humour increases perceptions of confidence.

Hypothesis 2: The successful use of humour increases perceptions of competence.

Hypothesis 3: The successful use of humour increases status.

Hypothesis 4a: Perceptions of confidence mediate the relationship between the use of humour and status.

Hypothesis 4b: Perceptions of competence mediate the relationship between the use of humour and status.

Hypothesis 5: Appropriateness of the humour attempt will moderate the relationship between humour and competence.

Hypothesis 6: Laughter will moderate the relationship between humour and competence.

Here’s what was deduced: Firstly, when someone tells a joke and it works (it is funny and appropriate), the joke teller is seen as having higher confidence, competence and status. In addition, people like these are more likely to be considered for leadership positions. The overall positive effect of humour in the workplace would be strong if people laughed at the joke. After all, Strean (2009), pointed out that laughter makes us feel good and it is great for overall health.

Furthermore, the effect of successful humour on status was so strong that even recalling a time when co-worker told a funny joke or did something funny increased the perceived status of that co-worker.

However, humour is risky. When jokes work, it’s great for our social capital – however, when they flop, it’s bad. The researchers found that telling an inappropriate joke leads to lower perceived competence and decrease in status. However, making an inappropriate joke still leads to higher perceived confidence, even with lower status. And if the inappropriate joke makes people laugh, the damage done becomes minimal.

There are many ways humour can be effective with human beings:

 

Communication

Humour gets people to listen: Regular use of appropriate humour makes people more eager to read and hear what you have to say. Humour increases persuasion. Humour can aid convincing especially when messages are being passed across to people with different opinion to the speaker’s because the humour diverts their attention from immediately creating counter arguments, as they don’t feel like the message is being crammed down their throats.

Humour aids in learning: The use of humour as an academic tool has been proven to ease classroom anxiety, create a more encouraging atmosphere, as well as aid the learning process. Humour increases the likability of the speaker. A proper use of humour will ensure a favorable approach towards the speaker.

 

Relationships

Humour heightens the sense of shared happiness: Humor releases endorphins, the “feel-good” chemicals in our body, that makes us feel a natural high while being with one another. 

Humour reduces status differentials: Humour can help in the reduction of the social distance between employer and employees. Fun team building or group activities are a great way to get colleagues to socialise and have great laughs together.

Humour diffuses conflict: Humour has long been seen as the great equalizer, a way to facilitate conversation and bridge differences. Actually, humour has been identified as a key factor in peacebuilding and international mediation.

Humour builds trust: Humour could bring about social benefits which include bringing about togetherness, reduction of status differentials, conflict diffusion, team and trust building among diverse groups.

 

Problem Solving

Humour enhances overall brainpower: A dose of humour sets-free the chemical serotonin in human brain, aids focus, enhance objectivity and improves overall brain ability.

Humour improves decision-making: Positive moods bring about more flexible decision-making and wider search behavior and greater analytic precision.

Humour increases the probability of new ideas being accepted: Unconventional interactions can reduce the barrier for people to posit novel things.

Humour triggers new connections: Humour arouses the exact hemisphere of the brain, which subsequently sets off divergent, creative thinking which allows individuals to see broader applications, novel connections, and otherwise elusive relationships.

Humour enhances ability to solve problems: Studies have proved that merely seeing comedy films can improve creative problem solving skills. Corporate teambuilding activities are great ways to encourage natural humour and problem-solving between teammates.

 

Productivity

 

Humor provides motivation: The use of humour in organizations has been aligned with improving morale among workers, creating a lively and positive organizational culture and in the process increasing motivation.

Humour reduces absenteeism: Humour tends to enhance work performance, satisfaction, team solidity, health, effectiveness, as well as minimized burnout and work withdrawal.

Humour aids employee engagement: Managers who lead with reasonable amount of humour benefit from higher levels of employee engagement and success all round.

Humour improves productivity: In one study of more than 2,500 employees, 81 percent agreed to the fact that working in a fun environment would enhance their productivity.

 

 

LEADERSHIP

 

Humour enhances perceived leadership skills: Leaders, who lead with humour, especially in stressful or perceived one-down positions are seen as being on top of things, being in charge and in control, whether they are in fact or not.

Humour open up opportunities: Research has shown that, managers, who showcases good sense of humour are considered for more opportunities in organizations than those without a sense of humour.

Humour builds credibility: Humour users are seen as more credible and more competent.

Humour increases profit: Organization humour has been proven to go hand in hand with successful leadership, increase in profit and work compliance, a successful business culture, message and goal clarity in managerial presentations, improvement in group problem-solving, and with reduced emotional stress due to threats and role conflict at work.

 

There you have it! All the above are a couple of benefits of humour at work. The little time you put aside for humour may be what you need to cool off the steam and increase office productivity.

 

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Strategies to Improve Team Collaboration

Strategies to Improve Team Collaboration

In a corporate environment, there are many different departments that come together to form a well-functioning organisation. Everyone has a part to play to ensure the success of the team. Everyone is unique in their own ways so when they come together in their strengths, they are able to produce great results and ideas.

So it is no surprise that active team collaboration plays an essential part in the successes of an organisation. Leaders and team members alike should constantly strive to improve the quality of team collaboration and work better with their colleagues.

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11 Reasons That Hinder Effective Team Collaboration

11 Reasons That Hinder Effective Team Collaboration

Collaboration is a working practice whereby people cooperate to a typical reason to accomplish business advantage. It empowers people to cooperate and accomplish a common team goal. 

In our current day and age, it is essential to collaborate in order to meet the ever increasing standards of organisational performance and goals. An organisation with effective teambuilding collaboration can be propelled to great heights. However, many corporate teams are still operating below their true potential, due to lack of collaboration.

It is important for corporate teams to set aside time to fully evaluate their teams and to identify and solve any standing issues. Thus, our need to understand some of the reasons as  to why corporate teams struggle to collaborate effectively as stated below: 

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A Step-by-step Guide to Planning your Corporate Team Building Activity

Corporate Team Building Activity

Presented with choices of many different varieties of corporate team building activity, vendors, consultants and an allocated budget.  How does a Corporate Organiser (a manager from a company in any given country) tasked to arrange a quarterly or yearly team building event for his or her colleagues, make a strategic and  informed decision on which to finally choose in that particular geographic location?

Here is a list of questions that can be served as a checklist before the Corporate Organiser commits to a teambuilding Vendor or Activity.

Questions to ask before Choosing Corporate Team Building Activity

1) Scenario – What are the corporate changes and challenges happening right now in my company? Are there major change of roles, headcount, etc.? If so, it will be great to find activities that directly address the current need or challenge facing the team.

Corporate Team building Activity Goal

2) Goal – What is the ultimate goal for my team? What are the key impacts and lesson takeaways? These are some corporate goals to consider: 

    1. Recast a new corporate common vision and mission
    2. Create a unique corporate identity
    3. Establish team unity and mutual appreciation
    4. Increase individual skill competencies
    5. Instill culture of trust, openness and honesty
    6. Raise the level of leadership/co-leadership
    7. New leader assimilation
    8. Develop Leadership Agility and resilience to Change
    9. Unleash creativity in your workplace
    10. Train resilience and commitment to the team
    11. Boost team collaboration 

3) Impact & Benefits – What’s in it for me, them, us? How does it benefit the individual, team and organisation? Do we learn a new tangible skill or get to accomplish something we have never done before? Do we learn new perspectives? If so, it will be great to be able to pick up a new skill or gain a new perspectives that can be applied back at work. 

4) Publicity for Your Corporate Team Building Activity – Are there any promotional brochures or videos of the program? What do others (including those from other departments) have to say about their previous experience owith the teambuilding vendor and program? You might want to research on the testimonials and ask for referral contacts from past teambuilding corporate organisers. Get on the company’s social media page to find out, paying careful attention to the unmoderated comments. 

5) Vendor Track Record – How many times have this activity been conducted? How many participants have gone through this program? Is there a proven track record? It is definitely reassuring to know that our teams are not taken in as ‘guinea pigs’ for new event tryout sessions. Teams love to be guided by patient and experienced event organisers and facilitators. 

Has the Vendor won any human resource or highly recognised awards such as these

 6) Reputation – Check on Popular Blog sites for recommendations e.g. Singapore

    1. http://www.visitsingapore.com/mice/en/plan-your-event/experience-singapore.html
    2. https://www.citynomads.com/top-10-corporate-bonding-activities-in-singapore/
    3. http://thepantry.boxgreen.co/10-unique-corporate-team-building-ideas-build-better-team/
    4. https://www.aspirantsg.com/8-must-dos-for-your-team-building-activities-in-singapore/

7) Company age – When was this company incorporated? You want to engage a company with more experience in years, lowering the risk of event hiccups. But yet again, a new company could mean totally fresh new event ideas.

8) Team age range – What is the age range of everyone in the team? It will be great to find activities that suits and satisfies all possible age groups. 

9) Facilitators – Are the facilitators well-trained and professional in delivering the program? This is so important to the quality that team participants are receiving. Facilitators account for 80% success of the program. Read the testimonial sections of their websites.  

10) Novelty – #1 Novelty (meaning original, unusual) in terms of the unique teambuilding activity. Is this a fresh new experience for everyone in the team? Will they experience a breakthrough together? If so, it will be great if majority has not experienced the team activity, so that more of them can step out of their comfort zones together. #1 Novelty in terms of the uniqueness of the physical location. Countries such as the United States, Australia, Israel for example are potentially great locations for the great and wild outdoors. Countries such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand may be more well known for the culinary and city activities. 

11) Location for Corporate Team Building Activity – Is this location central for all? Is it accessible by public transport? Are there possible food and beverage places nearby that the participants can go to before or after the activity? Locations of convenience many times, have a upper hand. Has this location been used previously? Some would prefer totally new locations. 

12) Safety – What are the fire safety measures that the company adheres to? Does the vendor take effort to ensure safety for all their participants? What are the safety guidelines for this program? Where is the assembly point in case of fire? Floor plans, video and maps are great aids to reinforce this safety guidelines. It is a great practice to ensure zero accidents and great safety, for the enjoyment and sweet memory of the event day.

13) Employee Engagement – Employee engagement is super important. No one likes boring stuff. Will the program be fully engaging, interactive for all my team members? How much potential collaboration can there be in this program? Is there something for everyone to enjoy or learn? It is important to find an activity that gets everyone fully engaged, regardless of their age, natural abilities and preferences. 

14) Creative Customisation – Can I customise this program further? Great programs for example, allow for collaboration, competition or a combination of both. 

15) Venue for Corporate Team Building Activity – Must this program be conducted in house or possibly at an offsite location? Is the venue comfortable for all if there is maximum attendance? Most teambuilding venues have a certain advantage such as nearby restaurants, walking distance to public transport or, just specially catered for loud indoor activities etc. 

16) Meetup Discussion – Can we have a discussion with Teambuilding Vendor at the office? This usually happens when the corporate group that is targeted for teambuilding is 50pax and above. We walk through detailed program flow, safety aspects and objectives of the event day etc. 

17) Food & Beverage for Team Building Activity – Are there any Food & Beverage restrictions at the chosen venue? What are the catering choices? In Singapore, it’s a well-known fact that people get to eat good food at almost every corner of this small island. 

18) Duration – What’s the duration of the whole program? Is there flexibility in the start and end timing of the program? Most corporate groups choose the afternoon timing for their teambuilding sessions. Rare but some would do it early morning or in the evening, after working hours. 

19) Preparation – How early can I be there at the event? How early does my team need to prepare to be present? When latest must I make a booking for this event? Wise move to prepare all that’s to be prepared way before the event date. The earlier the necessary bookings confirmed, the better. 

20) Re check – Can we do a personal re check just to check on all aspects of the program flow and venue status? Normally this happens when corporate organisers are more or less firm on a event. When can I recce and meetup with a representative from the team building company?

Does the vendor run public showcases or invite organisers like myself to sit in an event just to evaluate it as an observer? Corporate organisers tend to recheck the venue to ascertain space needs, double check on safety standards, report on nearest conveniences, carpark etc.

21) Atmosphere – What’s the vibes do I get when I see this location? Look for inspiring spaces.  

Corporate Team building Activity

22) Budget for Corporate Team Building Activity – What is the total allocated budget for the different items of the event day? Most corporate organisers have the best possible decision based on venue, transportation (for big groups), facilitation, equipment and Food & Beverage etc.

23) Program Flow of Corporate Team Building Activity- What is the entire program-timeline flow? It is great to have a transparent program timeline that Corporate Organiser and Teambuilding Vendor can agree with. Customisation according to corporate needs may affect the teambuilding program energy flow. It’s best to have common understanding, moving forward to event day.  

24) Setting – Competitive or Collaborative? Sales teams for example, tend to like to go competitive. Most teams would usually go for Collaborative. Indoor or Outdoor? It really depends on the overall preferences of the group and feedback from previous teambuilding experiences. 

25) Equipment – Are the teambuilding equipment safe for all? Are there enough equipment for all? Are Presentation equipment such as projector, projector screen, flipcharts readily available? These equipment are standard equipment used to facilitate presentations, boss speeches and sharings. 

26) Surprise – Should we inform all participants what we are about to do? Many choose to keep mum about the whole team building activity until the point of commencement of the program. 

27) Media For Corporate Team building Activity- Does the vendor provide photos and videos of the event? Media is essential as companies would like to keep sweet memories of the event date. These media also serve as proof that the team did undertake the event. Also, they serve as collateral for great internal website or newsletter posts, just to journal the milestones and keep track of the progress of the team. 

28) Debrief – Does the vendor do lesson pointers on how the teambuilding pointers actually apply back to business organisation? This is the clear difference between teambonding just for fun and relaxation, compared to team building where emphasis are on the clear lesson objectives that are takeaways from the activity. 

29) Scheduling – Are all participants local, overseas or mixed? It will be great to arrive at a opportune date and time that all are able to commit to. 

30) Quotation Proposals – What are all the most options available out there that is most suitable for our team? Depending on the advanced time and agenda given, corporate organisers get to narrow down from maybe top 5 to top 3 activities before finally deciding. 

31) Booking Time  –  How early do we have to book the activity? Is there an option to postpone or change timings last-minute? 

32) Price & Payment mode – Is the cost of the program per pax, within my budget? What is the payment mode and payment terms? Is there a booking fee? Are there extra charges for the use of presentation equipment? What is the breakdown of the whole entire teambuilding charge? What is the minimum cost regardless of the actual attendance or absenteeism? 

33) Buy-in – Is there a general buy-in from your bosses? The final hurdle really has to be this. Any activity is good to run, as long as immediate superior checks through all event details and agrees to it. 

After creating this list, I am so glad Team Music is on the side of Teambuilding Vendors, ready to serve. To researching, note-taking corporate organisers out there, you guys are professional jugglers and power champions. And we look forward to meeting you very soon 🙂

 

 

 

Training Agility as part of your Corporate Learning and Development Program

Training Agility as part of your Corporate Learning and Development Program

 

Agility is currently a commonly discussed topic since it tends to the most essential issue in business – moving quick, reacting to client’s needs, and adjusting to changes in your own particular market.  

Innovation has changed almost every industry, driving a need to wind up agility in professions such as retail, healthcare and many others. Organisations now need to learn, re-learn and adapt fast to business climate and leadership changes. The need for change management is at an all-time high. 

After all, agile organisations perform their best by adapting to ever evolving business conditions. So how do you jump-start and maintain corporate agility? 

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