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5 reasons why humor is an asset at the office

Laughter is the best medicine – even at the office. Humor in the office can ease the strangeness of an awkward moment or relieve tension during a high-stress workday. Thanks to the many ways humor can be used to calm and unite a group, it’s an incredible asset in professional environments. Breaking down the pretenses of an office setting and finding genuine forms of sharing and communication leads to a richer overall work environment for all.


1. Humor can be used strategically to ease tension at the office

Disagreements can break down communication in a work setting leading to inefficiency, gridlock and negativity. Humor can be a strategic way to clear any bad energy, lift your coworker’s spirits and get everyone back on the same team. Sometimes, you just have to laugh it off.

“If you’re too busy to laugh, you are too busy.” -Proverb


2. Laughter relieves stress

Office stress can get to any of us, even in more relaxed offices. It can cause health problems, lead to bad habits and ultimately be very discouraging. To relieve some of this excess stress, find different ways to laugh during the workday with your colleagues. Whether it’s retelling a funny moment or just engaging with your colleagues in a playful way, if you can keep things light, the stressful moments will be easier to deal with.


humor in the office


3. Humor helps you make friends

The funny one at the office is never looking for a companion – just consider Jim Halpert of The Office. In general, people love to laugh. If you can make people laugh, you’ll always find someone at work to share with.

“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” -Victor Borge


4. Humor can cross cultures

Despite the fact that comedy can be quite culturally specific at times, there’s still an undeniable universality about humor and laughter. No matter our position in life or where we come from, we all love to laugh. Finding humor, even if it comes in observational chuckles, can improve your ability to share across cultures and lead to a stronger bond among colleagues.


humor in the office


“Humor is the great equalizer. It’s a great way to deal with difficult and taboo subjects.” -Kelly Leonard, executive VP at The Second City


5. Humor is a wonderful equalizer

Laughter helps break down all the different defenses we carry around with us day-to-day. Getting a crowd to laugh and find some common ground sets the stage for more honest communication and allows everyone to share an emotionally honest moment.



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Photo 1. based on _MG_0678, by Masa Israel Journey, CC-by-ND 2.0

Photo 2. based on Diana Eng, Fairytale Fashion / Eyebeam Open Studios: Fall 2009 / 20091023.10D.55465.P1.L1.SQ.BW / SML, by See-ming Lee, CC-by-SA 2.0

Photo 3. based on Nice dome!, by Scott Hughes, CC-by-SA 2.0

Photos and blog by Elizabeth Trovall

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The International Internships Blog is a collaboration by The Intern Group staff, alumni and current participants to give you career advice & tips, program information, & so much more!