HR Strange But True!
April 01, 2010

A ventriloquist/clown/humor consultant/motivational speaker is encouraging employers to participate in Laugh at Work Week to bring more laughter to the workplace. Given the floundering economy, mass layoffs, and pay freezes of the last two years, we wonder whether gallows humor counts.

Randall Munson claims credit for launching Laugh at Work Week, which begins on April Fools’ Day and ends April 7.

Munson says many companies already encourage fun and laughter at work. Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is well known for its efforts to bring fun into the workplace.

He argues that laughter and humor improve productivity, creativity, teamwork, communication, job satisfaction, and retention. Obviously, appropriate humor is the key here. Many an employee lawsuit started with a “joke” by a co-worker or supervisor.

Our research into Laugh at Work Week brought us to some interesting places. For example, we found “Laughter Yoga for the Business World.” They even offer laughter yoga training for HR.

It seems some workers are already trying to get a laugh on April Fools’ Day. A survey by CareerBuilder found that about one-third of employees have initiated or been a target of a workplace prank. The survey has been conducted over several years. In some of those years, the examples of the most memorable pranks seemed rather mean and possibly illegal. For example, in 2008, one respondent said he/she called the electric company, used a co-worker's name (and personal information), and said he was moving so the electricity got turned off at the co-worker's house. (see article below for the 2010 results).

We hope your employees decide on a gentler prank. We know someone who put a colleague’s favorite tchochke in Jell-o, an idea she got from The Office. Another person switched the letters on a co-worker’s keyboard.

Sources: Laugh at Work Week and Laughter Yoga

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