April is National Humor Month. In honor of getting your coworkers to crack a smile instead of a scowl, we’ve put together some straightforward tips to keep your workplace humor appropriate and appreciated.
Successful wisecracking depends on the workplace and its culture. The joke that gets a chuckle in a startup full of recent grads may not go over well in an pediatrician’s office where children and seasoned staff are present. Be professional and know your office environment, and you’re sure to make your coworkers smile.
Don’t spend too much time on practical jokes. Practical jokes can be the perfect relief for a workday slump, or they can be the ultimate workplace faux pas. Unless you own your own business, taking a lot of time on even a truly hilarious practical joke can be a distraction. Use your good judgement when it comes to wrapping a coworker’s desk in tinfoil while they’re away on vacation. However, as long as your supervisors aren’t giving you the evil eye, innocent pranks can lighten the office mood if executed appropriately. On that note...
Keep it appropriate. If you think a wisecrack might get a good laugh at your favorite watering hole, chances are it might not be the best joke for the workplace. Avoid making jokes that patronize superiors and important clients. If you truly need to vent, save your rant for after-work social gatherings.
Use humor in a positive way. Humor in the workplace should be used for good, and should never be mean-spirited. Use your wisecracking ways to praise people and and boost morale, rather than making fun of someone or singling them out.
Take part in the humor by not taking yourself too seriously. If you’re a manager or supervisor, your team will admire your humility and sense of humor if you’re willing to poke a little fun at yourself. As long as the office culture is generally respectful, making your team laugh is worth it.