Smiley Faces: Shared Laughter Creates Happier Workers
Researchers Nale Lehmann-Willenbrock and Joseph A. Allen have written in the Journal of Applied Psychology about their research into the effect of group humor on workers by studying the behavioral patterns of 54 real-world teams from two businesses. Humor and laughter were examined and each interaction was coded, based on recordings made at meetings. Performance ratings were collected immediately afterward and also several years later.
Results showed that levity can reduce body pain and stress and help with relaxation. Cognitively, it bolsters creativity, memory and problem-solving ability. Humor reduces anxiety, elevates mood and increases self-esteem, hope, optimism and energy. In terms of society, it attracts connections, promotes bonding and altruism and leads to happier partnerships.
The researchers also found, “At the team level, humor patterns [but not humor or laughter alone] positively related to team performance, both immediately and two years later.” The positive aftereffects of humor on team performance include question-asking, proposals of innovative ideas, new people speaking up and kudos given for jobs well done or problems solved.