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Why It’s Still OK to Joke Around at Work

Dig Insights, with help from online panel provider Dynata, conducted an online survey among over 2,000 full-time employed Canadians and Americans (n=1,000 per country)  in order to understand how they feel about the state of humour in the workplace.

What we found

Have you stopped joking at work for fear of crossing the line between what is and what isn’t acceptable? If you wish everyone would stop taking things so seriously and just have a good laugh… good news, you are part of the majority! More than half agreed that “I wish people would laugh more at my workplace”.

To get a preview of the Canadian survey results, click on the button below to download our free infographic:

Other topics covered in the study include: 

  • How people rate their own sense of humour
  • Humour types and how people use humour
  • The relationship between humour and workplace satisfaction
  • Taboo subjects including sex, gender and religion
  • Key differences by gender, age and ethnicity will all be explored. Plus, we will reveal who thinks they are funnier, Canadians or Americans

Overall, things probably aren’t as bad as you thought, and the odds are your co-workers feel the same way. Our data suggests that if you aren’t using ‘humour’ to cover up for harassing, sexist, or racist behaviour then you likely have nothing to fear.

So, relax and enjoy a few laughs, everyone will be happier, and more productive if you do!

My big call-to-action

 (An excerpt from Why We Need to Bring Humour Back to The Workplace)

We all need to ‘lighten-up’ a little bit and not take ourselves so seriously. It’s ok to laugh at ourselves and to be ‘a little silly’ as long as it isn’t hurting anyone. Leo Rosten said: “Humour is the affectionate communication of insight.”

I agree, I believe ‘silly’ is often a powerful way to find new perspectives and insights. In-fact, writing a good joke is a lot like finding a good insight, it requires looking at things a little differently. When used properly, a sense of humour can be a powerful motivator. Richard Branson once said: “If you are a small company taking on a big company, you need to have a sense of humor.” That’s directly from the rebel billionaire himself!

For those of you who are still skeptical that humour is worth the risk and that silly and insightful are truly related, I will remind you that Maya Angelou said: “ I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t laugh.” I hear ya Maya, and ditto.

About the author

Ian Ash is Co-Founder of Dig Insights, a fast-growing market research and data science company based in Toronto, Ontario. Ian is host of the Funny Suits You Podcast available through iTunes. His article titled “Why We Need to Bring Humour Back to The Workplace” posted May 31, 2019 on LinkedIn has received almost 80,000 likes to date. 

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