The office comedian is helping your team reach its targets

You might want to include some gags on your next meeting’s agenda

 
(Illustration by Kagan McLeod)
(Illustration by Kagan McLeod)

It might be time to add “chief comedy officer” to the company’s management team. According to a new study from VU University Amsterdam and the University of Nebraska, Omaha, cracking jokes in an office meeting could improve a team’s performance.

Researchers studied 54 organizational team meetings in two German industrial companies for behavioural patterns of humour and laughter. They found that when groups laughed regularly during meetings (think: a joke followed by laughter followed by another joke), their supervisors rated them better at hitting their targets. The study’s authors say the humorous banter prompted important problem-solving behaviours, such as colleagues asking more questions and talking about new ideas.

But, the study’s authors found that the impact of laughter on teams’ performances only occurred when the humour was interactive and engaging; in instances where the  humour was isolated—think somebody telling a joke and the room lapsing into awkward silence—there was no effect on performance. Bueller? Bueller?

The authors also noted that when team members had low job insecurity, humorous interactions were positively related to performance; however, in situations where job insecurity was high, humour had no impact on the team’s performance.

Key takeaway: start brushing up on those comedic skills; you might need them at your team’s next meeting.

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