Being part of an organization can be exciting. It’s a place to share ideas, collaborate, and feel as though you are making a difference. And, sometimes it can be stressful. Personality conflicts and miscommunication can contribute to stress in the workplace.
In some organizations, leaders often mistakenly believe there is no room for humor at work. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Humor, laughter, and improv skills help employees:
· Practice and perfect their listening skills
· Remove the walls of judgment
· Learn to accept each other’s differences
· Create a more understanding and cohesive environment
What a lighthearted and playful atmosphere can do for an organization:
While technology allows teams to stay connected, it is also often the cause of disconnection. Teams use tools like instant messaging, WebEx meetings, and email to stay in touch others across the office or around the globe.
But, fewer face-to-face interactions can have a significantly negative impact on a team. Improv skills can lead to reconnection. When conducting workshops with teams, improv is an easy way to demonstrate effective communication and the ramifications of miscommunication. Improv is also a fun way to practice the new skills.
Build Up Staff Morale and Increases Confidence
The general rules around improve include agreeing with one another, saying YES AND, and that there are NO mistakes only OPPORTUNITIES. These rules can have a positive impact on morale and employee confidence when used in the workplace. Improvisation teaches participants to be vulnerable, open, and real. Because there is no plan or script in improv, players rely on their own imagination and the trust they have for the other players to create a scene.
Team members can also learn how essential it is to be there—truly be there—for their “other players” or coworkers. By being present, they are building their trustworthiness. In addition to learning the art of improvisation, employees learn to trust themselves and their creativity, which builds confidence and self-assurance. They also experience the benefits of having strong listening skills, which are vital to effective communication and teamwork.
Diffuse Negative Attitudes
With a dose of healthy humor, team members can “find the funny” in the stressful moments and learn to laugh—with a giggle or a guffaw—at their gaffs. Most importantly, they will learn how to recalibrate their stressed out minds and bodies so that they can continue to move forward in a positive, cohesive, and productive way.
Laughter has been referred to as “the best medicine” and can be the catalyst for creating and maintaining a healthy and positive work environment.
Reduce Turnover and Increases Productivity
The art of play fosters creativity, helps reduce stress, and builds communication.
When there is humor (healthy humor) in the workplace, staff members, employees, and managers build rapport and connection among them.
Here’s the truth…when a work environment is stressful and absent of humor, employees’ morale decreases. How does that affect turnover? When people are miserable, they want to jump ship and find another job. This, in turn, affects a company’s expenses and bottom line. More money spent on turnover. And, before an employee gets to the point of leaving, if they are unhappy, they will do the minimum work required of them. They are no longer invested in that company. They are no longer doing their best work. This attitude can be contagious to the rest of the team or, at a minimum, reduce the team bond and morale of the whole.
As a result, productivity is decreased. Improvisation will not only be a fun experience but participants have the added benefit of gaining new skills and tools that can be applied to making their work environments and relationships more effective.
Positivity leads to productivity.
About the Author: Julie Ostrow
‘We Are The Positive Psychology People’