FOUR EASY WAYS TO
BUILD A BETTER WORKPLACE WITH HUMOR
Part of the Humor Hint Series
by Patt Schwab, Ph.D.
Download a printable version
is not God's way of punishing us for failing to
marry rich! We spend too much time at work to
ignore the potential for creating a positive
are some ideas that can build a more fun-loving,
up a Humor Bulletin Board.
Invite staff, clients, folks from other departments
to contribute to it. Change the cartoons
frequently. This keeps the board fresh and it also
diminishes the impact of the negative cartoon or
joke that inevitably gets posted.
Share the funny things that happen in the
sophisticated group with whom I consulted assured
me, "This is the corporate headquarters. Nothing
funny ever happens here." A few minutes of
questioning revealed an elaborate hoax in which
Wilber, a teddy bear mascot, had been stolen from
the accounting office. A ransom note was left
demanding that four dozen homemade cookies be
delivered to the men's room at a certain time and
day or "un-BEARable things will happen to
cookies were delivered and the bathroom elaborately
staked out. A variety of men, including the
oh-so-solemn CEO, used the facility under the
suspicious eyes of women trying to look like they
had a reason to loiter outside the executive
washroom. The bear, indeed, was returned, but no
one emerged with the cookies. The staff later
discovered that the bear napper had entered the
men's room and hidden the cookies in the room's
false ceiling, to be retrieved in safety at the end
of the day!
episode played out over a week and no one in the
adjoining offices knew it was happening! By not
including their neighbors in the fun, the
organization lost a chance to increase
interdepartmental communication and teamwork, and
maybe even solve the mystery!
Create Humorous Events.
Have an award ceremony for the best, "Sorry I'm
Late to Work but. . " excuse of the year, or to
celebrate getting the budget in or passing the
audit or presenting the annual report. Events can
be elaborate festivities or simply ringing a gong
or passing out candy when a production quota is
Change your problem customers from abusing to
Do you have a client who is condescending or
chronically late, or so out of it he thinks
soap-on-a-rope is jewelry? One company I work with
developed a dual file system. One file was titled
"Letters we sent" and another, "Letters we wanted
to send!" The group effort devoted to creating the
"Letter we wanted to send" often left them in a
good mood for weeks.
hospital changed the entire staff's approach to
difficult patients from avoiding them to seeking
them out simply by allowing the receptionist who
successfully handled the most difficult patient of
the week to go home early on Friday. Suddenly
difficult people were a desired commodity!
© 1995 Patt Schwab, Ph.D.
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