I’m laughing at work! At the same time, I’m shaking my head and smiling because I’m sitting alone at my computer working on developing some maintenance plans for one of our customers. Strange as it might seem the laughter was brought on by a social media notification that today is the birthday of an old friend. Someone I used to work with, and thinking about this person I remembered all the laughs our group shared at work.
It was a different era, we truly were a team of people who really enjoyed working together and while as a team we worked together to continuously set one production record after another what I remember most is the laughter.
We laughed while working. We laughed at break and lunch. We laughed at each other, about the stories we told, a classic Saturday Night Live skit, the funny things our kids were doing, or someone’s great imitation of the boss. I remember laughing until my sides hurt and my cheeks were sore from smiling.
In all that laughter we shared our lives, and in doing so built strong relationships that have lasted decades. And now thanks to social media have reconnected and laugh once again about the fun we all had at work.
Laughter made the day go by quickly, it also sowed the seeds of teamwork because in all that laughter we found common interests; hunting, fishing, skiing, and golf. Friendships formed and the workplace reaped the benefits of a team that truly enjoyed working together.
Twenty-Five years later and working in the consulting world I see companies spending large piles of money trying to create work teams. They hire consultants to talk about things like trust and how you should treat those you work with like you would like to be treated. They might even spend a few days on a climbing wall or catch one another falling off a chair or table only to go back to work a day later to see the same folks eating lunch alone with buds in their ears and eyes on the cell phone.
It has been said that laughter has several positive effects on the human body, that it strengthens your immune system, reduces stress and muscle tension. That laughter is good for your heart and believe it or not, Doctors have noticed that patients who laugh recover quicker from serious illness.
I have my own opinion about the importance of laughter.
If you’re not laughing you’re not growing! If it’s been forever since you have heard the loud roar of laughter at your workplace something is wrong and that something needs to change.
If you want people to connect, encourage live face to face interaction and for God’s sake, let them laugh!
As always I’m interested in hearing your opinions and experiences as they relate to this article. Better yet share a work story that will make us all laugh!
(The picture attached to this post is of a part of our Polymer work group some 25 plus years after we all worked together. We worked hard and laughed even harder as we worked to continuously improve our plant.)