In 1990 the World Health Organization declared depression to be world health burden number four and predicted it would be number two by 2020. The drug funding agency Pharmac says doctors wrote 1.2 million prescriptions in 2009 ( In New Zealand ). That’s 1:4 people being prescribed antidepressants.
In both developing and developed regions, depression is women's leading cause of disease burden. Depression is referred to as the modern plaque and affects peoples ability to perform across a wide section of activities of daily living. The stresses of daily living, including grief, low morale and poor self esteem affect decision making, concentration and productivity.
The practiced application of good humor in the workplace can aid in the reversal of this modern day malady and create a fun and productive environment. Humour in business is not about clowning. It is about demonstrating that you are a warm, responsive, intelligent and considerate person. Humour is a creative tool that sharpens the mind, engenders positive attitudes, fosters friendships, encourages mate ship, generates optimism, boosts enthusiasm, restores hope and is simply fun.
Humour takes a positive and a negative form. Being able to laugh at yourself enables you to feel good about yourself. Positive humour is constructive, appropriate, relevant and strengthens relationships, whereas negative humour is inappropriate, destroys and alienates.
In the world of comedy, humour is about creating maximum laughs per minute as a measure of success. In business being good humoured is about creating an open, positive, receptive and cheerful mood with successful communication the end product.
You can optimize this less formal communication by having fun, being responsive and in the moment. Use all these encounters to generate goodwill. If you made someone else’s day every day your business would grow exponentially. All you have to do is catch people doing something right and acknowledge it. Maintain this sort of environment and you would see improved and sustained bottom line results.
The first Humour in Business conference was convened in Australia in 2002, following a survey that revealed a FUN workplace would make employees more productive. The study by consulting company Customer Care Solutions in Sydney found that 81 per cent of people believed a fun work environment would make them more productive while 55 per cent said they would take less pay to have more fun at work. Ninety-three per cent of respondents said that laughing on the job helped to reduce work-related stress. The survey of 2,500 employees was released ahead of the “Humour Summit”—a conference which looked at the issue of fun in the workplace and its impact on a business’ bottom line.
Recent research done in Victoria University by Professor Janet Holmes and Maria Stubbe confirms that effective workplace communication has many facets and that humour along with small talk and repetition play an important part. They found that feelings of solidarity were fostered when workers contributed to office humour. People were considered to be part of the team and these workplaces tended to be happier . ( Full research results are available in their book , Holmes, Janet and Maria Stubbe 2003. Power and Politeness in the Workplace. Harlow Essex: Pearson Education.)
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