Laughter in the workplace is a sign of… what?
As explained by the Vice-President of the European division of the company Twitter, laughter is a social signal, it is vitally important for people and it can be used to create a creative atmosphere and to unite the employees.
Perhaps after the economic crisis of 2008, many of us think that if people laugh in the office, it is not enough workload.
Discussions and conversations, which had just come to the desktop of colleagues, is now increasingly conducted through e-mail or instant messenger and live communication between employees seems to be needed.
But what if the laughter in the office was not saying that people have nothing to do? What if it creates the necessary atmosphere of cooperation and encourages creativity? Many years laughter has not received adequate attention, but now the specialists had started to come to this conclusion.
What is laughter? Over the last 20 years a huge work on clarifying this was done by American neuroscientist Robert Provine, now Professor of psychology at the University of Maryland.
He reminds us that laughter is sort of our call in the animal world. In his book “Laughter: a scientific investigation”, published in 2001, Professor writes: “Laughter is a vitally important social signal. Laughter always implies a relationship.”
Provine studied when we laugh, and came to the conclusion that we do so with a probability of 30 times higher when they are in the company of other people than when we are alone.
The key point of his book is: “We often miss the fact that the ability to laugh has evolved due to the effects that laughter has on others, and not due to the fact that it improves our mood or health.”
According to Provine, in the office, laughter often occurs during very ordinary dialogues.
For example, when someone says one of the trite phrases like: “we’ll see”, “I think I’m done”, “well, here it is.”
Perhaps you can give an example and others are quite innocent and even boring phrase, which made your office wince from the sudden laughter.
The meaning of such moments is not in the joke, and the emerging sense of unity with colleagues in the signal about easing the tense working atmosphere.