An April Fools’ Day Guide to Office Humor

Think there’s no room for humor at work? Think again. Levity at work is priceless – and not just on April Fools’ Day. In fact, an Accountemps survey found that 79 percent of CFOs said that a sense of humor played a large part in whether an employee fit into the office culture.

Of course, there’s a time for financial trend analysis and a time for play, so read on to learn more about the benefits of humor in the workplace and the appropriate forms it should take.

Laugh at yourself.

Have you ever presented a budget only to find that you’ve suddenly lost all command of your native language? The pressure and excitement of presenting something you’ve worked hard on can cause your brain and tongue to fall out of sync. Don’t be self-conscious. Laugh at yourself. A little self-deprecating humor can break the tension and give you a moment to recover your train of thought. 

Laugh with coworkers, not at them.

Say you and your teammates are putting your heads together, reviewing financial data, and you notice an oversight on their part. Of course, you need to point it out. Humor can help lighten the criticism. Relate a funny story about a similar mistake you made in the past, then laugh about it. You address the issue and relate to your colleagues by acknowledging that it happens to everyone. No one likes to be the butt of a joke, so use humor in the workplace to strengthen your bond with colleagues, not antagonize them.

Add some thunder to brainstorming sessions.

Humor at work can help generate new ideas. Business author and humor advocate Michael Kerr agrees, “Humor is a key ingredient in creative thinking. It helps people play with ideas, lower their internal critic and see things in new ways.” Infuse your conference room with some humor and watch those synapses snap into problem-solving mode.

Boost morale and productivity.

When you work with a team you enjoy, you’re bound to be more eager to satisfy. In turn, you’re more productive. Likewise, if you notice colleagues are distracted or down, you’re more apt to address the matter, rather than walk past it. A little humor at work can show coworkers you think of them as more than number-crunching robots. Just having someone cheer them up can boost morale and raise their productivity.

Remember to be office-appropriate.

While office humor can bring colleagues together, don’t forget you are at work and that etiquette matters. Skip the off-color jokes and keep it clean. A call from HR about inappropriate humor in the workplace is no laughing matter.

Show your workplace that accountants and financial professionals have a sense of humor, too.

Do you have a good (clean) accounting joke? Share it along with your own office humor tips in the comments.