Happiness at work. Laughing and humour in organisations. That sound a bit pink and fluffy doesn’t it?
I’m at CIPD 14 listening to a session called The Science of Happiness. Again, we are talking about the impact of how you feel in the work place. But this isn’t about that engagement stuff. This is about how our feelings impact our brain, impact our abilities, impact our health, impact our levels of success, our flow, our confidence, our ability to cope.
Laughter and humour have several functions. They are a communication tool. They strengthen social interactions. They get the neuro transmitters in the brain fired up. They are a bonding mechanism.
When we feel positive and upbeat, we can cope with the stuff that life throws at us. When we feel good we can think well. On the converse, when we feel bad, are stressed, the brain does not function well, and we do not perform well.
When we reward and recognise people, all sorts of funky stuff happens in the brain. Which is my way of saying I couldn’t capture it all during the session. But this stuff makes us feel good. And when we feel good we do good work. The science behind it might be complex but the idea is fairly straightforward.
If we are happy we can control our thinking rather than have our thinking control us. We can break thought patterns. Stop creating the worst case scenario. Stop defaulting to the way we have always done stuff.
I get it. I like it. But I can’t help thinking that there will be plenty of non HR folk out there that would take some convincing. Some organisations where if you started to talk about the need for laughter and humour the joke might be on you. This is a challenge we need to think more about.
Peter Cheese said yesterday that the heart of HR was understanding human behaviour. I agree with him. It’s about how people feel. HR understands this, and we need to help our business leaders do the same.
Stephanie Davies leaves us with a thought at the close of the session. You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘ some people bring happiness when they enter the room, and some when they leave.’ You have a choice. Which one do you want to be?
And if you still need a little inspiration, watch this…….
Cartoon by Simon Heath.