Humor: An Important Element in the Workplace

October 17, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. sermon [SUR-muh n] (n.) – a long speech about religion or morality
Example: The young boy fell asleep in the church while listening to the long sermon.
2. foster [FAW-ster, FOS-ter] (v.) – to help in the growth or promote the development of something
Example: The company decided to hold a team building activity to foster team work among employees.

3. core [kawr, kohr] (adj.) – the most basic or the most essential
Example: Integrity and professionalism are the company’s core values as it aims to take care of the company’s name.

4. parade [puh-REYD] (n.) – a celebration in which people march in line to showcase something
Example: The office held an annual parade of best employees to boost the people’s morale.

5. correlation [kawr-uh-LEY-shuh n, kor-] (n.) – a direct or indirect relationship between two or more things
Example: Upon analysis, the manager found that salary had a direct correlation with job satisfaction.


Read the text below.

Some business people claim that humor can become handy in making the workplace more fun, interactive, and successful in the long run.

According to Perry Noble, a pastor in a Southern Baptist Church, one can actually make people listen if he or she can make them laugh. He believes that people are more likely to listen to the sermon when they get comfortable from laughing.

Michael Kerr, author of the book "You Can't Be Serious! Putting Humor to Work," also believes that humor in the workplace fosters a good working environment and eventually leads to success.

Furthermore, at Zappos, an online shoe store company, humor ranked the third in the company's list of core values, which generally involves creating fun and a little weirdness.

At the Zappos call center, workers spend 80% of their day taking calls. On the other hand, they spend the remaining 20% participating at the office parades or making short films uploaded to YouTube.

This fun working environment gets things done more quickly, says Vanessa Lawson, a senior trainer at Zappos. She believes that a direct correlation between having fun at work and productivity exist. Moreover, she says that having a sense of humor has also made employees more likely to stay at the company and more likely to think of new ideas.

However, using humor in the work place still has some drawbacks. For one, it can cause inappropriate topics to some social settings. Humor can also cause trouble if used to belittle other people. Therefore, people should still be cautious in using humor in the workplace.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you approve of having some fun activities in the workplace? Why or why not?
·         What can offices do to make their workplace more fun? Can you give some examples?

Discussion B

·         Why do you think some people are afraid to make jokes or be funny? Please explain your answer.
·         How else can humor help a person succeed in life? Please explain your answers.


October 17, 2013