There is little success where there is little laughter. – Andrew Carnegie
There are lots of studies available that prove laughter has significant health benefits. In 2009, the University of Maryland reported that laughter may help prevent against heart attacks in a study that revealed people with heart disease were 40 percent less likely to laugh in a variety of situations compared to people of the same age without heart disease.
There are also studies that show people are more creative about problem solving when they laugh and enjoy time together. Paul McGhee, PhD, wrote in his article Using Humor to Boost Creativity that: “There is even evidence that you can boost scores on a standardized test of creativity by exposing people to humor or other conditions which establish a ‘playful atmosphere.’ So there is every reason to expect that you can generate more creative problem solving among your employees by allowing employees to have a good laugh on the job.”
As a team, it is important to play because it is important to laugh.
As a leader, I have to fully acknowledge that members of our team work long and sometimes odd hours. Each morning, half of the team arrives around 7:00 am, well before our offices are officially open. On any given night, there will be team members working late into the evening on a particular job creation project, hosting out-of-town clients or attending meetings. I’m certain in whatever industry you work, you can probably relate.
For this reason, it’s important to create space where we can laugh together as a team. We need to clearly understand what drives each other and create a deeper bond away from the conference room table. It’s about creating alignment in our lives and spending time on play so that we can work better together when big events or difficult projects arise.
Our team recently spent an hour on a Friday playing kickball together at a local park. We came up with creative team names and nonsensical cheers. We wore team shirts that had nothing to do with work. That single hour of play, together as a team, created more synergy, change and communion than we could ever hope to achieve while wearing a suit and tie. Most importantly, we laughed. A lot.
What can you do in the next 45 days to give your team a laugh? It may mean all the difference in the world to your business.