The Productivity Box: The Benefits of Laughter at Work

You may have heard that classic expression, laughter is the best medicine. As cliché as it might sound, it’s actually the truth. In past iterations of The Productivity Box we’ve talked about how mental health and stress management have an impact on your job performance. In this month’s edition, let’s turn the lens on laughter and examine how this positive emotional release can make you more productive, whether you work from home or in an office.

The Productivity Box: The Benefits of Laughter at Work

Laughter goes a long way

Beyond the emotion and the fun, laughter truly goes a long way. According to experts at the Mayo Clinic, here are some ways it can boost wellness:

  • Enhances the function of vital organs such as the heart, brain, and lungs.
  • Stimulates blood circulation and relaxes the muscles to decrease tension.
  • Regulates heart rate and blood pressure to help with stress management.
  • Boosts immunity through the release of neuropeptides that fight off illness.
  • Helps activate the body’s production of natural self-healing painkillers.
  • Increases personal resilience and can even strengthen social connections.
  • Builds self-esteem and helps to decrease feelings of anxiety or depression.

Laughter does more than make you smile or lift your mood with a rush of endorphins. It offers mental and physical health benefits too. Let’s find out how these in turn influence work performance.

Laughter improves the ability to concentrate

The mid-day slump is a challenge. Your attention span is wearing thin and your brain is an easy target for distractions. Impaired focus is a common issue for both remote and onsite workers, it’s completely location-agnostic 🙂 However, it might surprise you to learn that laughter may be just what you need to find your concentration.

Research from the Advances in Physiology Education Journal found that when humor is used in classrooms, it “attracts and sustains attention and increases students’ motivation to focus on the material.” That’s because jokes and humor usually include a punch line that must be solved in order to evoke laughter, the study continues.

Humorous content requires you to process the information closely, which enhances both concentration and retention skills. Use this as a reason to share more jokes on group chats or, like we do it, on Hubgets Team Board 🙂 You may even start a daily joke tradition, where someone shares a joke every day at 3 pm when everyone is struggling in the after-lunch slump.  

Laughter boosts morale and job satisfaction

Laughter, as both an emotional expression and physical action, causes a hormone response in the body. According to the Current Research in Physiology Journal, laughing helps curb levels of adrenaline (stimulated by fear or anger to elevate blood pressure and heart rate) and cortisol (stimulated by chronic stress, anxiety, or the fight-or-flight reaction).

At the same time, laughter activates dopamine and serotonin—neurotransmitters that tell the brain to feel pleasure. As another study in the PLOS One Journal points out, frequent laughter acts like a stress buffer to boost resilience, positive affect, and life satisfaction. This can also translate to your morale on the job, increasing enjoyment and productivity.     

If a meeting is dragging on, use laughter as a way to jump-start morale. Make a joke and laugh together before continuing the meeting.

Laughter refuels energy to fix burnout

A recent poll from business consulting firm Korn Ferry found that 89 percent of surveyed professionals suffer from burnout and only six percent feel energized at work. Various factors can contribute to exhaustion and burnout on the job including an overwhelming workload, social disconnect, and lack of resources or support, the data reveals.

Laughter can help combat the effects of burnout. According to a 2020 study in the Osong Public Health and Research Perspectives Journal, student nurses who participated in a month of consistent laughter therapy exhibited more positive energy with their coworkers and in their work performance. In environments where depletion and burnout tend to be high, the simple act of laughing can refuel low energy levels to rejuvenate your work ethic and output.

Laugh your way to higher productivity at work

If you want to experience a natural boost in satisfaction, concentration, performance, and overall well-being on the job, a dose of laughter may be the solution. Share a funny, suitable-for-work meme with your team mates. Or watch silly cat videos on your lunch break to get both the physical and emotional release of a good laugh.

This might seem like too simple of an action to make a real impact. However, laughing leads to a positive outlook,  sustained energy levels, balanced mental health, and stress management. And all these are essential for everybody’s productivity. Thus, it’s time to carve out a few minutes in your schedule just to lighten the mood. Chances are, you’ll feel better, and you’ll work harder.

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