Office environments without adequate L-I-G-H-T are depressing. They can affect the mood and production of the office team. Steve Martin said, “A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.” But even if the shades are open and the fluorescents are lit, another mood-changing source could be missing: “L-I-T-E.” I’m not talking about Low Cal snacks in the cafeteria; I’m talking about an office brightened with joy and enjoyment.
President Eisenhower said, “A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.” In an article on using humor in the workplace, Matt Williams even cited the benefits of using practical jokes, “Through practical jokes I have seen colleagues grow closer, barriers destroyed, and morale dramatically improved. Laughter is, after all, the best medicine for whatever ails a person or a team.”
Here are a few ways to turn on the “LITE” switch.
1. OPEN OR CLOSE A MEETING WITH A HUMOROUS STORY.
In a take on Julie Andrews’ song, “A spoonful of HUMOR makes the medicine go down.” A humorous story can break the tension of a meeting and bond team members, even in the most challenging situations. Of course that humor should never be personal, off-color, or cruel.
2. CELEBRATE SPECIAL DAYS WITH A TOUCH OF HUMOR.
A funny scrapbook may turn out to be a team member’s favorite keepsake. A digital “Day in the life of…” can be a hilarious addition to a birthday celebration. An announcement about an “office closed day” doesn’t have to be dull. Enliven it with a funny e-mail or screen shot.
3. USE THE OFFICE COMIC DURING STAFF MEETINGS.
Most offices have resident “stand-up comics.” Give one a platform. Add a “LITE” side to a staff meeting or training event by assigning a relevant topic (with boundaries), and have them illustrate a new policy or method.
4. PLAN A “LITE” EVENT.
Building team morale or cooperation could be accomplished by an off-site event. For example, a local comedy club that features clean entertainment could be just the setting for a staff dinner. Team members who know how to laugh together usually know how to work together.
5. POST A SIGNED CARTOON IN THE BREAK ROOM.
Staff members usually see the “Mr. or Ms. Serious” side of management. Why not surprise them by posting a signed cartoon that addresses a well-known “situation.” (Hint: run the cartoon by an associate before posting, to make sure that it is funny, relevant, and appropriate.)
6. USE HUMOR IN YOUR PRESENTATIONS.
A friend of mine says, “You can say just about anything, if you put something funny in front of it.” Even the most boring subjects can create interest by sandwiching them between humorous stories or quotes.
Go ahead, flip on the “LITE” and see what a little sunshine can do to a cloudy day.