A good laugh: The benefits of humor in the workplace

Kerstin Knör

Want to ease the stress of managing corporate travel? Try humor, recommends Kerstin Knör, travel and fleet manager for Imperial Tobacco Group, a BCD Travel client. She says having a good laugh with colleagues can release tension and open the mind to creativity and new ideas. Here are Knör’s tips for keeping your sense of humor amid high-pressure work situations.

Don’t take yourself too seriously. If you can laugh at yourself a little, then others will laugh with you (not at you). Some self-deprecating humor is a great way to diffuse stressful situations.

Embrace the humor. Sure, you’re frustrated, overwhelmed—maybe even a little angry. But take a breath and try to look at the situation as an outsider. What’s funny about it? Often the things that raise our ire at work end up being the stories we laugh about later. Start that laughter a little early, and you’ll feel calmer almost immediately.

Force a laugh. If you can’t seem to conjure up anything funny about your current situation, then force your brain to release some stress-reducing endorphins. Try thinking about the last time you had a hearty laugh with friends or colleagues. That should produce a smile, if not a giggle. If that doesn’t work, then fake it by saying “Ha, ha, ha, ho, ho, ho” a few times. It sounds crazy, but this really works. The endorphins just flow.

Tell a joke. Now that you understand the value of humor in the workplace, share it. Tell a joke or recount a funny story, and help colleagues feel the benefits of a good laugh, too.

Read a case study detailing how the Imperial Tobacco Group travel team modernized hotel sourcing and saved a projected US$211,000 with help from business travel consultancy Advito.