JS Tip 41: From the Customer Service Workshops: Using Humor, Part Deux


Last week, we wrote about the benefits and risks of humor in the workplace. We’d like to extend the conversation.

When used appropriately, humor reduces stress, builds relationships, and fosters communication.

When used inappropriately, humor will destroy these benefits and open your company to liability. Managers: it’s your responsibility to keep humor in check. 

A rule of thumb that solves most humor related issues: If a joke or a remark will make even one person uncomfortable, leave it unsaid. Do not allow humor to focus on a particular person, race, sex, sexual orientation, political group, or religion.

For good examples of what not to do, look up “Michael Scott” from NBC’s “The Office.” (With their recent late-night debacle, we’re sure NBC will appreciate the publicity.)

We’d love to hear from you. Send us your experiences when humor has served or soured your workplace. The best will get fabulous prizes and we’ll include them in next week’s tip. If needed, we promise anonymity.