Laughter is good for the soul (& for your business)

We all know laughter is good for our souls, but have you considered what it can do for your business?

I’m often asked in candidate interviews about what has kept me at my company – there are quite a few solid reasons, but almost every time I find myself saying that I sincerely like coming to work. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with people who share common goals, work incredibly hard and – most importantly – make me laugh (like a real belly laugh). Working with a team that values humor makes my days brighter and better and, ultimately, inspires me to do my best work. I might even argue that humor is a better motivator than coffee (but we do have a pretty spectacular coffee machine, so they may be tied).

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There are few things more unique than a sense of humor in office culture. How your team members are encouraged to share their sense of humor in the workplace contributes greatly to the overall tone and energy of your company. I firmly believe that if team members enjoy the people they share space with – from desks to conference rooms to the kitchen coffee machine – they are more likely to enjoy their time at work, actively contribute ideas, and become driving forces in the company.

Beyond that, as a leader, establishing a balance between producing high-quality work and encouraging camaraderie and humor within your team’s workflow creates an important entry point to building rapport and trust. This balance is essential for a leader to ensure a cohesive team dynamic that welcomes feedback and collaboration.

If you truly value this type of workplace culture, it isn’t enough to merely infuse it into your existing work routine; you must actively prioritize it in your growth strategy. The way we approach it? Just look at our job descriptions. One of our requirements in every posting is literally “a sense of humor.” At first, I was skeptical about whether this had any business being in an actual role description, but over my 12-year tenure, I have come to understand what a vital role this attribute has played in cultivating and maintaining the company culture we’re so proud of today.

Not only is it in our job descriptions, but we strive to embody this value across all touchpoints with every candidate. We know that our candidates often follow our social media channels to get a sense of who we are beyond our clients and services. It’s a perfect place for us to showcase our playful moments and the fun experiences we have together, and we do not shy away from posting them.

Another prime opportunity to highlight our value of humor is in in-person interviews. We certainly discuss a lot of serious information, but when I interview someone, it’s rare that I don’t laugh with my interview teammate, and I love when our candidates feel comfortable enough to join in themselves. Creating this type of interview environment sets the tone for what candidates can expect, should they become part of the team. We’re genuinely proud to share this aspect of our culture, and I believe it’s one of the things that has helped us grow over the years.

The best part of this approach? Ensuring that this playful mindset remains in the fabric of the company’s day-to-day means, well, having more fun! It’s a license to create opportunities that showcase what makes each person unique. At our company specifically, we’ve had big moments, like dousing our Founder (Super Bowl style) after a huge client win, as well as smaller moments, like our annual Halloween costume contest and an in-office challenge where we paired pet pictures with their owners. Whatever the scope, these lighthearted moments demonstrate the importance of humor in our everyday lives – and encourage everyone to welcome it into the office.

Of course, we do take a lot of things seriously – passion for great work, the drive to innovate, commitment and collaboration – but something that supports our success in each of these areas is our ability to laugh along the way.

Maria Martinez is the Vice President of Finance and Operations at Situation – a digital agency best known for helping brands build passionate communities through digital-first marketing strategies. She has been with Situation for over 11 years and leads the growing operations team.

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