People & Human Resources

Small business is no joke: Getting your team to laugh

Cara Waters /

Getting body language wrong at work can be cause for laughter

It’s free and is guaranteed to make your team happier and more productive. This wonder business product is laughter. 

Researchers at the University of Maryland in the United States have found that laughter can offset mental stress through its link to healthy function of blood vessels.

While last year, research in Germany discovered having a laugh activates brain regions sensitive to processing more complex social information.

Read more: Why we need laughter at work

Psychologist and SmartCompany blogger Eve Ash is a strong advocate for the benefits of laughter for your business. 

Ash believes laughter is so important that she’s created a series of comedy-based training videos for business.

It’s a big change of direction for workplace training.

“For 30 years now the market seemed to focus on ‘Let’s stop laughing at negative role models and start focusing on serious business’ and the programs were very straight,” Ash told SmartCompany.

“The use of comedy was seen to be wasting time at work. Now there has been quite an interesting shift because attention spans for video content in a work environment are really short.”

Ash says shortening attention spans and the need for employees to be able to relate to training through the use of case studies has brought back the old fashioned belly laugh to training. 

“If you can give staff situations they can absolutely relate to where they can see themselves, that works,” she says.

“Laughter is an amazing thing for stress relief and does really good things for us psychologically. I think if you share with your team something and have a laugh, that really cements learning.”

Ash says using laughter to relieve stress in your business and to encourage learning works well for small businesses.

“If you are a small business and maybe don’t have the ability to offer the incredible perks and high level wages, one of the things you can give is offer this access to training,” Ash says.

Injecting a dose of humor into your business can increase productivity and creativity and strengthen your team’s physical and emotional health.

For Ash, laughter is serious business.

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Cara Waters

Cara Waters is the former editor of SmartCompany. Previously, Cara was a senior reporter at the Financial Times website FT Adviser in London and she also worked for The Sunday Times in London.

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