The author, Betty-Ann Heggie wrote the article “The Benefits of Laughing in the Office” to demonstrate the strengths and benefits that humor and laughter present in the office. Heggie opens the article by sharing her own experience which had prompted her to think deeply about laughter. During a business trip in Europe, when her boss made a joke at lunch, she laughed loudly and nonchalantly.
She was surprised that her laughter seemed to have made others uncomfortable, her boss included. She wondered whether her laughter had always irked others. She even contemplated on shifting to a different department or changing her career to one that was more relaxed. After sleeping over the issue, she decided that she would not only keep her job, but she would also keep laughing. She also decided that she would keenly observe how her laughter influenced others. She was surprised to find that her laughter did not, even to the smallest extent, obstruct her advancements. In fact, she found that when she was away from the office, her laughter was missed by her colleagues. She realized that her laughter served a need. Most of her colleagues appreciated her laughter more than she knew. As a result, Heggie decided to embrace her laughter and make it her signature.
Heggie provides an explanation of the numerous benefits that a good dose of laughter can provide to individuals as well as one’s colleagues in the office. Citing research studies from prominent scholars and institutions, the author notes that laughter is important in abating worry, anxiety, and tediousness in the office. When this is the case, the people demonstrate increased resourcefulness, collaboration is enhanced, productivity is augmented and engagement is boosted. According to the author, these benefits are proven by research from the London Business School, Wharton, and even MIT.
If one is at the receiving end of a joke, Heggie suggests that one should just laugh loudly. This laughter is imperative and beneficial as it helps to lessen or alleviate the mental burdens that one may have. She also says that Mayo Clinic advocates for such laughter since it prompts some physical change in the body of the person who laughs. According to Mayo Clinic, such laughter sees one inhale gulps of fresh air which is rich in oxygen. The laughter also helps to boost the circulation in the body and helps in the relaxation of muscles. Subsequently, stress levels are significantly reduced. This is an undeniable benefit in the office setting.
Drawing towards a conclusion, the author asserts that though she is a strong advocate of laughter and humor in the office, caution should be exercised as there are challenges in such a culture. She notes that there are employees who may take this as an opportunity to disrespect others by telling inappropriate jokes. She adds that this is especially true for the minority population. Women, for instance, may be forced to laugh at jokes that demean them. Heggie also advises people to be considerate of the mood and the environment. One should also be careful not to distract others with laughter. She does, however, restate that guided by decorum, the benefits that laughter provides in the office offset the shortcomings. Heggie borrows from Carl Marci of Harvard who demonstrates the importance of laughter by likening it to a punctuation mark. Heggie advises people to keep laughing freely.