Humor at Work: Featured in Ignites Article


ignites-financial-timesIgnites, a Financial Times service focused on delivering quality content on mutual funds, recently ran a story on April Fools and Pranks, and I was featured as their humor expert.

To see the article requires a subscription (which you can get here if you’re a mutual fund fan), but below are some of the highlights:

Research suggests employees are more productive and less stressed and have better relationships with co-workers when humor is part of the workplace environment.

Promoting the right types of humor can help even the most conservative firms get the benefits of humor without the reputational or legal risks that come with jokes gone awry, sources say.

“The biggest aspects of how to bring humor into the workplace is to make a decision to do it,” says Andrew Tarvin, chief humorist at Humor at Work, which has worked with Western & Southern Life Insurance, Procter & Gamble and other large enterprises to promote humor in the corporate setting.


But done right, Tarvin the corporate humorist says humor can have five distinct benefits: improve communication, strengthen relationships, enhance creativity and problem-solving skills, increase productivity, and help with overall health and mental fitness.

He says the key to humor is to focus on the right form in the right situations. One of the more effective types for workplace tends to be what psychologists call affiliative humor, or amusing others as a way to facilitate relationships.

Self-deprecating humor can also be an effective way for managers to appear more human and down-to-earth with employees. It can be perceived as self-pitying if overused, however.

And Tarvin is not anti-pranks. “The reason why pranks go well is because there are really strong relationships…. What pranks can hopefully do is, in a way, give permission for humor in the workplace.”

Thanks to Jackie Noblett for the great write up.

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