welcome, you made it!
Whether you landed here after seeing one of my popular Humor That Works talks at TEDx, after a feverish "office jokes" Googling session, or by complete accident, I'm really glad you're here.
Statistically speaking, you're most likely part of the 83% of employees that are stressed out at work, 70% that are disengaged in the office, 55% that are unsatisfied with their jobs and/or the 47% that struggle to stay happy. Am I close?
But there’s one last set of numbers that is truly scary.
That’s the number of hours the average person works in their lifetime. That is 10.2 years of 24/7, 365. That is more time than it would take to watch everything on Netflix.
That is a lot of time!
But perhaps that’s hard to imagine, so here’s the second truly scary number: 33.6
No matter who you are or what you do, you get 168 hours in a week. If you average seven hours of sleep each night, that’s 49 hours spent sleeping, leaving 119 hours left awake. If you work an average of 40 hours a week, and I’m sure you are way above that, that’s 33.6 percent of your awake adult life spent at work. One-third of your waking life!
1/3 of your life is spent at work
If 70% of people are disengaged in something they do 33.6% of the time, something is wrong. The current way of working isn’t actually working. If we want to fix these numbers, we have to change the way we work. And to do that, it’s not about changing what we do, it’s about changing how we do it.
What of Work
No matter your role, function, background, history, or job title, your work boils down to some combination of the following five skills. If you work, you execute, think, communicate, connect, and lead. That’s true whether you’re a senior executive, firefighter, or dog trainer, woof!
The starting point for most entry level jobs. Execution involves productivity, discipline, motivation, and stress management.
If you can’t execute, you can’t work.
This skill carries over to the highest echelons of work: planning, problem-solving, creativity, and innovation. If you can’t think, you can’t advance.
Includes speaking, listening, reading, writing, and understanding nonverbal cues - aka being able to work with other people. If you can’t communicate, you can’t influence.
This is required to get things done in any type of group setting. Connection involves empathy, bonding, networking, and shared experiences. If you can’t connect, you can’t survive.
Average employee vs one with high potential. Leadership includes setting a direction, inspiring others, providing guidance, and driving change. If you can’t lead, you can’t create lasting impact.
THE MISSING SKILL
humor at work
When I tell people that employees who use humor at work are more productive, less stressed, and happier, they are admittedly a bit skeptical. Don’t get me wrong, no one really thinks of humor as a bad thing. Is there anyone who hates to laugh? Anyone who hates feeling joy in their body? No. Most people think of it as a nice to- have: “Sure, I’d love to enjoy my work more, but if not, what can I do?”
But in today’s overworked, underappreciated, stress-filled, sleep-deprived world...
humor is a must-have
One thing I’ve learned in my 10-plus years of helping people get better at work using humor is that success at work and in life requires more than just having the technical skills to do your job. Yes, you have to be good at what you do. But you also have to be good at how you do it.
101 proven ways
to increase morale, productivity and group cohesiveness through humor.
how to be funny
The perception is that humor is somehow innate. As if it’s encoded in our DNA. That people are “naturally funny,” and if you’re not one of the lucky few, well then good luck ever pulling it off. But the truth is far different; the truth is that humor can be learned.
Remember that the goal is to make you a better businessperson, not a humor academic, anthropologist, or stand-up comedian. We build on some of the most important business skills relevant in today’s work environment (e.g., growth mindset, psychological safety, verbal fluency). The goal is to teach you techniques for leveraging humor so that you take action to improve your work immediately.
the skill of humor
The skill of humor comes down to three things. At the intersection of all three is a humor engineer, someone who can take what they find funny, turn it into humor, and apply it to achieve a goal. The key to changing how you work is in understanding all three.
SENSE OF HUMOR
A sense of humor is something everyone has. What makes you laugh? What makes you smile? Understanding and exploring your sense of humor is the key to finding humor in everyday life.
ABILITY TO HUMOR
The ability to humor is something anyone can learn. It is simply being able to take something that you find amusing or funny and deliver it in a way that other people understand and enjoy.
AGENCY WITH HUMOR
Learning how to leverage your sense of humor and the ability to humor to achieve specific results is paramount. This is the true value of humor: not that it’s fun, but that it’s effective.
Even if you don’t think you’re funny (though you can learn to be), or you aren’t ready to try out any material of your own, you can be a shepherd of humor. You can take things you find funny (sense) and share it with others for specific goals (agency).
30 benefits from humor at work
Humor builds trust, defuses tension, and creates a positive shared experience that brings people closer together. And this is just the beginning.
1. improves productivity
2. reduces stress
3. prevents burnout
4. provides motivation
5. increases size of paycheck
6. boosts overall brainpower
7. improves decision-making
8. increases the acceptance of ideas
9. triggers new connections
10. enhances problem solving skills
11. gets people to listen
12. improves memory retention
13. boosts persuasion
14. assists in learning
15. increases likability
16. connects us with others
17. fosters rapport
18. reduces status differentials
19. builds trust
20. encourages collaboration
21. enhances leadership skills
22. defuses conflict
23. creates more opportunities
24. builds credibility
25. improves ratings
26. increases ability to cope
27. strengthens the immune system
28. relaxes muscles
29. burns calories
30. increases happiness
since you've made it this far...
Humor That Works has helped 25,000+ people from more than 250 different organizations from all around the world to use humor to achieve success and happiness in the workplace. We’ve deconstructed both work and humor and put them back together in a way that is more engaging, entertaining, and effective.
Andrew is the best-selling author of Humor That Works: The Missing Skill for Success and Happiness at Work, has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and FastCompany, and his TEDx talk has been viewed over 8 million times.