Bringing humor to the office can have a lot of benefits, but if you’re not careful, it can also backfire — big time. Here are some tips on making sure your attempts at humor don’t cross the line and turn you into an April Fool.
If you jump right in with a hefty dose of humor, you’re likely to make others uncomfortable and alienate potential supporters, no matter how harmless it may seem.
Before you launch any kind of practical joke, consider whether it really will be funny for all involved. If it’s likely to make others feel the need to “get even,” you’re better off calling it off before a vicious cycle begins.
Play it safe
If you’re not sure whether a particular joke or shenanigan is appropriate, it probably isn’t.
This doesn’t mean you can’t poke fun at people from time to time, but only by respecting them first and foremost can you have fun without offending or alienating.
Check for negativity
Poking fun at someone as a way to vent negative feelings isn’t funny, and can injure inter-office relationships.
Avoid sensitive topics
Jokes about someone’s weight, age, intelligence, or other personal characteristics have the potential to hurt self-esteem — and should be absolutely off-limits.
When you’re competent, people respect you, and you can have fun at what you do. But if you’re not doing a good job, using humor may work against you and make otherwise innocent fun seem out of place or, worse yet, downright offensive.
Don’t get carried away
Remember, even where humor is concerned, your best bet is to focus on taking yourself lightly and your work seriously.
Office humor is a wonderful thing that can bring workers together and relieve tension and stress. With these guidelines you will have your colleagues chuckling without offending anyone. And who knows, maybe your boss appreciates amusing employees. And that’s no laughing matter.