Informal workspaces are more fun

April 1st, 2008 - 3:59 pm ICT by admin  

Sydney, April 1 (IANS) Some offices are more relaxed and fun, where people laugh a lot - and this is a result of their organisational structure and culture, says a new study. The Massey University study, titled ‘Laugh Out Loud’, looked at how organisational culture influences humour in the workplace - and its benefits.

“Laughter provides release and relieves boredom and can make being at work more fun. Employers are now seeing value in their workplaces being more fun,” said Barbara Plester, who conducted the study.

To explore the influence of organisational culture on how humour occurs at work, she did interviews and observations at four companies - a legal firm, an IT firm, a financial institution and an energy provider, according to a university press release.

She found that boundaries to humour-related activity were influenced by the organisational culture and by levels of formality or informality.

Humour was more enabled and encouraged in the less formal cultures and more constrained in the more formal work settings.

“When people go to work in new cultures they pretty quickly pick up on what the boundaries are from one workplace to another - what sort of jokes would or wouldn’t be acceptable.

People within organisations perceive that humour and organisational culture have both positive and negative impacts upon workplace outcomes such as retention, satisfaction, performance and recruitment.

“Humour at work is widespread and a significant component of modern working life. Humour manifests itself within workplace culture and understanding the influence of organisational culture on humour enactment is an important facet of organisational studies,” she noted.

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