Here's an article I wrote for Monster/NYTimes.com about workplace humor:
Workplace Humor Done Right
Joan Steffen worked in a high-pressure sales office. On one particularly stressful day, Steffen decided to lighten the mood.
“The boss couldn't find something she needed, so she hollered, ‘That does it! I WANT EVERY THING IN THIS OFFICE CORRECTLY LABELED BY TOMORROW MORNING!’” Steffen explains. “So I labeled all her file folders correctly -- and stuck small labels to everything else. Desk. Chair. Copier. Phone. Stapler. Dead Bug in Light Fixture.” It got everyone in the office laughing and relaxing -- including the boss.
“Laughing releases tension and creates a feeling of camaraderie and connection among people,” explains Mark Chalfant, artistic and executive director of the Washington Improv Theater in Washington, DC. “When people feel closer to one another, it's a lot easier and more pleasant to work together. Plus, if you make everyone laugh, maybe they will forget that you took the last glazed doughnut at the team meeting.”