April is both National Humor Month and Stress Awareness Month, and while the two ideas may seem unrelated, in the workplace, they have a bit of an inverse relationship. Humorless work environments are often stressful work environments, and stress takes a toll on workers’ health – both physical and mental – and productivity.

Are Your Employees Stressed?

Are your employees showing signs of burnout and stress? Do they call in sick a lot? Are they having trouble focusing? Does it seem like their minds aren’t on the job?

As an employer, it’s one of your many responsibilities to take care of your employees and keep their well-being a priority. Stress isn’t simply someone else’s problem. A study conducted in the U.K. in 2015 examined the negative health effects associated with workplace stress. It found that millions of workers believe their job is bad for their health, and this has led them to eat poorly, smoke, drink more alcohol, and exercise less. Simply put, stress makes employees sick.

What Role Does Laughter Play?

Laughter is good for us. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, relaxing the muscles and leaving them relaxed for up to 45 minutes after. Laughter boosts the immune system, decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, improving resistance to disease.

“When you watch people sitting together at lunch or talking at breaks or at gatherings you can see them change physically and relax,” according to post by CBIA Healthy Connections. “Whether enjoying a joke, story or anecdote or just reflecting on something that has happened or been observed, laughter is good for our mental and physical health and should be encouraged, as appropriate to time and place.”

While of course, you can’t order your employees to laugh more, you can build into the workplace more opportunities. An inviting break room, for example, an outdoor seating area where employees can congregate, and a fun theme dress day once in a while (Tropical Day, for example, or Ugly Sweater Day).

Humor helps people connect with others, and these connections are the foundation for a healthy workplace filled with teamwork, cooperation, success…and significantly lower levels of stress.

At Petruzelo Insurance we care about making your workplace safe and successful. Speak to an agent today about insurance options.