Workplace blogs
Workplace blogs

Humor at Work: WARNING: Grumpiness Can be Highly Contagious, February 4, 2009

1. WARNING: Grumpiness Can Be Highly Contagious

According to new research from the University of California,
bad moods really are contagious. According to Dr. James Fowler,
each unhappy personal connection: decreases the chance of a
person being in a happy mood by seven per cent. The impact is
akin to the ripples from a pebble being tossed into a pond.
Fortunately, the reverse is also true. Each happy connection
improves a person’s chance of feeling happy by nine per cent.

So for an interesting and fun social science experiment, try
counting the number of “grumpy” vs. “happy” connections in
one day, just, well. I don’t know. for the fun of it. And if
you’re a carrier of the grumpy contagion be aware of the
potential unintended consequences of your mood rippling
throughout your workplace; conversely if you come in contact
with an infected person, watch two comedies and call me in the
2. Mike’s Fun at Work Tip

Here’s an excerpt from an e-mail I received from Better World
Books a week after ordering a book: “If your order hasn’t blessed
your mailbox yet, heads are gonna roll in the warehouse! Seriously
though, if you are less than 108.8% satisfied, please reply to
this message. Let us know what we can do to flabbergast you with
service. Humbly yours, Indaba”(our super-cool e-mail robot.)

Adding some simple humor to your standard auto-responders can
help your messages stand out from the herd and be heard. Humor
can make your automated (or otherwise) e-mails sound more
conversational, more human, more authentic, and of course, more
fun. If your service is fabulous, a message like this reinforces
that perception. If the service ball was dropped, a note like
this can go a long way towards buying some feel-good capital.
3. Quote of the Week

“Humor can be an intravenous for the arm: you’re both laughing
and absorbing information at the same time.” Normal Lear
4. It’s a Wacky, Wacky, World

Does it drive you batty when people talk on their cell phones
or text message during meetings? Well, it turns out some folks
are SO attached to their electronic gizmos that they are being
buried with them! Funeral homes are reporting an increase in the
number of people (especially under 40) wishing to be buried with
their cell phones or Blackberrys. (Hey, that might make for a
great one-of-those “Can you hear me now?” ads!)

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