One of the best things about being around others — whether in an office setting or elsewhere — is laughing together.
Laughter is healthy, and it doesn’t need to be the type of laughter that lasts for minutes on end. Even small giggles and chuckles are beneficial. And laughter at work helps alleviate stress, increase focus and inspire innovation.
Unfortunately, it’s harder to laugh when we’re not around others, which is largely the case these days due to social distancing guidelines that are in place to combat COVID-19. As the article below notes, we’re “30 times more likely to laugh with others than to laugh alone.”
This makes it critically important to inject some fun and humor into virtual meetings. Business leaders should be deliberate about setting a light tone with their teams when possible and appropriate. This doesn’t mean managers need to become comedians — but it does mean they should allow time and space for laughter to make its way into meetings.
I previously wrote about some other tips for boosting the performance of virtual teams, which I think can work hand in hand with a focus on laughter.
When taking on the job, you might not have thought that it would be your job to influence the body and brain chemistry of your subordinates. But in today’s home-alone, virtual team world, that’s exactly what you should be doing: for your team members to stay healthy and productive, you need to get them to laugh more and stress less.