Wednesday, 4 November 2015

CIPD Conference Blog #5 of many

My final session of the first day is on the subject of Laughology.  Unleashing the power of happiness in the workplace...

Now as I've commented before, at work I have often and traditionally been a very serious person. I held to the belief that work was a serious place, and HR a serious profession, and I as a senior HR professional needed to uphold the seriousness of all this. 

After all, there was no room for the "outside work" Gary to be in the workplace. I couldn't be seen to be laughing, could I?

Recently I realised I was wrong, and my attitude was preventing me forming better relationships in the workplace. 

So when Stephanie Davies from Laughology introduced her session by outlining the case for humour and laughter in the workplace, I understood completely. 

Not that I'm the stand up comedian of my current workplace, or even that outside work I'm a laugh a minute man either. 

But I acknowledge there is a middle ground, and I'm currently trying to occupy it. 

It's about thinking and reacting differently in the workplace. 

To get people to think differently, Laughology encourage people to play at work, and to use their imagination to unlock the child like persona within them. The areas of the brain that control happiness need to be unlocked. 

Stephanie got us doing a number of exercises to help us to understand how to unlock those areas. And it's true. The exercises had us laughing sometimes in spite of ourselves and in spite of the lateness of the day and that we were all tired. They were fun. 

We laughed at each other and ourselves when we came out of our comfort zone and engaged with the activity. And it's true that laughter makes you feel happier, lighter, child like even. 

We don't do enough of it in the workplace. And I don't do enough of it per se. 

In the case study (INS), humour and laughter had been used to creat a new set of organisational values and to engage staff with a new culture.

And if you can help individuals, teams and organisations be happy, you'll make a big difference to performance. So I fully understand and embrace the Laughology principles. 

My eldest daughter, when just a toddler, asked me what I did at work. Ever tried explaining HR to an adult, let alone a three year old child?  I thought for a while and told her my job was to make people happy at work. She now thinks I do something with paints as painting is what makes her happy. 

I don't paint. 

But ultimately I, as an HR professional, do try to make people happy and if I can do that, they ought to perform.  

I also need to make myself happy, and I'm working on that. Watch this space. 

I've enjoyed Day One of #cipd15 and even though I'm tired, I'm looking forward to the evening activities before getting back here in the morning. 

Till next time. 

Gary