An Office Where Funny Business Is Encouraged
Why workplace teams that share laughs do better and more profitable work. (Yup, office yuks have been studied!)
One morning around a dozen years ago, I walked into the bullpen of the magazine at which I worked, and sitting in my boss’s chair was a cheap, inflatable sex doll, one of those latex ladies in a garter and panties with a startled, round-mouth expression. We all knew who put it there: the office stinker, a truly hilarious and much-loved senior person. He was one of the few who dared to joke with my boss—a notoriously talented but formidable woman who could reduce junior editors to tears—let alone in such a blatantly inappropriate way. What was particularly funny about this was that she’d recently cut her hair, and the doll’s stylized, Betty Boop bob made her and the doll look like twins.
Everyone sat there, tittering nervously, waiting for her to walk in and splash her double nonfat latté all over her Prada pencil skirt and pointy pumps. My office was in the back, but I loitered nearby—there was no way I was going to miss this. The tension was thick as Jell-o. The culprit sat coolly at his desk near hers, typing away as if nothing was amiss.
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