Laughter can be a welcome distraction from more serious matters, but new research has revealed it’s much more significant than that. In fact, it’s one of the most effective tools in team bonding strategies.
It’s highly contagious, and we’ve all witnessed how quickly a ripple of laughter can turn into a wave. And although it has always been recognized as a positive feature, science has struggled to explain exactly why it has this effect.
Now, research from the UK and Finland has shown that when people laugh together in social situations, endorphins are released in the areas of the brain responsible for arousal and emotion. The result is the groups sharing the laughter feel safe and at ease with each other, which in turn bonds them.
It also highlights how sharing experiences that involve fun and laughter can play an essential role in forming strong relationships, team bonds that can benefit businesses in both the short and long term.
How Laughter Bonds
The mystery until recently was how laughter could be shared amongst groups. The release of endorphins was already known but the details were too sketchy to come to any outright conclusion.
Social laughter prompts endorphins to be released in the brains of each of the participants, which leads to an expansion of human social networks. It means that everyone present shares in the experience, which is itself a key elements in team bonding.
How Laughter Is Good
- Create a positive working environment – According to a study from Harvard, people who are willing to tell jokes in the office and cause other to laugh were considered by their workmates as more confident and more competent.
- A valuable influencer in meetings – Research carried out by VU University Amsterdam examined the effects of laughter in business meetings concluded that it resulted in more productive sessions and the adoption of more innovative solutions.
- Can Increase Brain Function – According to cognitive neuroscientist Dr. Scott Weems, comedy can improve people’s ability to deal with semantic associates tasks (or word games). After his own research, involving a group that watched comedy before completing a task and a group that didn’t, he concluded that comedy is like “mental exercise” that boosts the mind’s capacity in the same way the physical exercise can strengthen the body.
Get Your Team Laughing Together
At Orangeworks, we know laughter is a critical element in team bonding. That’s why we infuse fun into every one of our team building activities, complementing their core purpose. It’s especially prevalent in our icebreakers, where the idea is to remove barriers and encourage people to let their hair down. But fun and laughter is found in everything we do. Here are just 3 of them:
- Win It In A Minute – Fast, fun and action packed series of 60 second challenges
Inspired by TV game shows, the Win It In A Minute program is full of excitement and nail biting moments as your teams battle it out in various and bizarre 60 second challenges. The challenges are all fun and inclusive, and while this program is lots of fun it does have the additional benefits of improving team communication skills, creating a team strategy and improving morale while team members get to know each other outside of the usual work environment
- Body Rap – This is group rhythm with a colourful twist. There’s nothing quite like some wacky fun to encourage team-building. Body Rap allows participants to don some colourful gloves and make music together using just their bodies. This quick and quirky game loosens people up in an environment of off-the-wall bonding. This hilarious rhythmic exercise is certain to give your conference a shot of fresh energy and is the perfect antidote to that mid-afternoon lull.
- Orchestrate – An incredible team-based musical experience which reaches an unforgettable crescendo. A symphony orchestra is perhaps the ultimate example of a team. Each individual brings their own talents and ideas and utilises them in a way that improves the overall group. Working towards a common goal, each must use their creativity and ability to achieve their specific task. This exciting environment had long been solely the domain of the experienced musician – until now.
At Orangeworks, we create exceptional experiences that our customers remember forever. We are Ireland’s largest outdoor adventure and teambuilding company. Orangeworks is part of the Catalyst Global Network – the largest teambuilding network in the world with 32 companies in over 40 regions.