Do you want your coworkers’ respect? Try telling a joke!

According to a recent study conducted at the University of Pennsylvania, people who tell jokes at work are viewed as being more confident, competent, important, and intelligent than their more serious counterparts. People like and admire their funny coworkers.

And apparently, it’s also great when managers use humor. When managers are willing to joke around, their employees tend to be more cohesive, productive, relaxed, and creative.

But beware! You can’t just tell any old joke and expect to reap the rewards. It has to be an appropriate joke. Researchers found that when people tell offensive or off-color jokes, their status can immediately plummet. After just one inappropriate joke, they’re held in lower regard than people who never attempt to tell jokes in the first place.

So feel free to joke around, but make sure to do it in the right way. If you tell an appropriate joke, people will appreciate it. Even if they don’t find it funny, they’ll still view you as an intelligent, confident person.


Shellenbarger, S. (2017, January 24). The joke that makes or breaks you at work. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from: