Too serious workplaces mean jokes are no more

Office pranksters like Colin from the BBC’s The Fast Show are becoming a
thing of the past in the British workplace.

A survey by Pertemps, which questioned 700 office workers, reveals that more
than half are worried about telling jokes for fear of being accused of sexual
or racial discrimination.

Almost two-thirds admit to censoring jokes they tell at work in order to avoid
causing offence. A similar proportion of respondents claim political
correctness has put paid to the days of the office prankster and bemoan the
fact that the workplace is becoming too serious. However, all those questioned
admit to being selective about who they tell a joke to at work.

A quarter of women surveyed have played a practical joke on their boss,
compared to 19 per cent of men.

The majority of respondents believe humour in the office has a positive
effect on performance at work. Eighty per cent feel more motivated and
two-thirds said humour improves morale.

Tim Watts, Pertemps chairman, said: "People are not sure where to draw
the line when telling jokes these days and as a result many people are simply
not telling them anymore.

"This is a shame because people often feel more motivated if they work
in a relaxed environment, and happy staff equal a happy company, which in turn
is good for any business.

"We advise staff to stop and think about the joke they are going to
tell or the prank they are going to set up and decide if it might offend before
going ahead."

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