Is it Okay to Laugh? Understanding How Stifling Humor Can Also Stifle Workplace Productivity

2020 Annual Conference & Exposition
Encouraging humor in the workplace while preventing harassing, discriminatory or inappropriate behavior can be a hefty challenge.

The job of Human Resources leaders is to foster a safe, effective and happy work environment. The challenge?  Allowing employees to show happiness through laughter while also being aware that some humor may be considered offensive or inappropriate. Where is the line in the sand drawn? And who draws it? Join Greg Schwem in a lively session featuring stand-up comedy, true stories of jokes that missed their marks and video clips featuring events of workplace incidents that became major news events though they start as “just a joke.” Greg discusses the physical and mental benefits of laughing at work, and explores the problems that can arise when one employee finds a text, a meme, a video, etc. hilarious while another finds it offensive.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the value of humor in the workplace.
  • Learn why employees want to laugh at work but are often afraid to, fearful of how their laughter might be interpreted.
  • Explore the lack of definition around what makes something “funny” or “inappropriate.”
Date(s) & Time(s): 
Tuesday, June 30, 2020 - 3:45pm to 5:00pm

Greg Schwem


HuffPost calls Greg Schwem, “Your boss’ favorite comedian.” That’s because Greg’s clean, razor-sharp wit and family-man stage presence has made him a favorite for corporate audiences worldwide, whether performing live or virtually. More than just a speaker, Greg is also a television travel host, best-selling author, nationally syndicated humor columnist for the Chicago Tribune syndicate and award-winning greeting card writer. What, you’ve never heard of the prestigious Louie Awards?

As a business humor speaker and corporate emcee, Greg’s clients have included Microsoft, McDonald’s, Southwest Airline and even the CIA.  When the pandemic took hold in March 2020, Greg quickly pivoted, delivering much needed humor to stressed-out workforces with  a new and uplifting virtual/hybrid keynote, You Can’t Quarantine Laughter.

When Greg travels, he often stays at Airbnb and other “home sharing” properties, treks that have resulted in a hilarious, ongoing TV  series, A Comedian Crashes Your Pad, winner of a Telly Award honoring outstanding broadcast content in the Television/Travel&Tourism category and distributed worldwide by LA-based Fantastic Films, LLC. Find the series on Roku and AppleTV.

Session Type: 
Concurrent Session
HR Expertise
Leadership & Navigation
Relationship Management
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