California Finds Excess VOCs in Household Cleaners So far this year, the California Air Resources Board has settled 26 cases involving air quality violations by companies selling consumer products that exceeded the state’s standards for gases known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Many of the cases involve household cleaning products. “With volatile organic compounds present in products we use every day, it is essential for companies to comply with ARB’s air quality regulations,” said ARB Enforcement Chief James Ryden. “Companies can control the composition of the products they sell, which limits the emissions and benefits us all.” The four companies paying the highest amounts were: OPI, $58,000; Lucas Oil Products, $48,400; Lancaster Colony, $48,000; and Core Products, $45,000. Some of the household cleaners found to have violated the VOC standards are Aromasource, Jig- a- loo, Western Fragrant, SpecChem, Sportsman Warehouse and TA Emerald. Volatile organic compounds are gases released from solids and liquids, contributing to ozone formation once released into the air. These gases can be found in a number of products such as paints, wood preservatives, aerosol sprays, cleansers and disinfectants, air fresheners, stored fuels and automotive products, and more. For more information on ARB’s consumer products regulations, see: http://www.arb.ca.gov/consprod/consprod.htm – See more at: http://ieconnections.com/california-finds-excess-vocs-in-household-cleaners-p283-96.htm?sthash.be00xeVZ.mjjo&goback=%2Egde_131340_member_277564304#%21
Security Council OKs Syria resolution, warns of consequences
From Nick Paton Walsh and Elise Labott, CNN
updated 10:43 PM EDT, Fri September 27, 2013
The U.N. Security Council votes to approve a resolution that will require Syria to give up its chemical weapons during a meeting on Friday, September 27, at the United Nations. The vote comes after assertions by the United States and other Western nations that the Syrian government used chemical weapons in an August 21 attack outside Damascus that U.S. officials estimate killed 1,400 people. The U.N. Security Council votes to approve a resolution that will require Syria to give up its chemical weapons during a meeting on Friday, September 27, at the United Nations. The vote comes after assertions by the United States and other Western nations that the Syrian government used chemical weapons in an August 21 attack outside Damascus that U.S. officials estimate killed 1,400 people.
United Nations (CNN) — The U.N. Security Council, capping a dramatic month of diplomacy, voted unanimously late Friday to require Syria to eliminate its arsenal of chemical weapons — or face consequences.
“Today’s resolution will ensure that the elimination of the Syrian chemical weapons program happens as soon as possible and with the utmost transparency and accountability,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.
The U.N. resolution was based on a deal struck this month between the United States and Russia that averted an American military strike over allegations the Syrian government used sarin nerve gas in an August 21 attack on a Damascus suburb that U.S. officials said left at least 1,400 people dead.
The resolution did not authorize the automatic use of force if Syria is said to be in violation, as was previously sought by the United States.
The 15-member Security Council met shortly after the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, or OPCW, voted to fast-track Syria’s addition to the Chemical Weapons Convention, which bans such weapons.
For nearly two years, the U.N. Security Council had been unable to reach a consensus over what to do to bring about an end to Syria’s civil war. Russia and China repeatedly vetoed resolutions dating back to October 2011 that condemned President Bashar al-Assad’s government and called for him to step down.
The turnaround came this month, when Russia called for Syria to divest itself of its chemical weapons arsenal after U.S. President Barack Obama accused Syria of crossing a “red line” with the use of nerve gas and threatened a strike.
Syria announced this month that it was willing to join the agreement.
A binding obligation
Both the United States and Russia warned that if Syria failed to adhere to the terms of the U.N. resolution, it would face consequences.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the world community was imposing a binding obligation on the government of al-Assad to get rid of its stockpile.
“This resolution makes clear that those responsible for this heinous act must be held accountable,” said Kerry.
If the resolution succeeds, the world “will have eliminated one of the largest chemical weapon arsenals on Earth, eliminating it from one of the most volatile places on Earth,” Kerry said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the council that his country, long an ally of the Syrian government, “will stand ready to take action” if the resolution needs enforcement.
By agreeing to dismantle its chemical weapons program and provide documentation of its arsenal, “Damascus has shown its readiness to cooperate,” said Lavrov.
Syrian U.N. Ambassador Bashar Jaafari said the resolution holds all parties in Syria accountable for the use of chemical weapons.
Inspectors return to Syria
U.N. weapons inspectors returned to Syria this week to look into at least a half-dozen claims of chemical weapons use — some allegedly by the government, others allegedly by rebels.
U.N. inspectors have already confirmed the use of chemical warfare in the rural Damascus suburb of Ateibeh in August, but have not explicitly said who was responsible.
The al-Assad government has repeatedly accused rebels of using chemical weapons, an assertion that has been widely dismissed by most Western leaders.
The United Nations estimates more than 100,000 people have died since March 2011 when a brutal government crackdown against protesters devolved into an all-out civil war.
The Security Council vote followed action by the executive council of the OPCW, meeting in the Netherlands. That group adopted its measure by consensus in about 10 minutes.
“We now have a legal mandate to start a verification mission in Syria,” OPCW spokesman Michael Luhan.
The OPCW agreed to an “accelerated program for achieving the complete elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons by mid-2014,” it said in a statement. Inspections in Syria will begin Tuesday.
“The decision also calls for ambitious milestones for destruction, which will be set by the council by 15 November,” the organization said.
Obama: ‘Very hopeful’
Obama, speaking before the votes, said he was “very hopeful” about the developments, but warned much work remains to be done.
“I think, rightly, people have been concerned about whether Syria will follow through on the commitments that have been laid forth and I think there are legitimate concerns as to how technically we are going to be getting those chemical weapons out while there’s still fighting going on the ground,” Obama said.
Obama said the threat of U.S. military power pushed Syrian leaders to agree to destroy their chemical weapons and said the resolution “not only deters and prevents additional chemical use but actually goes beyond what could have been accomplished through any military action.”
The OPCW plans to send an advance team of inspectors to Damascus, an official with the organization, who declined to be identified while discussing delicate operations, told CNN on Friday.
The official said that in order to meet international deadlines for destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons, the group may opt for a “quick and dirty” program that would render the weapons unusable but wouldn’t destroy them, the official said.
U.S. official: Syrian CW list more complete than anticipated
‘Not a license to kill’
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has said his country is willing to transport and destroy Syrian chemical weapons, although only as part of an international coalition.
Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier in September took to The New York Times to argue against military intervention in Syria.
Striking Syria would have many negative ramifications, Putin argued in the piece, including the killing of innocent people, spreading violence around the Middle East, clouding diplomatic efforts to address Iran’s nuclear crisis and resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and “unleash(ing) a new wave of terrorism.”
In his remarks Friday night, Ban called on both the Syrian government and rebels to stop the fighting.
“As we mark this important step, we must never forget that the catalog of horrors in Syria continues with bombs and tanks, grenades and guns,” he said. “A red light for one form of weapons does not mean a green light for others. This is not a license to kill with conventional weapons.”
Syria submits ‘initial disclosure’ of chemical weapons program
‘No meaningful enforcement mechanisms’
Two Republican U.S. senators criticized the Security Council vote, saying it will do little to end the civil war.
“This resolution is another triumph of hope over reality,” John McCain and Lindsey Graham said in a statement. “It contains no meaningful or immediate enforcement mechanisms, let alone a threat of the use of force for the Assad regime’s noncompliance.”
The pair said al-Assad’s forces will continue to “use every weapon in their arsenal short of chemical weapons” on the Syrian people while receiving outside assistance from Russia, Iran and Hezbollah while doing so.
CNN’s Phil Gast, Chelsea J. Carter, Dana Ford, Andrew Carey and Jim Sciutto contributed to this report.
Johnson wins for record 8th time at Dover
His slice of track history was more than just another milestone to tack on his bio.
His latest win at his favorite track put the Chase field on notice that his run at a sixth championship in the No. 48 is gaining steam. Johnson never let Dale Earnhardt Jr. catch him down the stretch Sunday and won for a record eighth time at Dover International Speedway.
Johnson had shared the mark of seven wins on the concrete mile with Bobby Allison and Richard Petty.
”Truthfully, it was the first thought that went through my mind when I crossed the finish line,” Johnson said. ”It wasn’t long after I thought about the impact of winning in the Chase.”
Johnson’s win bumped him from third to second in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship standings. Matt Kenseth, who won the first two Chase races, holds an eight-point over Johnson as the Chase heads to Kansas for the fourth race.
Led by Johnson’s fifth win, the entire top 10 was made up of Chase drivers. Joey Logano, Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch rounded out the top five. Kevin Harvick, Kenseth, Ryan Newman, Greg Biffle and Clint Bowyer completed the top 10.
”You’ve got to win when you’re at your best track,” Johnson said. ”We had to win here today. I think any points on the 18 or 20 would have been a very good day. Max points, it’s an awesome day.”
Not so much for Earnhardt, who had one of the fastest cars, but he missed pit road and gave up the lead early in the race. He had a strong enough No. 88 Chevrolet to get back into the race and contend for his first win of the season but couldn’t pass Johnson.
”We left everybody in the mirror. We were clicking off some laps,” Earnhardt said. ”But just not fast enough to get to Jimmie.”
Kenseth kept his points lead even as he fell short in trying to become the first driver to win the first three Chase races.
”For how bad I felt like we struggled with the car, that was a decent finish,” Kenseth said.
Johnson dominated as he usually does at Dover and led 243 of the 400 laps to help extend his Chase record with his 23rd career win in 93 starts in NASCAR’s version of the playoffs. He swept Dover in 2002 and 2009 and won races in 2005, 2010 and 2012.
He jumped a restart and served a pass-through penalty that cost him the win in the spring race.
Crew chief Chad Knaus brought the same car back for this one and, this time, Johnson was pretty much flawless.
Johnson has his sights set on a bigger piece of NASCAR history. He’s in the hunt for his sixth Cup championship, which would put him one behind Petty and Dale Earnhardt Sr. for most in series history.
”Jimmie is probably the most underrated champion we have in this industry,” Knaus said. ”He is by far and above the most powerful driver over the course of the last 25, 35 years in this sport.”
Johnson caught a huge break when Earnhardt slowed during a green-flag pit stop and missed the entrance to pit road. He went from holding a 3.7-second lead on Johnson to trailing by more than 9 seconds after he finally made his stop.
Johnson took the lead – and took off for his 65th victory in 428 career starts. Even smart pit strategy that included a late four-tire stop wasn’t enough to boost Earnhardt past his Hendrick Motorsports teammate.
”The mistake I made coming on to pit road and missing pit road completely (cost us),” Earnhardt said. ”If I had not given up that track position and had a smart enough race to keep the lead when it counted, right at the end we might have won the race. It would have been hard to get by us just like it was hard to get by Jimmie.”
Other Chase driver finishes include, Kasey Kahne in 13th, Kurt Busch 21st, and Carl Edwards 35th. Edwards entered fourth in the standings but plummeted to 11th once a late tire issue sent him to the garage.
Most drivers insisted this weekend that it would not be a three-driver Chase. With seven races left, Kyle Busch is third and only 12 points back. But Harvick and Gordon are 39 points out, and Biffle and Newman are both more than 40 points behind.
It’s going to take major problems out of the top three and an improbable winning streak from some drivers in the back to shake up the standings.
Kyle Busch has a pair of seconds and a fifth to open the Chase.
”It’s certainly appealing and you could be happy with it,” he said, ”but we’re a little disappointed at the same time.”
Today, there are at least 486 community-wide drinking water advisories in Canada. (Thinkstock/Thinkstock)
How safe is Canada’s drinking water? It’s tough to know
The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Jun. 29 2011, 6:14 PM EDT
Last updated Monday, Sep. 10 2012, 10:53 AM EDT
If there’s one thing we can take for granted in Canada it’s that the water coming out of our taps is clean and pure.
Well, we may well be deluding ourselves.
Every day in this country there are roughly 1,000 boil-water advisories – warnings from public health authorities that tap water is unsafe to drink, that it poses a risk to cause illness or transmit disease.
Today, there are at least 486 community-wide drinking water advisories in places such as Sedley, Sask., and Cox’s Cove, Nfld.
Some of these warnings are new and temporary, but others have been in place for decades. Portugal Cove, Nfld., for example, has had a boil-water advisory since 1984.
The other 500 or so active advisories are in more contained but no less worrisome areas like nursing homes, provincial parks, schools, summer camps and so on – places where people are particularly vulnerable.
If the numbers are prefaced with terms like “approximately” and “at least” it is because there is no central repository for this information. In fact, there is not even a standard way of conveying warnings about drinking water safety. The terminology and the availability of information varies considerably between provinces, regions and even local health units.
Jeff Aramini is trying to change that troubling state of affairs with an initiative called Health and Safety Watch. ( http://www.healthandsafetywatch.com) “We think information is a key part of the safety net and our goal is to make it as easy as possible to get hold of this information,” he said.
Dr. Aramini, an epidemiologist who formerly worked at the Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada, has a bare-bones operation. It is essentially a website. “We got some start-up funding from Industry Canada but we’re currently unfunded,” he said.
Nonetheless, the site has a wealth of information on food recalls, drug safety warnings, infectious disease outbreaks and, of course, drinking water advisories.
Dr. Aramini is, like many scientists, pragmatic. “Having advisories that aren’t available or understandable is not very useful,” he said, with typical understatement.
Yet, while he tacitly recognizes that the way governments communicate public health information is often abysmal, he is careful not to point fingers. “It’s not really anybody’s fault. It’s just the way things have evolved over time,” he said.
But he hopes the next step in the evolution will be “making this information as easy to find as the weather report.”
There is a long way to go. Some governments don’t even publish boil-water advisories – meaning they make no effort to have information available beyond affected communities, often through an ad in a community newspaper. This 19th-century way of doing things puts travellers and visitors at risk and hides some important policy matters from the public eye.
The situation is particularly gruesome on native reserves, too many of which have Third World sewage and water. Unfortunately, information on the problem spots is not available on the Health and Safety Watch website because it is not released in a meaningful form by Health Canada.
With some digging on Health Canada’s website, you can learn that there are currently 111 drinking water advisories in the 600-odd first nations communities but not the names of specific reserves that are affected.
Some of these problems are not trivial. The Six Nations of Grand River, a burgeoning community of 17,000 in the heart of Southern Ontario, has struggled for decades with poor water quality but it is currently building a larger water filtration plant that should be up and running by year’s end. “In today’s world, we seem to forget the importance of the value of water in everyday lives,” said Chief William Montour.
We in the media – firmly rooted in big cities – also tend to ignore problems that bedevil rural and remote communities unless they reach dramatic proportions: Walkerton, Ont., where E. coli contaminated water killed seven people in 2000; North Battleford, Sask., where 7,000 residents fell ill when the water supply was tainted with cryptosporidium parasite in 2001 or; the Kashechewan reserve in Northern Ontario evacuation of 800 residents because of E. coli contamination of the water supply in 2005.
Of course, we need to maintain some perspective. Globally, about 885 million people live without any access to clean water. It is a major source of death, illness and economic burden. In Canada our water woes pale in comparison.
Still, there is a health impact from poor quality water, though determining the levels of gastroenteritis and diarrhea with any precision is near-impossible.
The reality is that it’s virtually impossible to adequately filter and treat everyone’s water, particularly in sparsely populated regions, even in a wealthy country like Canada.
Presumably, boil-water advisories are issued for a reason, because there is a real potential risk. As the population ages and increasing numbers of people live with immune deficiencies related to cancer and other chronic illnesses, these risks become all the greater.
Do public health officials – and governments more broadly – not have an obligation to ensure the public has safe drinking water?
Or, at the very least, do they not have an obligation to make information about unsafe water available to the public so they can protect themselves?
If they are incapable of transparency and effective communication, then the least they can do is to make information more readily available to those who can translate and package it, like such as Health and Safety Watch.
Investing in the timely dissemination of health information is certainly cheaper than mopping up after another Walkerton.
10 ways a government shutdown would affect your daily life
(CNN) — Ticktock. Ticktock.
If the Democrats and Republicans don’t stop bickering and agree to how the U.S. should pay its bills, the federal government will shut down, come October 1.
And at a time when the economy’s finally showing signs of life, that could be troubling.
Shutdowns don’t come cheap. Federal agencies have to use up time, energy and resources to plan for one. Shutting down and then reopening the government also costs money.
According to the Congressional Research Service, the two previous shutdowns — in late 1995 and early 1996 — cost the country $1.4 billion.
But what would a shutdown mean for you? Would your daily life be affected?
(The answer’s yes, so keep reading.)
Here are 10 ways a government shutdown would affect you.
10. Vacation all I ever wanted: Need to get away? Well, you can’t. At least not to national parks. Or to national zoos. Or to national museums. They’d all be closed. That’s 368 National Park Service sites closed, millions of visitors turned away.
Were you thinking more along the lines of a trip to France? If you don’t already have a passport, you might have to bid that adieu — you might not get your blue book in time. The last time the government threw a hissy fit, 200,000 applications for passports went unprocessed. Tourism and airline revenues reeled.
But according to the State Department’s current shutdown plan, offices will remain open because they generate enough in fees to support their operation. Any offices located in a federal building affected by the shutdown, however, may not be able to open.
9. Holiday. Celebrate: Don’t come to work if you’re a federal employee. You’re on furlough. (Offer not valid for workers in “critical services,” such as air traffic controllers, hazardous waste handlers and food inspectors.)
Do take some time to celebrate. In previous shutdowns, everyone who stayed home was paid retroactively after peace returned to Washington.
8. I won’t back down: The good news (for you) is that the men and women in uniform would continue to keep you safe. The bad news (for them) is that they’d be paid in IOUs until the shutdown ended. In January, Sens. Mark Udall, D-Colorado, and Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, introduced legislation that would have protected pay for the troops during a shutdown, but it didn’t get anywhere.
Rep. C.W. Young, chairman of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, told the Air Force Times, “All military personnel will continue to serve and accrue pay but will not actually be paid until appropriations are available.”
Their mid-October paycheck would be the first affected. In addition, the congressman told the paper, changes of station would be delayed, medical offerings would be scaled back, facility and weapons maintenance would be suspended and most civilian employees would be furloughed until appropriations are available.
Scenarios of the shutdown
7. If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street: You may be thinking, “No functioning government, no need to pay taxes.” Think again. The Man would continue to collect taxes. U.S. bonds would still be issued. And other essential banking functions would go on.
6. Wait a minute, Mr. Postman: You know that whole “Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night” thing? Apparently, the U.S. Postal Service works through shutdowns as well. Sorry, you won’t catch a break from the junk mail. But hey, you may already be a winner!
5. I want a new drug: Oh, the irony. The Republicans want to defund Obamacare in exchange for funding the government. But the health care act at the center of this storm would continue its implementation process during a shutdown. That’s because its funds aren’t dependent on the congressional budget process.
4. Pass the ammunition: Not so fast. A shutdown would affect the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Translation: That gun permit you wanted processed wouldn’t happen anytime soon.
3. Money (that’s what I want): Well, if you own a small business and needed a loan from the government, you’d have to wait. If you were planning to buy a house and needed a federal loan, you’d have to wait. If you’re a veteran, you might have to make a few trips to the mailbox before that check arrived.
If you’re on Social Security, however, don’t worry — probably. Social Security payments were sent during the last shutdown. President Obama’s expected to keep workers on the payroll to process checks. But would there be enough employees to process new benefits for the newly retired?
2. Anything dirty or dingy or dusty: Oscar the Grouch is a company of one. No one loves trash. But if you live in Washington, expect it to pile up if there’s a shutdown. There wouldn’t be anyone to collect your garbage. Washington’s budget has to be approved by Congress. No budget for the city = no trash collection. And, according to The Washington Post, D.C. produces about 500 tons of garbage each week.
1. I’m proud to be an American: Perhaps the biggest hit would be to the collective psyche. America is the largest economy in the world and a beacon for how democracy ought to work. To watch elected lawmakers engage in a high-stakes staring contest with no one willing to blink is no way to do business. A recent CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll found that 51% will blame Republicans if the government closes its doors. The U.S. has operated without a budget since 2009 and has avoided a government shutdown with last-minute deals. It’s been one stomach-turning sequel after another.
Not only does the government run out of money on October 1, the nation is set to hit the debt ceiling and go into default in mid-October. Together, they serve — in the words of CNN senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta — as a dysfunction double whammy.
10 Reasons Why Humor Is A Key To Success At Work
“A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
Tasteful humor is a key to success at work, but there’s a good chance your co-workers aren’t cracking jokes or packaging information with wit on a regular basis–and your office could probably stand to have a little more fun.
“Humor, by its nature, tends to have an edge to it, so people typically tone it down at work,” says Laura Vanderkam, author of What the Most Successful People Do at Work (Portfolio, 2013), and What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast (Portfolio, 2012). “It’s hard to do well and easy to do badly. Plus, we all have a tendency to take ourselves way too seriously.”
Michael Kerr, an international business speaker, president of Humor at Work, and author of The Humor Advantage: Why Some Businesses are Laughing all the Way to the Bank (Dec. 2013), says the amount or type of humor you’ll find in any given workplace depends almost entirely on the culture. “In workplaces that encourage people to be themselves–that are less hierarchical and more innovative–people tend to be more open with their humor,” he says. “Even people who aren’t always comfortable sharing their humor tend to do so in more relaxed environments where the use of humor becomes second nature with everyone’s style.”
Then there are workplaces with employees who tone down their humor, often with the desire to be taken more seriously, he adds. “Yet, this can backfire as people who take themselves overly seriously are often, ironically, taken less seriously by the people around them.”
Lynn Taylor, workplace expert and author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant, believes employees are much more comfortable using humor with colleagues than they are with their bosses. “You face a higher risk factor when joking around with your boss because you just don’t know how your lightheartedness may be taken. So, you generally find greater reticence to use humor with senior managers.”
Other reasons workers might hold back: A fear of offending someone; a fear of not being funny—that their humorous attempts will crash and burn; or the unwillingness to “get the ball rolling.”
“Many leaders, especially introverts, don’t know how to safely encourage the use of more humor at work and are unsure how to express it in their own leadership style,” Kerr explains. “Many of my clients also simply cite a lack of time as a key dampening factor. The desire is there, but they simply don’t know how to bring more humor into their busy work life.”
Whatever the reason may be, if you or your colleagues tend to be dry and dull in the office, you’ll want to work on injecting more humor into your workday.
Kerr says dozens of surveys suggest that humor can be at least one of the keys to success. A Robert Half International survey, for instance, found that 91% of executives believe a sense of humor is important for career advancement; while 84% feel that people with a good sense of humor do a better job. Another study by Bell Leadership Institute found that the two most desirable traits in leaders were a strong work ethic and a good sense of humor.
“At an organizational level, some organizations are tapping into what I’d call ‘the humor advantage,’” Kerr says. “Companies such as Zappos and Southwest Airlines LUV -0.41% have used humor and a positive fun culture to help brand their business, attract and retain employees and to attract customers.”
Taylor says humor demonstrates “maturity and the ability to see the forest through the trees.” You don’t have to be a stand-up comedian, she adds, “but well-placed humor that is clever and apropos to a business situation always enhances an employee’s career.”
Here are 10 additional reasons why humor is a key to success at work:
People will enjoy working with you. “People want to work with people they like,” Vanderkam says. “Why wouldn’t you? You spend huge chunks of your waking hours at work, so you don’t want it to be a death march. Humor–deftly employed–is a great way to win friends and influence people. You need to be funny, but not snarky (that’s not good for team building) and you can’t offend anyone.”
Humor is a potent stress buster. “In fact, it’s a triple whammy,” Kerr explains. “Humor offers a cognitive shift in how you view your stressors; an emotional response; and a physical response that relaxes you when you laugh.”
It is humanizing. “Humor allows both employees and managers to come together, realizing that we all seek common ground,” Taylor says.
It puts others at ease. Humor is a way to break through the tension barrier, she says.
“Research shows that humor is a fabulous tension breaker in the workplace,” Kerr adds. “People who laugh in response to a conflict tend to shift from convergent thinking where they can see only one solution, to divergent thinking where multiple ideas are considered.”
Ha + ha = aha! “Humor is a key ingredient in creative thinking,” Kerr says. “It helps people play with ideas, lower their internal critic, and see things in new ways.” Humor and creativity are both about looking at your challenges in novel ways and about making new connections you’ve never thought about before, he adds.
Taylor agrees. She says humor “establishes a fertile environment for innovation because people are more inspired when they are relaxed.”
It helps build trust. “You can build trust with the effective use of humor because humor often reveals the authentic person lurking under the professional mask,” Kerr says.
He explains that numerous studies suggest that people who share a healthy, positive sense of humor tend be more likable and are viewed as being more trustworthy. “Humor is also viewed as sign of intelligence,” he adds. “All of these characteristics, as well as the fact that humor is a fabulous icebreaker and can tear down walls, can help people build relationships in the workplace, and especially these days, relationships are critical to success.”
It boosts morale. Humor boosts morale and retention while reducing turnover because employees look forward to coming to work, Taylor says. “Employees like to work for and with others who have a sense of humor. We all prefer to have fun at work. It should not feel like an indentured servitude environment.”
People who use humor tend to be more approachable. The more approachable you are, especially as a leader, the more honest and open people around you will be, Kerr says. “And the more honest and open people tend to be, the more successful and innovative teams tend to be.”
Humor can allow your company to stand out. “It can help companies stand out and go beyond with their customer service, garnering them a huge loyal following,” he says. If you want to stand out from the pack, using humor with your service is an effective way to do that.
It can increase productivity. “Humor creates an upbeat atmosphere that encourages interaction, brainstorming of new ideas, and a feeling that there are few risks in thinking outside the box. All that leads to greater productivity,” Taylor explains. “It also stands to reason that if you’re in a more jovial atmosphere, you’ll have more passion for what you do. Your work ethic will increase, and your enthusiasm will likely be contagious. It’s a win-win for you and your employer.”