Everyone is a Comedian ... At Work?

Survey Says Humour in Canadian Offices is an Important Part of Company Culture

Toronto, ON (March 28, 2017) – It’s said that laughter is the best medicine and it also may be one of the keys to success at work, a new Accountemps survey suggests. Seventy-three per cent of Canadian CFOs interviewed said an employee’s sense of humour is at least somewhat important for fitting into the company’s corporate culture, with 12 per cent stating humour is very important.

CFOs were asked, “How important is an employee’s sense of humour in him or her fitting into your company’s corporate culture?” Their responses*:

Very important


Somewhat important


Not important at all




*Responses do not equal 100 per cent due to rounding.

“A lighthearted, fun work environment helps boost staff morale, and cultivate positive relationships between colleagues,” said Dianne Hunnam-Jones, Canadian president of Accountemps. “Incorporating humour into the workplace encourages a more collaborative culture, which can improve overall productivity and engagement.”

“Some company matters are more serious in nature, but with the right tone, a little laugh can recover a tense moment,” added Hunnam-Jones. “Light jokes may help diffuse a situation or mishap, keeping people at ease and focused on more important business concerns.”

Accountemps offers five rules for using humour in the workplace:

  1. Show your personality. When used appropriately, humour can help build rapport with colleagues. Interviewing for a new job? Consider weaving in some wit to build chemistry with the hiring manager and show that you are approachable – a trait of a good leader. As an added bonus, it can help alleviate nervous jitters.
  2. Consider the circumstances. Comedians know timing is everything. While a chuckle or two can help diffuse stressful situations, cracking one-liners during a serious meeting is an unwelcome distraction.
  3. Use the right medium. Be cautious when using humour in an email or instant message – it might fall flat or be misinterpreted because the recipient cannot see your facial expressions or hear the tone of your voice. 
  4. Laugh with them – not at them. Never use humour at the expense of others, and be mindful about sarcastic or demeaning comments that can be off-putting or offensive. Poking fun at yourself is safer; it shows that you are self-aware and don’t take yourself too seriously.
  5. Keep it G-rated. Steer clear of inappropriate or negative remarks that could make someone feel uncomfortable. If you’re unsure of how your joke may be received, keep it to yourself.

About the Research

The survey was developed by Accountemps and conducted by an independent research firm. It includes responses from more than 270 CFOs from a stratified random sample of companies in Canada.

About Accountemps
Accountemps, a Robert Half company, is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. The staffing firm has 325 offices worldwide. More resources, including job search services and the company’s blog, can be found at roberthalf.ca/accountemps. Follow us at @RobertHalf_CAN for additional workplace news and hiring trends.

For further information contact: Naz Araghian, (416) 865-2140, [email protected]

Availability Status

Let us know you're ready to work with one click.

Update My Status

Set Your Status

Click the blue button on your profile page at least once a week to keep your status set to Available.

Set Your Status

Your status will automatically change to Idle and Unknown over time, so update it weekly while you’re looking for work

Update My Status