What’s acceptable banter in the work place to avoid upsetting people?

Banter and leg-pulling in the hospitality setting can be a tricky topic, as what is acceptable can vary depending on the context and the individuals involved, as well as the pressures of intensive working patterns.


Here are some general guidelines (include in your employee handbook) to consider when it comes to workplace banter:

1. Be respectful: Banter should always be respectful and avoid any comments or jokes that could be considered offensive, hurtful and discriminatory. It’s important to be aware of cultural and individual differences, as what may be acceptable in one context may not be in another.

2. Avoid sensitive topics: Certain topics, such as religion, politics, and personal relationships, can be sensitive and should generally be avoided in workplace banter. It’s important to be mindful of the potential impact of your words on others.

3. Don’t single out individuals: Banter should be inclusive and not single out individuals or groups based on their personal characteristics. Any comments or jokes that could be considered discriminatory or offensive should be avoided.

4. Be mindful of power dynamics: Banter between colleagues of different levels of authority or seniority can be complicated and may create power imbalances. It’s important to be mindful of these dynamics and to avoid any comments or jokes that could be seen as inappropriate or disrespectful.

5. Use humor to build connections: Banter can be a powerful tool for building connections and promoting a positive work environment. Using humor to build bridges and connect with colleagues can be a great way to foster a sense of camaraderie and teamwork.

By your people being sensitive to the potential impact of your words on others and using humour to build connections, you can create a positive and supportive work environment that promotes productivity and success. Not following these 5 tips may lead to fractured relationships and potentially HR issues. 

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