April Fools’ Day is a great opportunity to lift the spirits of your team and add excitement to their day. A memorable joke can go a long way in making employees feel connected to one another, leading to better communication and productivity.
If the stapler-in-Jell-o style prank is not your thing (fans of The Office will understand), here are 10 clever practical jokes to try this April Fools’ Day, whether you’re in office or working remotely.
Pranks for the Office
- Change a colleague’s computer wallpaper to something ridiculous. If they have more than one monitor, you have more than one opportunity to start their day with something goofy. It’s funniest if you keep to a theme, and bonus points if you continue the theme beyond their screens. Try printing out some additional photos to decorate their desk area.
- Who doesn’t love free snacks at the office? Bring in one healthy snack and one guilty pleasure treat your coworkers will love. Swap the boxes, so the healthy snack is packaged as the treat and vice versa. One good example is setting out a vegetable tray disguised as a box of donuts, and then hiding the donuts from the box in the office fridge.
- Use a children’s doll to stand in as yourself or a coworker, and see how long it takes for anyone to notice. Dress it up to look like the person you’re representing and prop it up in your chair. This silly prank also makes for a funny surprise to kick off a Zoom meeting!
- Does someone in the office keep a framed photo of a loved one on their desk? Before they make it to the office one morning, swap it out with a stock photo of a generic smiling family member or pet – something that looks similar to the original photo at a glance. They’ll think their eyes are deceiving them until you take credit for this subtle (but amusing) prank.
- It seems like wireless computer mice are always acting up. This time, purposely ensure it will to trick a coworker, by blocking the sensor on the bottom of the mouse. Tape a silly note or sticker over the sensor and practice your evil laugh from afar as they struggle to click, until checking the bottom of the mouse.
Pranks for Remote Workers
- Before your next big meeting (think all-hands for smaller teams or a department-wide meeting for bigger companies), choose a few teammates to choreograph a quick flash mob-type dance. Decide when you’ll start and if you want any props. This prank takes a lot of preparation, but is definitely worth it once you see your team’s reactions!
- Take the (virtual) vacation you’ve always dreamed of, and make your coworkers jealous. Find a realistic-looking Zoom background that makes it look like you’re sitting on a lounge chair at the beach. Consider one of these. Dress the part and see if anyone calls your bluff.
- Warn everyone that your keyboard is broken, and go the whole day pretending it’s true. Choose a common letter to “malfunction,” and send messages with that letter purposely missing from words. For example, if you choose the letter “T,” you might write something like, “jus leing you all know my lapop keyboard is acing up, and the letter after “S” isn’ working!”
- Create a fake colleague! Give them a work email address or Slack profile and introduce them to your whole team. Watch the friendly welcome messages pour in, and the panic HR experiences when they can’t recall this new hire. To take it one step further, wait until the end of the day and plan a virtual meeting to introduce the new employee. Set up a laptop for your pet or child and see how long it takes for everyone to realize the new employee’s a little underqualified.
- Speaking of Slack, you could even change your profile photo and display name and take on an alternate identity for the day. Whether you choose a fictional character, a celebrity or steal a coworker’s identity, the whole team will be abuzz when the unidentified person chimes in with a great idea in the company channel.
When planning a prank at work, keep a few things in mind: it shouldn’t put anyone or anything in harm’s way. This means to avoid anything that could be offensive, damage property or expose private information. The bottom line is to remain respectful, safe and professional while making everyone laugh. And of course, have fun!