April Fools' Day pranks for the office
April Fools' Day is upon us and high jinks are afoot.
With more people back in the office this year, the time is ripe for making mischief.
But take heed: this fun tradition can easily turn into an HR nightmare if misjudged.
What may seem like humour to one colleague could be a red line for another.
But fear not; the team at The Hub Events have drawn up a list of things to consider when plotting your April Fools' Day prank.
5 things to consider when planning your April Fools' Day prank
1 Physical comedy
Physical comedy has its time and place, and that time and place is not in an office environment.
There is a very real possibility that office equipment can be damaged, even worse would be harming one of your co-workers.
Moreover, even if the participant is not injured, it could make them deeply uncomfortable. So it would be wise to avoid any acts of physical comedy.
2 Consider your workplace culture
Serious office environments are not wholly conducive to a pranking culture.
If you have worked at your company for a while, then you will have a good idea of what, if any, pranks would be permissible.
If you are working in a higher risk job, like in a lab or factory, your pranks would be more limited. After all, a seemingly harmless prank could have serious repercussions in a riskier work environment.
3 Don't make your colleagues uncomfortable
With comedy, it's really important to understand your audience.
Pranks and jokes that would be fine to do amongst friends might not work in an office environment.
It would be best to avoid crass humour and steer clear of anything sexual.
This could give your colleagues the wrong impression and could get you seriously reprimanded or even fired.
4 Don't prank clients
It's all well and good pranking the people you work with.
It is when these pranks affect client relationships that things can go wrong.
They won’t find it funny and it will just come across as unprofessional.
5 Think about the consequences of your actions
There is a line between a harmless prank and harassment that you should not cross.
You must think about who you are pranking, your previous relationships with them and what the consequences of your prank could be.
You cannot control somebody's reaction to your prank but you can try to think about things from their point of view to avoid any unnecessary upset.
Christine Macdonald, MD of The Hub Events, said: "April Fools is meant to be fun. So having a list of dos and don'ts might seem antithetical to having a good time.
"However, they are needed when you want everyone to have fun. Nobody wants a lawsuit on their hands after an ostensibly harmless prank."
10 April Fools' Day pranks with the HR seal of approval
1 Cardboard cutouts
From Nicholas Cage to Danny Devito, cutouts of famous celebrities always manage to bring a laugh out of anyone.
You can hide these behind doorways or in windows to give a shock to your colleagues.
If you want to go the extra mile, why not make ones of yourself and strategically place them around the office
2 Balloon room
Whilst less infuriating than a glitter bomb, it is far easier to clean up.
Filling up the conference room with balloons is a harmless and colourful prank that people can enjoy from the spectacle and effort alone.
3 Family swap
If you have some photo-editing skills and are in for a long-haul prank then consider copying and photoshopping your colleague's desk photos.
Swap out their loved ones for one of your favourite characters and see how long it takes them to notice.
4 Did you get my memo?
A classic in every sense of the word.
Sticking post-its all over someone's workspace is as time-consuming as it is funny.
You don't have to stop there. You can even go as far as to cover their car in post-its and see how long it takes for them to get rid of it all.
5 Topsy-turvy world
The fastest prank you can do on this list, and possibly one of the longest to fix if your mark is not computer savvy.
Go to display settings and flip the computer screen horizontally, so that everything is upside down.
Watch and laugh as they struggle to get things back to normal.
6 Mouse trap
Another prank from the days of yore.
Tape over the sensor on your co-worker’s mouse and watch as they figure out why their computer isn't working.
Attaching an airhorn underneath a chair or behind a door is a timeless prank.
There's nothing more satisfying or as basic as a jump scare. Nobody said that April Fools' pranks were high art.
8 He’s behind you!
Whilst working from home, Zoom backgrounds did a lot of heavy lifting in the prank department.
The most creative fun you can have is to turn your remote background into a video.
It can be anything from your doppelganger walking into the room, or a mysterious figure in the doorway.
9 Hot mic
There's nothing more anxiety-inducing than wondering if your microphone is on during a meeting.
One prank would be to stage this situation and make your co-workers believe that you think you're on mute.
See how long it takes for your co-workers to interrupt you and others in your household from saying some really embarrassing things.
10 That’s a wrap
Gift wrap your prank this year by wrapping all of your co-worker's belongings in gift wrap.
It’s always the pranks that have the most effort put into them that are the most satisfying.
So don't skimp out on the attention to detail. Only neat wrapping is allowed.
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