April is a time to celebrate something many people enjoy — a clever and well-timed practical joke. While April Fools Day is not a holiday that warrants the day off, you can still plan to have fun playing pranks on your coworkers at the office. Here are some great ideas that are sure to put a smile on the faces of everyone involved.
What Are The Rules Of Engagement?
When it comes to pranking your coworkers, you will want to make sure your antics stay in the “funny” category and don’t slip into the “destructive,” “mean,” or “humiliating” categories. Here are some things to carefully consider and steer away from before planning any April Fools’ Day pranks at work.
- Do anything illegal (i.e. vandalism, harassment, or theft)
- Do things that will cause unwarranted stress or discomfort for the target
- Do anything that can’t be cleaned up within 5–10 minutes
- Intentionally humiliate your target
- Do anything that could result in injury or damage to property
- Use aerosol substances like stink spray, perfume spray, sneeze powder, etc. as this can cause allergies and, in extreme cases, visits to the hospital
- Tamper with food
While many of these categories are common for pranks, they can often be very disruptive and have unintended consequences, especially at work. Remember: April Fools’ Day is supposed to be fun, so let’s make sure we keep it that way in the office. With that being said, let’s go over some of the best in-office (and remote) prank ideas.
Go For The Classics
Many of the “classic” April Fools Day gags are perfectly safe for the workplace. We’re talking snakes in a can, fake roaches on a keyboard, and hand buzzers. Anything that’s cheap, safe, and non-offensive will work. For example, you could:
- Offer your coworkers gum with a (painless) spring-loaded trap inside.
- Base a gag around a pun. For example, you could yell “come quick, there’s water running down the stairs,” then watch your coworkers roll their eyes and chuckle when they see you’ve used a play on words like this family.
- Pretend you are consuming something inedible and see their reaction. This can be as simple as electing to drink your coffee or water for the day out of a (clean) spray bottle.
Lean On Meme
A well-placed meme can be just the thing to bring some harmless fun into the workday. Just print out a meme and tape it in a location where it will be seen:
- Tape a picture of your coworkers’ favorite actor to the ceiling. Ideally, this would be an actor who is in a show or movie a lot of your coworkers watch. It’s super fun to see who will notice first. Just be careful while placing it.
- Tape a tiny printed meme to the bottom of your coworker’s mouse. Watch as they try to figure out why their mouse isn’t working, only to flip it over and laugh at your hilarious jest.
- Re-create popular memes with your coworkers by coming up to work dressed up as popular formats. Post your personalized memes with work-related captions and inside jokes around the office — and get as creative as you want.
Confuse Your Coworkers
You can play some great psychological tricks on your coworkers. The best part? They require zero clean-up! Spend some time bamboozling your office companions with the following pranks:
- Get several of your coworkers to impersonate someone on your team by changing their names in your group messaging service. Hilarity is bound to ensue when all of the “Pam Johnsons” or “Terry Smiths” are arguing over who’s an imposter and who’s the real deal.
- Insist that something ridiculous about yourself or a coworker is true. This will have to be something believable, so don’t go too far overboard. Perhaps you could convince them that you’re a descendant of royalty, with bonus points if you can get them to call you “your majesty.” Just be sure to not let this get too far out of hand, and keep it light. There’s a fine line between something that’s funny and playful and something that’s mean, so make sure you steer away from anything potentially hurtful and consider getting the target in on the bit beforehand. Bonus points if you put some effort into creating fake evidence.
- Make up some silly slang. You’ll have to get 5–6 people on board to really get this going. You can consider it a success once you’ve gotten everyone in the office to describe things as “totally roach” or “big sputnik.”
- Create an “odd man out.” That doesn’t mean leaving one person out — that means focusing your prank on surprising and delighting one person. For example, perhaps you and your coworkers could decide you’re all going to dance while passing by a certain coworker’s desk — or sing when you speak to everyone but them. See how long it takes them to notice that they are the center of attention. As always, keep this fun and friendly with the goal of making sure everyone is having a good time.
Bother The Boss
Nothing brings people together quite like finding an excuse to harass the big boss. If you know your boss has a good sense of humor, a number of fun tricks will get the whole office to rally behind you. Just make sure you’re keeping things appropriate and lighthearted.
This is also a category it might be best to steer away from if your boss is self-conscious or doesn’t appreciate tomfoolery, so use your best judgment.
- You can cover your boss’s desk with framed photos of themselves (bonus points if you have some fun but appropriate photoshopped pics).
- Have everyone in the office dress up as your boss and adopt their favorite catchphrases. Be sure to keep your portrayal flattering and non-offensive and watch as your boss tries to keep a straight face.
- Have everyone bring your boss a bizarre gift — like a rubber duck or a sponge. Offer no explanation and insist that this is part of some inside joke they have forgotten — at least until the end of the day.
- Cut out tiny pictures of your boss and tape them around the office for a live game of “Where’s Waldo?” If you’re clever enough, you might keep finding hidden pictures well into the summer.
Even if you work from home, you can still pull plenty of fun pranks for April Fools’ Day. Some of the aforementioned pranks will work as well, so long as they rely on a visual gag and don’t require in-person contact. Just be sure your behavior isn’t too disruptive, and as always, use discretion to gauge whether your supervisors will find a practical joke funny or inappropriate, especially during a meeting.
Here are some of our top picks:
- Construct a random flash-mob (ideally in costume) during a companywide meeting. Bonus points if the organizers are out of the loop.
- During a meeting, have some of your coworkers casually put on more and more pieces of a costume until everyone looks like the cast from a popular movie or TV show at the end. The more discreet you can be, the better. This can even be as simple as everyone casually putting on a fake mustache and keeping a straight face until someone notices.
- Let your pet stand in for you during your Zoom meeting. Bonus points if you can dress them up like yourself.
- Similar to the idea above, you could also dress your child up like yourself and have them sit in for you as well. Bonus points if you can get them to say something formal like, “We have to prioritize improving our ROI this quarter” or “We need to focus more on generating fruitful leads while staying within the budget.”
- Get a group to send your supervisor the same message completely out-of-context. The more irrelevant, the better. For example, your coworkers could all message “Hey, have you seen my (insert random object)?” to your HR manager or Project Manager at the same time. Just make sure the person you’re messaging has a good sense of humor and won’t have their whole day disrupted by your antics.
We hope this guide was helpful for you no matter what your work environment looks like. April Fools’ Day is a time to make memories with friends and acquaintances through levity and humor. We hope this time of year brings you and your coworkers joy and laughter you can reminisce on for years to come. Happy April Fools’ Day!