April Fool’s Day can be a tricky time, pun intended. April 1st is the day your office tricksters will come out to play practical jokes on coworkers. Considering how subjective humor is, this holiday can quickly turn from fun into a nightmare for your company culture.
I’ve talked a lot about the importance of a top-notch company culture when it comes to attracting and hiring the best people. The people you want to see on the other side of the webcam in a video interview — or the other side of the desk in a more traditional sit-down meeting — are those excited about your positive company culture.
These are the people who will not only add value to your organization, but also improve your culture with their enthusiasm and excitement for the job. This is why it’s so important to guard your organizational culture against any morale busters.
April Fool’s Day can be a fun day full of harmless pranks, or it could be a tough day full of hurt feelings. If your company has a fun, laid-back company culture, then dismissing April Fool’s Day altogether will seem overly restrictive and harsh. However, it might be a good idea to set down some guidelines for April Fool’s jokes and pranks.
Ask employees to first and foremost consider the feelings of their coworkers before devising their pranks. Pranks that are overly personal, damage property, or are likely to result in hurt feelings should be absolutely off the table. Also, ask employees to consider their motivations. Is it a lighthearted joke or is revenge the motivation? If it’s the latter, perhaps this is one April Fool’s they should sit out.
Have a brief meeting before April 1st or send out an email to employees to let them know you want them to have fun while still staying respectful. Once these guidelines are in place, however, here are some fun April Fool’s pranks sure to have the whole office laughing:
A Stapler Classic
From the cubicle satire Office Space to NBC’s long-running comedy The Office, staplers have played a big role in workplace comedy. If you’ve watched The Office, then you’ve probably seen this prank. In one of the show’s early episodes, office prankster Jim plays a delicious (pun again intended) prank on deskmate Dwight. He takes Dwight’s stapler and encases it in a jello mold. This prank is so well known (and apparently well-loved) there are even tutorials online to help you pull this sweet deception.
My Mouse Isn’t Working!
This is a harmless prank that’s both simple and effective. When it comes to office annoyances, there’s little more troubling than a mouse refusing to work. A simple strip of clear tape along the bottom of the mouse, covering the laser tracker, will do the trick. Sometimes the simplest pranks are also the best.
This prank, which has appeared on lists from Mashable and The Grindstone, is both fun and likely to foster a team spirit among coworkers. Everyone in on the prank needs to bring in several changes of clothes. Then, throughout the day, each member of the prank will switch up their outfit. Make sure you have more costume changes than the average Cher concert and eventually those not in on the prank will wonder what in the world is going on.
Wrap It Up!
Some pranks are as simple as a well-placed piece of tape, and some pranks take planning, follow through, and a whole lot of aluminum foil. In this prank, you wait until one lucky officemate has left the building, then wrap every single thing on his or her desk in aluminum foil. (Wrapping paper would also work.) This is no prank for the faint of heart, as wrapping everything takes some time, but it’s a prank that’s inventive, fun, and harmless.
There’s no need for your office to sit out April Fool’s Day as long as you set down ground rules to ensure pranks are more fun than harmful. Your company culture will remain intact, your office will have a good time, and you might just end up with enough aluminum foil to wrap your sandwiches for a year.
Favorite April Fools?
What are some fun April Fool’s jokes for the office? How do you keep pranks from damaging your company culture? Share in the comments!