For years practical jokes have been used as a way to welcome or “initiate” employees into a new or unfamiliar office environment. The great news is that harmless pranks are an excellent way to help promote camaraderie and an overall positive attitude in the workplace.
When pranking is done the right way, it also helps more isolated or introverted people feel included. Whether you’re planning on a simple prank or a more elaborate prank, we’ve got some great ideas for you to try.
Office Pranks Using Common Household Items
Try the following pranks using only these simple items found around the house.
Wrapping paper: You will need at least a few hours to complete this prank, so try to accomplish this on their day off. Just take all of your leftover wrapping paper from the holidays and cover everything in their office or coworking space. This includes the desk, chair, walls, and individual items such as the computer, stapler, and even pencil cup.
Add some colorful bows and ribbons for an extra bit of flourish. If you want to get creative, place “To” and “From” gift tags on each item, too. When your coworker returns to work after their short break, they will have plenty of “presents” to open. This prank is pretty popular around the holiday season, but it’s certainly funny any time of the year!
Sticky notes: For this prank, your office mate needs to be away from their car, truck, van, or other vehicle for a short while. While they are preoccupied, take sticky notes and place them over every inch of the car. It’s possible you will need at least a few hundred.
If you really want to leave a lasting impression, you can use one type of color for each part of the car – windshield, doors, windows, and roof. Create patterns or write a special message. Since sticky notes are lightweight and easy to remove, they won’t cause any damage to the vehicle at all.
Use just one sticky note: If you don’t have hundreds of sticky notes at your disposal, it’s possible to create the perfect prank with only one. Write the words “Voice Activated” on a note and stick it on an appliance in the kitchen. A toaster, microwave, or coffee maker will be perfect. If the item is new to the break room, even better! Employees will see the note and attempt to “command” the appliance into working.
Balloons: Enclosed offices or cubicles can easily be filled to the brim with balloons. Enlist the help of others to blow up the right amount of balloons in a short period of time.
Googly eyes: Purchase Googly eyes in bulk. Now you can decorate small items in the kitchen or shared space. Place them on appliances or items on your coworker’s desk. Or, take them to your boss’ office and redecorate their photos.
Keyboard Chia Garden: Even those without a green thumb can participate. Simply swap your coworker’s keyboard with an old one (can be purchased at thrift stores for a few bucks), and shake a little potting soil inside. Carefully spread the tiny Chia seeds in between the buttons. Spray a little water, add some sunshine, and in a few days, you will have a mini keyboard garden growing on your victim’s desk.
Office Pranks With Easy to Use Technology
Change their desktop background: To warn you ahead of time, your coworker may think there’s something wrong with their computer! First, access their computer and capture their current screen (just hold down the Control and Print Screen keys simultaneously). Then save the captured image. Next, go to their Control Panel and save that image as their desktop background. It will look exactly like their current desktop, but without the ability to click or open programs.
Use a Chrome extension: There is a Chrome extension called nCage that you can download to a coworker’s computer. This… unique extension changes every single image in your browser to Nicolas Cage. They may realize something is wrong pretty quickly after they visit a few websites.
Use Autocomplete: Enter funny words or phrases into Microsoft Word’s Autocomplete feature. There are a lot of possibilities for this prank. For example, every time they type their own name, you can automatically change it to “Fool”. For something a little more subtle, replace a word with a misspelling. For instance, change the word “Work” to “Werk.”
Change the screen orientation: This computer prank changes how you view the desktop screen entirely. Just go to the computer’s Control Panel, then select “Display”. There you can change the orientation settings by selecting “Landscape.” This flips the screen to a very confusing landscape view!
Use their mouse: If your boss or coworker has an optical mouse, place a tiny piece of Scotch tape over the bottom. The cursor will stop moving as a result.
Change their homepage: Another simple yet effective one. You can go into a person’s browser preferences and change their homepage to a website of your choosing. It’s better to pick a funny or ridiculous website instead of the company website. For some inspiration, try out this video.
Rules of Etiquette for Office Pranks
Finally, just a few rules. Pranks that go too far are no fun for anyone, so as long as you stick to some common etiquette, you shouldn’t have a problem.
- Make sure no one can get hurt. If there’s a chance someone will fall or hit something because of your prank, this could result in a serious injury or a costly bill from the hospital. Just keep it safe.
- If someone expressly says they don’t want to be pranked, try to respect that. Sometimes individuals don’t appreciate being tricked, and that’s okay. Keep these pranks between yourself and those who you think would enjoy it.
- Don’t bring up serious subjects. If you are in a position of management and you prank employees by stating “You’re fired!,” “You’re getting relocated!,” or “You’re working over the weekend!” it might evoke a strong reaction. Try to maintain some sensitivity.
- Be prepared for retaliation. If you prank others, you should definitely expect them to get creative and return the favor as well!