Sometimes the office can get a little boring. And that’s when some good ol’ fashioned pranks can bring it back to life!
Our Favorite Harmless Pranks For Work
- Family photo swap
- Wrapping paper prank
- Sticky notes for everyone!
- Desk aquarium
- Worst speller of all time
- Healthy donuts
Here are 6 of the best harmless pranks you can pull in the office that are fun for everyone!
See Related: 8 Mental Health Activities For The Workplace
#1. Photo Swap
Pranks are about hilarious activities that leave people confused or entertained. So whenever your coworkers are least suspecting it, you can unleash a great trick to get everyone laughing!
The thing about office pranks is they shouldn’t go too far. Though some genuine fun can help brighten moods and lift spirits, the wrong kinds of pranks can leave people feeling a little upset.
Remember that the office is still a professional environment!
But pranks, in general, can be entertaining to play in the office. It can help people unite and ignite friendships while boosting engagement and productivity!
You can get in on the pranking fun even if you’re a manager or supervisor. This is even better for you, as it will allow you to build rapport with your employees and show them you can play along.
How To Ensure Your Office Prank Is Appropriate For The Workplace
If you’re looking to pull off an elaborate office prank, you should probably consider beforehand if it’ll be a prank that will benefit the office.
Ensure you won’t be pulling a prank that fosters negative feelings!
There can be a thin line when figuring out whether your prank is good to go. And much of it comes down to the person you’re pulling the prank on.
Some people have a better sense of humor than others. A prank that might leave one coworker laughing and enjoying the moment might be the thing that leaves another angry and upset.
Know your audience.
It’s also a good idea not to pull any prank that would end up being offensive. Steer clear of political or religious messages or anything else you think won’t have a home in a professional setting.
Things To Keep In Mind While Pranking
The key to a successful and enjoyable prank is common sense. Use it!
If you think something might go too far, don’t do it. It’s better to be safe than sorry at work. It’s a good idea not to be too risky with your pranks. But, again, know your audience.
Here are some things to ask yourself before starting your pranks:
- Will this destroy or damage part of the office? (Don’t pull pranks that will leave your workplace torn up!)
- Will anyone get physically hurt? (This is a clear sign not to pull that prank.)
- Will anyone get mentally hurt? (Sometimes, the deepest wounds we have aren’t visible. So be mindful of people’s feelings!)
- Will it cause someone else to get into trouble? (Don’t pull a prank that could make others liable for your choices.)
- Will anyone be offended? (It’s a good idea not to purposefully offend people at work.)
- Will it break the law? (This should be a no-brainer.)
- Will it waste ample amounts of time? (Don’t pull a prank that will cause people to lose hours of their day. That’s not a very considerate thing to do!)
Once again, use common sense when planning pranks. It’s pretty easy to understand if your prank will be a good idea or a bad one once you start to think about it.
Don’t just mindlessly start pranking people!
For example, when we put on a show at Clean Comedians®, we ensure that any entertainment we provide will be all-inclusive and fun for everyone involved. That’s what true comedy is all about, and a great way to make your company event a hit!
And keep in mind that pulling the fire alarm is not a good prank. For starters, it’s illegal. Hopefully, we shouldn’t even need to tell you that one.
The Benefits Of Pulling A Great Office Prank
Pranks are great for many reasons. They give us a great excuse to laugh and keep the mood light. But they’re great for more reasons than that!
Pranks are an effective way to boost morale and improve motivation. When days feel slow, a little fun pranking can help people feel a bit better.
They’re also great for helping people feel more creative, increasing employee satisfaction, and reducing stress and burnout. So, the next time you think of pranking someone, do it for the sake of the office!
A Simple Prank That Can Get People Laughing
Here’s a simple, harmless prank that can get things cooking.
Most people have pictures of loved ones or friends and family at their desks in the office. And with a family photo swap, you can change their beloved photos for something more silly!
Here’s how to pull this one off:
Make sure you arrive at work early. It’s not a prank if you get caught in the act! Make sure you show up with plenty of weird photos (nothing that can get you in trouble) to put in the frames. It can be pictures of animals wearing clothes or maybe something regarding an inside joke.
Go to everyone’s desk, and swap out as many photos as possible (ideally, all of them). Put the frame in the same spot you found it, then head to your desk and wait for the day to start!
#2. Wrap Your Coworker Some Birthday Presents!
Everyone loves a good birthday. For someone, it means plenty of attention. And for the rest, it means tasty cake!
But what if you turned someone’s birthday into something a bit more mischievous?
Here’s how this prank goes:
Stock up on plenty of wrapping paper, tape, and time before the day of the prank. It would also perhaps be a good idea to enlist the help of a coworker.
You’ll likely need around three to four rolls of paper, as you’ll be wrapping all the contents of one of your coworker’s workspaces! So, when it comes time to wrap, make sure you encase everything from their physical desk to items like their mouse, trash can, stapler, picture frames, and more.
You can even wrap their computer!
Remember, you’ll need plenty of time to pull this off. So either arrive early or do it when they aren’t around!
The great thing about this office prank is it doesn’t actually need to be someone’s birthday to pull it off. It could be a holiday, like Christmas, or practically any day of the year!
And from then on, you’ll be known as the local comedian found ’round the workplace.
Bonus: The 8 Different Types Of Laughter
#3. Stick Some Post-It Notes Around
Don’t want to waste precious wrapping paper? Here’s a similar prank with similar results!
Instead of using paper, you can instead use post-its! Who said that sticky notes could only be used for professional things?
The great thing about this prank is it can be done with less time to spare. So during the day, when your coworker steps away from their desk, it’s time to get to work.
Get some colleagues to help you with it, and start sticky-noting their entire desk! Make sure you cover every square inch from their chair to their computer monitor.
Don’t forget to cover the walls as well.
Get it all!
#4. Fish Drawer
If you’re not one for the tamest of pranks, here’s an elaborate trick that will take some finesse. It’s not for the faint of heart!
You’ll need a bit more supplies for this one. It’ll involve building a little aquarium in your coworker’s drawer. And that can take a bit of effort.
Like all pranks, this starts with your target employee being away from their desk. It’s a good idea to come into the office early one day, so you have ample time to get it set up. You want to make sure it’s completed before they show up!
First things first: get your supplies.
You’ll need the following:
- Aquarium rocks
- Aquarium plants
- Anything else to create a stylish aquarium!
- Plenty of room temperature water
- Large pieces of water-proof plastic
- Duct tape
- Fish food
- Live goldfish!
The goldfish will really bring the whole prank together.
Head to your coworker’s desk and clear out their drawer. You don’t want to damage any of their personal possessions accidentally.
Then, place the plastic wrap inside the desk drawer, securing it with duct tape. You need to be sure it will hold the water and won’t let anything leak. Use plenty of tape!
Next, you can pour in some sand and aquarium rocks. Finally, set up your aquarium plants, and ensure it’ll be a perfect home for your goldfish.
Now it’s time for the scary part. It’s time to put in the water! Fill up the drawer with enough water to create a good aquarium but not full enough to cause a disastrous mess when your coworker inevitably opens their drawer.
Lastly, add the fish and a bit of food so they don’t get hungry. This is important if you build the aquarium the evening before the next day.
Now, sit back and wait, and see how your coworker like their new desk mates!
#5. Worst Speller To Be
Everyone knows that you need to have a few basic skills in the office to be remotely successful. This includes general people skills and basic spelling and grammar knowledge.
Here’s a great prank for someone working in the IT department or with more computer skills than usual.
The next time your target coworker steps away from their desk, hop onto their desktop. Make sure they won’t come back while you’re working. Maybe even encourage them to go to lunch!
What you’re going to do is change their autocorrect in whatever app your company uses to communicate. Using it on a more lax platform like Slack instead of their company email is best. You can also just change autocorrect on Word or whatever program they use for general work.
Change simple words, so it throws your coworker off. Maybe they won’t even realize their mistake before hitting send! You can make it so a seemingly simple word like “office” autocorrects to “orfice,” or maybe something more imaginative.
It’s a good idea to change autocorrect for multiple words, so you increase your chance of leading them to a spelling mishap!
Then, after a few hours and you’ve successfully updated their autocorrect, send a group message in Slack. Then, just wait and see if your prank worked!
#6. Healthy Donuts
Everyone loves the day a generous coworker brings donuts for everyone to enjoy. There’s nothing better than starting the day off sweet!
But let’s take this seemingly simple surprise and make it not-so-sweet.
Arrive at work before everyone else again. But this time, come armed with an empty donut box and a vegetable tray with various veggies!
All you need to do is put all the veggies inside the box, so when your coworkers come by expecting a sweet treat, they just get some healthy alternatives!
If you don’t want to disappoint your coworkers too much, hide away the real donuts somewhere. Then, after they’ve had their fair share of broccoli and carrots, give them the donuts and sweet treat.
That’s a great end to a successful prank!
Keep Reading: How Humor Improves Communication
Adam Christing is a professional comedy magician, virtual MC, and the founder of CleanComedians.com. He is a member of the world-famous Magic Castle in Hollywood and a popular corporate entertainer, magician, and virtual speaker.