I’ve been involved with office pranks before (I know, surprising) and that includes the hardest day of the year to prank anyone (a.k.a. April 1st).
Given that I worked in HR and also pulled pranks on people, I worked on some rules of guidance for April Fools jokes at the office.
- The golden rule: Don’t prank what you wouldn’t want to be pranked on — This one is simple: if you would freak out over a fake spider in your chair, you probably shouldn’t do it to a coworker.
- Don’t prank when you can’t take it — Is there anything worse than the guy that just wants to be the pranker but not the prankee? I guarantee you, if you pull something on April 1st, you will get yours later down the line.
- Don’t call in fake serious injuries or other catastrophes — Especially for spouses, kids or company bank accounts. People freak out over that stuff and it isn’t funny.
- It is the thought that counts — Just being mean (like throwing water balloons) is dumb. If you know someone hates pickles on their sandwiches, take them out to eat and then order a sandwich with a pound of pickles only for your co-worker. That’s the stuff that works. Personalize your gag for the person.
- April 1st is a culture pulse — You know what happened when I hated my job? I didn’t participate in April Fools day. Not that you have to in order to have a good culture (maybe your culture is just serious) but bring some perspective to the table if you are unhappy about people “wasting time” on pranks.
That’s pretty much it. Remember to click on links with caution today!