Pranks on your office mates are a great way to increase office camaraderie, but also run the risk of alienating your co-workers. Below are a few simple rules about office pranks that will help everyone have a laugh, not just you!
- First and foremost, ensure that your office pranks are funny, but that they don’t impede productivity or get in the way of your job. You’re in the office to work, not goof off. A rule of thumb is to imagine that someone else were to pull the same office prank on you. Would you be angry, or would the prank make you look bad at work? If so, find another prank instead – no laugh is worth ruining office relationships.
- Be careful that you don’t spend your working time in the office to prepare your prank. Put together materials at home or during your lunch break, and come in to the office early or stay late to put your prank in place if needed. For example, if you’re replacing a co-worker’s workstation with a cardboard computer, monitor, mouse and keyboard, make them at home and then come in early to swap out for the prank.
- Similarly, don’t use consumable office supplies for your prank, as that can get you in trouble with management especially in this economic climate. A roll of packing tape is cheap; if you want to make invisible walls in your cubicle hallways there is no need to steal from work for your prank. Just make sure that you don’t damage any paint!
- Also be aware of when you should end your office prank. Did you change your cubicle neighbor’s keyboard layout to Dvorák while he was out at lunch? If they can’t figure out what is wrong within a few minutes, go let them know and share a laugh. Five minutes of a prank is funny, five hours is aggravating.
- More generally, clean up after your prank. If you fill a co-worker’s cubicle with Styrofoam peanuts after making a packing tape door, help them throw away the trash and fix their office space after you get your laughs. Even better, avoid pranks that are difficult to clean up – no water buckets above doors or silly string covering the office.
By following these simple rules your office prank is less likely to piss off your coworker or boss, and may even win you an accomplice for the next time!