Tips for building an effective online presence
Tips for building an effective online presence

April Fools’ Day Pranks at Work

8 min read
Your April Fools

Do you think it’s best to avoid April Fools’ Day Pranks at work? When April 1st rolls around each year, many people take the opportunity to play hilarious pranks on their coworkers. 

Different workplaces have different rules around this sort of behavior. Some businesses may actively encourage April Fools’ pranks and might even have competitions to see who can pull the best one. Others may be dead against the idea and discourage anyone pulling pranks, however well-meaning, during working hours, within the workplace, or even at the expense of colleagues out of work time. Ensuring that you know where your company stands on April Fools’ Day jokes is always a good idea, so you avoid any conflict, upset, or disciplinary action.

Here, we gathered pros and cons of pranking at the workplace as well as some nice prank ideas, and seasoned it all with the real entrepreneurs’ quotes about April Fools’ Day jokes.

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April Fools’ Day Pranks at Work: Pros and Cons

Playing a prank on a coworker can be lots of fun, and the more ingenious and creative you are, the more likely you will get kudos from your teammates. There are many reasons why April Fools’ Day pranks at work can be a positive thing. Some of the pros of getting involved include:

Team bonding

Coming together to think about how to prank your coworkers can be a fantastic way to bond with fellow team members. 

Yurii Brown,

Yurii Brown, founder of CoffeeGeekLab 

I think having jokes around the workplace helps to maintain good and healthy company culture, especially if it is on the safe side of things. We do it every single year in our cafe, and I think the best prank I’ve ever done was in 2018. I got it from Jimmy Kimmel, but I gave it a small twist.

Imagine ending the day with all your employees and offering them cups of coffee lined up on a long table. Before allowing them to get their hands on the cups, I greeted them with ‘Happy April Fools!’ and let them decide whether they will take the coffee or not. Once some of the staff braved the possibilities and were already holding the cups, I gave the rules: Once you get the cup, you need to drink it; if not, you won’t get the chance to take another one. Four out of 13 employees were brave enough to take the chance, and right after drinking the coffee, they found a surprise printed at the bottom of the cup: one free paid day off.

The satisfaction of getting one up on your boss

Delivering a hilarious April Fools’ Prank that your boss falls for can be a great feeling! Even if your boss is usually delightful, they are still the person in charge, so it can be fun to take them down a peg or two (in a good-humored way, of course).

Mollie Newton

Mollie Newton, editor and founder of PetMeTwice

April Fools’ is one of my favorite days of the year, though working in a remote setting poses some challenges in terms of what we can do.

This year, instead of pranking each other, my team and I will be hosting a roast. The target this year… Me!

April Fools’ is all about the laughs at someone else’s expense, so I thought it may be great to use the opportunity as a team-building event (while also enjoying the day).

I hope that this will become an annual tradition. (I plan to keep my team remote.) Each year, the roast will target a new person on the team. I am looking forward to seeing how it goes!

Motivation and employee wellbeing

Having fun in the workplace can help you boost employee motivation and wellbeing. Employees who feel happy at work are less likely to call in sick; therefore, it’s in the boss’s best interests to create a positive and fun, and stress-free environment for their employees.

Sandra Henderson

Sandra Henderson, a licensed professional counselor at LifeHacks 

Pranks somehow ease the tension and stress in the workplace once in a while. Also, it is a good way to promote mental health breaks among individuals who feel burned out from work-related stress and fatigue.

In April 2016, we started our morning in the office by giving cute cupcakes to all workers whilst saying “April Fools!” You can picture their twisted brows thinking whether there was something in their cupcakes or not. My accomplice and I had a hard time keeping our giggles and laughter inside ourselves that day and, sadly, at least a hundred cupcakes left untouched for the fear of any prank.

Benefits and prizes

Companies who love to play April Fools’ day pranks often have prizes up for grabs for the employee who pulls off the best one!

Of course, some workplaces frown upon pranks on coworkers and may take decisive action if they feel that an employee is not abiding by the rules. Some of the cons of pranking your coworkers include:

Risk of offense

Upsetting your coworkers’ feelings can leave a sour taste in everyone’s mouth. So make sure that any April Fools’ Day joke is lighthearted and genuinely funny and that the person you are pulling the prank on will find it funny, too.

make sure that any April Fools Day joke is lighthearted and genuinely funny

Risk of being not taken seriously

Being the office funny person can not only have its benefits but also its disadvantages. If others view you as the kind of person who doesn’t take anything seriously and just likes to fool around, you may not be the first person they think of when serious jobs or promotions come up for grabs.

Risk of disciplinary action

If your April Fools’ prank is in poor taste, violates the company code of conduct, or just goes badly wrong, you could face disciplinary action. This could be anything from a warning to losing your job, so it’s important to consider whether it is worth the risk. 

Carefully think about deciding to pull an April Fools’ prank. The prankster must weigh the pros and cons. Even if you adore April Fools’ Day and love pulling pranks on your nearest and dearest, you need to assess the situation. If in doubt, it’s always best to clarify with your boss or an HR member regarding company policy before you go ahead. That way, you’ve covered your bases and will ensure that your office pranks are well received. 

April Fools’ Day pranks that are pulled in the office should result in laughter, not being pulled in by HR. So, if you’re planning on getting into mischief on April 1, make sure you keep the following in mind:

Avoid serious subjects 

The essence of a good April Fools’ joke is to make it funny and fun for everyone involved. By avoiding serious subjects and anything someone could misconstrue or take the wrong way, you will ensure your prank goes down well.

Akram Assaf

Akram Assaf, co-founder and CTO at Bayt

April Fools’ Day is certainly one of a kind event in the workplace, and I don’t think it should be avoided completely. With that being said, I would advise you to be careful with the pranks, unless you want to end up on the news for doing something terrible.

Attaching an air horn to someone’s office seat is a trouble-proof way to make everyone in the office laugh. For good measure, just do it multiple times!

Don’t be intentionally hurtful or cruel

Embarrassing someone, upsetting someone, or making someone feel belittled or stupid isn’t kind under any circumstances. So just because you might have a vendetta against someone in your office doesn’t mean you can use April Fools’ Day as an excuse to try and get your revenge!

Ask people to opt-in or out in advance

Some people just don’t like practical jokes or pranks, and it’s important to respect that. By asking your colleagues whether to opt in you are giving people a choice and will know who will be OK with your pranking them.

If you aren’t sure whether something you want to do is OK, run it past the boss first.

By asking your manager or whoever is in charge first, you’ll have peace of mind that you won’t get into any trouble by pulling your prank!

Stuck for ideas on how to prank your coworkers? Here are some ideas for the best April Fools’ Day pranks

Misspelling macro

If you can get into your friend’s cell phone, simply head to Settings > General > Keyboard > Add a new shortcut and create some ingenious spelling changes that will make your colleague seem like the worst speller in the world.

Balloon room

If you’ve got some time on your hands and good strong lungs, why not fill one of your meeting rooms with balloons ready to spill out the next time someone tries to use it for its intended purpose?

Caramel onions

Give your coworkers a treat and surprise them with delicious toffee apples! But when they bite into them, they might get a bit of a nasty shock when they discover they are actually onions!

Caramel onions

Desk trolls

The only OK way to troll someone! Buy as many trolls as you can afford and cover your coworker’s desk in them. The more trolls, the better you’ll pull off this funny stunt. 

Nail in the cake

Everyone loves the guy who brings in cake, right? Well, perhaps not this time. Write “there is a toenail in this cake,” in frosting on the top, and see who dares take a slice. 

If you aren’t sure whether going ahead with an April Fools’ Day prank is a good idea, here are some words of wisdom from top entrepreneurs on the matter.

How to Make Jokes While Working Online

Of course, if you are working from home, you can still manage to pull a funny office prank on your team members. Try browsing some funny websites for inspiration. Trying to have fun when you can’t enjoy the camaraderie of an office environment can be a great way to get through quarantine

Here are some suggestions for April Fools’ Day pranks while working remotely.

Teammate emojis

Make a personalized emoji for every member of your team. You can find out how to do this via Slack’s own tutorial. Get creative and humorously personal as you create ones that really fit each team member’s unique personality. 

Joke meeting invitations

Easy but effective, simply set up virtual meetings and invite your colleagues. Get creative with ridiculous names and see if anyone cottons on.

Lip dub

For the most creative and tech-savvy among you, try creating Lip Dub music videos where you can lip-sync to famous songs and send these to your teammates. Why not up your game and get a crazy costume and work out a dance routine too?

To Prank or Not to Prank?

April Fools’ Day pranks can be lots of fun and can bring your team closer together. However, if you are going to take part, make sure you are doing so for the right reasons and have cleared it with your managers first.

April Fools’ Day Pranks at Work