As we prepare to wave goodbye to March skip merrily into April, we have one little barrier to get through: the trickster’s paradise, the celebration of the jesters, the day when you proceed with caution around every corner on the way to the water cooler and carefully scrutinize the donuts brought in by your coworker before indulging. Yes, we are talking about April Fool’s Day. Even though April 1st falls on a Sunday this year, don’t expect the most devoted of pranksters to sit this “holiday” out.
Here are some of the top office pranks exposed in a Mashable article by Amy-Mae Elliot for you to watch out for this April Fools Day! (Warning: Before trying any of these, or any other pranks in the workplace, make sure with HR that they are appropriate!)
Simple, yet effective. Just switch the telephone plugs of your colleagues’ phone lines (leaving their phones in exactly the same place) and enjoy the confusion as they repeatedly receive calls for each other. Works best with coworkers that aren’t on the best terms to start with.
This one requires a little planning and collaboration, but the effect will be worth the effort. Arrange with coworkers to each bring in several changes of clothes. Then, throughout the morning repeatedly switch items of clothing. Ensure your mark sees you all in as many different items as you can manage. Wait for the other shoe to drop.
Fun with Mice
Anyone leaving their mouse unattended around April 1 deserves punishment. While the classic trick was to remove the mouse’s tracker ball, nowadays you can achieve the same effect by putting some tape over the mouse’s laser tracker. Alternatively, and if you can find time with an unattended computer, change the mouse’s settings for maximum confusion.
Hunt the Paper Clip
This is another oldie-but-goldie for anyone in an office where a photocopier is still regularly used. Place a paper clip over or on a piece of blank paper and make several copies. Now, place them back on the top of the paper tray. Hang around to see your colleague’s confusion as they desperately try and find the strange paper clip that’s showing up on all their copies.
This Stall is Occupied
For this you’ll need a pair of shoes, a pair of trousers, some newspaper (or something similar) for stuffing and possibly a step ladder. In a toilet stall with a gap at the bottom, set up your items of clothing to look as if someone is using the conveniences. Lock the stall (from the outside if possible, otherwise this is where the step ladder comes in) and leave your mystery “person” to confuse (and very possibly worry) restroom users for the rest of the day.
This is perhaps more effective with older colleagues who are likely to have experienced the pain of the “Blue Screen of Death.” For this prank, it’s just a matter of finding an appropriate screen grab and either leaving it on your co-worker’s display, or setting it as the screen saver for a nasty surprise.
Can You Hear That?
Find, or make a recording of a repetitive noise (a heart beat works well for maximum distress) or dig out a portable radio. Set the volume to just audible and hide it in a filing cabinet, cupboard, drawer, etc., near to your mark. Now wait for your colleague to ask if anyone else can hear that heart beat/static/music and prepare to deny all. Several times. A straight face is essential.
Does your office issue a paper list of phone extensions? If so, there’s fun to be had. You need to access the master doc (or re-create it if need be). Swap the extensions and then replace your target’s list with the doctored version. Obviously you’ll need to replicate any creases, edits, coffee stains and so on, but if you can pull this off, you’re in for a treat as your unsuspecting mark blithely dials a work buddy and instead gets the MD.
Just Smirk it Out
Our last prank is especially effective if your colleagues are expecting you to pull some kind of stunt. This April Fools’, just do nothing. Sit and smirk at everything on the morning of the 1st. They will rack their brains desperately trying to work out what you’ve plotted. You can help out their anxiety levels with loaded comments to match your smirk. “Enjoy your coffee.” “Have you used the water cooler yet today?” “Aren’t you going to answer that?”