Laura Berlinsky-Schine

April Fool's Day is just around the corner, and, if you're the office prankster (or want to be), pulling off the perfect practical jokes may be on your mind. Your coworkers, of course, are the ideal targets.

Before you start supergluing your coworkers' glasses to their desks or jamming the fire sprinkler system, it's important to establish a few ground rules about office pranks. You don't want to go overboard and end up in HR having to explain yourself when a colleague complains...or worse, get fired because you took what was meant to be funny practical joke a little too far. 

Dos and Don'ts of Office Pranks

Your office pranks must be:

• Safe for everyone involved (if the fire extinguisher is involved in any way, it's probably a bad idea)
• Lighthearted (as in, don't cause genuine anger)

Your practical jokes should not:

• Cause permanent or lasting damage
• Cause physical or psychological harm to anyone involved
• Violate office rules or policies
• Hurt anyone's feelings, even temporarily (don't make a single victim or group of people the butt of your joke)

17 Office Pranks

Here are some prank ideas to use in the workplace (that won't get you fired).

1. Encase your coworkers' office supplies in jello.

Source: The Joys of Jello

You can thank Jim Halpert for this one. Remember when the Dunder Mifflin office prankster encased Dwight's stapler in jello?

Cost estimate: $5

Time estimate: 4:30 (for the jello to set)

2. Password-protect the printer or another piece of office equipment. 

It's best if it's not equipment that your coworkers will have an urgent need to use. (This is a great last-day-at-the-office prank.)

Cost estimate: $0

Time estimate: 10 minutes

3. Schedule an unexpected phone call.

This college professor had a policy that students had to answer calls on speakerphone if their phone rang in class. See how the students pranked him. (This can be replicated in a meeting...but tread lightly!

Cost estimate: $0

Time estimate: 10 minutes

4. Fill your friend or manager's office or cubicle with balloons.

Source: Pixabay

Her cubicle will be so much more festive! Another version of this calls for covering the walls and furniture with post-it notes or aluminum foil.

Cost estimate: $50 (including helium tank)

Time estimate: Under an hour (if using a helium tank)

5. Zip tie office supplies.

This works especially well with scissors. Your coworkers will have a frustrating time trying to undo these annoying ties.

Cost: $5

Time estimate: 10 minutes

6. Cover your colleague's desktop computer in wrapping paper.

It's like a present!

Cost estimate: $5

Time estimate: 20 minutes

7. Fill Oreos with toothpaste.

Replace the cream with toothpaste and then offer these "treats" to your coworker or put up an "Enjoy" sign in the kitchen.

Cost estimate: $6

Time estimate: 30 minutes

8. Set up a pair of pants and shoes in a bathroom stall.

Source: Buzzfeed

Your colleagues will be waiting forever if they see this display.

Cost estimate: $0 (if you use an old pair of jeans and shoes)

Time estimate: 10 minutes

9. Put an "out of order" sign on every bathroom.

What will your coworkers do?

Cost estimate: $2

Time estimate: 15 minutes

10. Troll your coworkers.

Cover a colleague's desk and desktop with mini plastic trolls.

Cost estimate: $15

Time estimate: 20 minutes

11. Put a "voice-activated" sign on the toaster.

Laugh as your colleagues shout at their order at it.

Cost estimate: $0

Time estimate: 5 minutes

12. Put tape over the bottom of your coworker's mouse.

Source: Dlvrit

This will disable the laser, rendering the mouse useless. See how long it takes her to figure out what happened!

Cost estimate: $0

Time estimate: 1 minute

13. Bring in a box of donuts...

...but actually fill said box with broccoli or other healthy snacks. Imagine the disappoint your coworkers will have to endure :(

Cost estimate: $15

Time estimate: 10 minutes

14. Put a creepy doll in your colleague's chair.

Points if you can dress the doll as the colleague in question. It will be...unsettling, to say the least.

Cost estimate: $30

Time estimate: 10 minutes

15. Fill an office with packing peanuts.

Like the balloon prank, this one is on the more annoying side. Plus, even after cleaning up, your colleague will be finding stray packing peanuts for months to come.

Cost estimate: $30

Time estimate: 30 minutes

16. Put googly eyes on items in the refrigerator.

Source: u/w0rmholes via Reddit

Gluing pairs of googly eyes on different items in the communal refrigerator will be enough to raise some (human) eyebrows.

Cost estimate: $3

Time estimate: 15 minutes

17. Cover your colleague's cubicle with photos of a celebrity she loves...

or one she hates. Equally effective.

Cost estimate: $10

Time estimate: 1:00

These are just our prank ideas. If done in good fun, they could liven up and improve your office culture. That said, you know your company culture better than we do. If you don't think your colleagues will appreciate them as much as we do, then put them on the back burner...or try something everyone will enjoy! Happy April Fool's Day.

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