Monday, April 1, is April fool’s day in North America. Across the US and Canada, kids are pranking each other, Google is inevitably in the midst of trying to maximize the number of people who will believe that they are developing a product that lets you smell your search results, and people of all stripes are trying to makes sure that they are in on the joke instead of being the butt of it.
Pranks can be a fun way to liven up the office as well but those wanting to perpetrate some hoaxes need to be aware that their jokes may come at the expense of their own professionalism.
Done in the right way, April 1 can be a day that brings co-workers together but, if the following factors are not taken into account, you may be better off sitting this particular holiday out this year.
1. Know Your Audience: Not everybody likes pranks but some people are just wild about them, even when those pranks come at their own expense. April 1 is the absolute favorite day of the year for one friend of mine. Her co-workers know this and every year band together to play a trick on her in the office. One year they removed all of her office furniture and hid it in the next room. They have fun planning and she is always an appreciative audience. Another person may simply be annoyed by the inconvenience.
2. Never Be Mean: April Fools is not an excuse for cruelty or undue embarrassment, especially in the office. Even if you work with a close friend who you feel comfortable ribbing, keep these sorts of pranks out of the office. Office pranks should be funny for all involved and, at most mildly inconvenience the prankee.
3. Never Joke About Incompetence: On a similar theme, never play a prank that will make you or anybody else look like they are unprofessional or not good at their jobs. It may seem funny to hide dirty words in the report that your co-worker is about to present to the boss or to set up a fake fire drill so your co-worker misses the staff meeting but generally this will make you both look like you don’t take your jobs seriously and may come back to haunt you when you are hoping for a promotion. Stick to things like gluing your friend’s stapler to her desk or putting a fake parking ticket on her car.
4. Always Clean Up After Yourself: Again, it may seem like a hilarious idea to glitter bomb the lobby but unless you are planning to personally pick up every tiny piece of glitter, don’t try it. Most facilities guys I know hate April 1 because people tend to leave the cleanup of their brilliant plans to janitors and other people. If you aren’t willing to clean up after yourself, or if your plan would require any sort of professional cleaning, save it for your apartment.
5.Know Your Audience: It’s important enough to say it twice!
What’s your Favorite April Fool’s Prank?
What’s your Least Favorite?