Workplace Pranks

I love my job, I really do. It’s enjoyable, I work with great people, and I take satisfaction and see importance in the work I do everyday. And… the folks in our office understand that just because we work hard, that doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun… and fun at other’s expense. So… I’m not going to give away all of my secrets, but here’s a few of my favorite ways to “lighten the mood” at work…

1. Messing with the phones…

  • This one is my absolute favorite.. simple and elegant. Use a piece of clear Scotch tape to tape down the switch under the phone handset/receiver on the victim’s phone, so it stays down even when the receiver is picked up. Now, wait for them to return to their desk and call their phone… works best is you can organize an non-recognizable caller if your work phones have caller ID… when they pick up their phone to answer it, the phone will keep ringing. They’ll usually start screaming “HELLO!” into the phone as their brain tries to figure out why the phone is still ringing despite their most valiant efforts to answer the call. Works best on the “older” folks at work… hilarity will ensue.
  • Read this one online… if someone at work has a generic cell phone ringtone, match your ringtone to theirs, turn their phone’s volume down, and call your own cell phone so they think it’s their phone ringing. Nothing elaborate, but would be funny to see them reach for their phone when it’s not actually ringing.

2. Messing with the cubicle…

  • If your office isn’t overly-worried about accounting for supplies, then this one may be for you… covering their entire office (or as such area as you feel comfortable) with Post-It notes…
  • Everyday, you can loosen the screws on their chair just a little bit, until one day the chair will fall apart when they sit down. Best to do it to one of the younger folks so no one injures themselves…
  • If you work in the traditional “square cubicle” space, you’ve probably come to the realization that you work in an oversized box… so take advantage of that and fill your victim’s cube with something…

Balloons…

Packing peanuts…

Paper trash… probably best to use non-“stinky” trash… balled up paper, or paper scraps out of the shredder.

  • Cover their cube with something…

Newspaper…

Aluminum foil…

Any and every potted plant you can find…

  • Gift wrap their cube…

Merry Christmas! Wrapping paper is sold at the Dollar Tree… probably costs $15 to do this… worth every penny.

  • This is the ultimate… but you’d probably have to have handy DIY skills, or know someone in the maintenance department… dry wall over their door so it looks like their office has disappeared.

3. Messing with their computers…

  • Every computer at my work uses a laser mouse… again, this is one of my favorites because of it’s simplicity and elegance. Use a piece of clear Scotch tape to tape over the laser on the bottom of the mouse. Even though it appears normal, it won’t work when the victim tries using it. I did this to someone in a training class and it literally took them 20 minutes to figure out what was wrong… they restarted their machine… twice… crawled under their desk and unplugged their mouse from the tower… twice… started cursing at their machine… the instructor had to stop class because they were making such a commotion. It was awesome. It’ll work if you take out the track ball, too.
  • You can do silly things like messing with the contrast and stuff… but that just seems like too much hassle for limited entertainment. I would recommend things like switching monitor cords with the cube next to their’s… so they’re operating each other’s computer… especially useful if two targets are sitting next to each other.

4. Cubicle Warfare

  • One word: Nerf. I just got a new Nerf gun at Target… seems like all the younger folks in our office are strapped up with a Nerf gun of some kind. Or… be the first one to rain down a hail storm of suction darts on your unsuspecting coworkers, you innovator.

NERF… resurrecting childhood warfare in your cubicle

USB-controlled missile launcher.

  • Our work has a health fair every year… and all the insurance providers, doctor’s offices, dentists, etc, all come out to hand out their tchotchke junk… pens, hats, writing pads… but one of the things more and more people are handing out are foam stress balls. And they make for perfect aerial bombardment artillery… and they’re free. Just be careful you don’t knock over someone’s coffee cup if you miss.

What we say: “Hey, thanks for the stress ball. I’ll never forget your company!” What we mean: “Thanks for the ammunition, stupid. Can’t wait to throw this at someone.”

5. Protect Yourself…

  • You’re your own worst enemy… keep your head on a swivel. If you’re pulling off rad pranks on coworkers, chances are your coworkers are going to start gunning for you. But that’s ok. Be a good sport about it… if you give it, be prepared to take it. Laugh it off and take solace in the fact that you’ve created a fun environment.

You’re next… fortify your position.

As always, use your head. Don’t do something that’ll physically hurt someone. That’s not what this is about… it’s about fun and entertainment… not masochism. And, every place has that guy that’s ready to snap… he/she might not be the best target. Don’t drive someone to jump off a bridge on their way home or something… again, this is about fun, not emotional torture. Don’t break any workplace rules, either… and, as always… use your best judgement when carrying out a prank. Know your office culture and don’t do something that’ll get you fired. If your office has a tight office supply budget, wasting a thousand Post-It notes to cover someone’s cube might not be the best idea. Enjoy.

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