Laughter is the best medicine. Unless you’re sick. Then it’s actual medicine. But the rest of the time: laughter.
You can always TELL a joke, like “Q: What kind of bees make milk? A: Boobies!” But sometimes you want PLAY a joke. And in the office, there are a surprising amount of jokes you can play that are HR compliant. Never play a prank using food or drink. Remember, if someone gets mad, you lose. The prank should be funny all around. Here are a handful of my favorites:
Quick and Easy:
- Unplugging the mouse/keyboard. This is a pretty easy one, and you don’t get many style points for it. However if you’re short on time it’s a good fallback. Also, you have the added benefit of suggesting to the affected individual, “Did you try plugging it in?” Good stuff. Bonus points if they call IT support for help. Resulting Emotion: Frustration.
- Cover the mouse optical laser. This happens to be one of my favorites. You tape a small piece of paper on the bottom of the mouse, covering the laser. When they move the mouse, the cursor stays put. They’ll find it eventually, and it usually gets a laugh. Also extra bonus points if your victim involves IT support. Resulting Emotion: Frustration.
- The Adjustment Bureau, Part 1. If your office is like mine, everyone has an adjustable chair. The armrests go up and down, the backrest goes front to back, and the seat goes up and down. An change, large or small, to any one of these items can be a source of amusement for everyone. My favorite targets of opportunity here are the armrests. Either move them both so they no longer fit under the desk, or move one so they’re wonky. Resulting Emotion: Irritation.
- Out of Ink? Just like it sounds, you remove the ink cartridges from the pens at their desk. There are two schools of thought, here. You can do it to ALL of their pens, in which case the prank is a quick one. The other option is to remove them from a couple of the pens. They may or may not notice right away. The second option has the added benefit of lasting a bit longer, as it may be a week or more before they pull the other inkless pen. Resulting Emotions: Confusion, Irritation, potential Exasperation.
The Long Con: Okay, so #1 and #2 are short term pranks. The effect is immediate, and the prankee usually discovers a solution in short order (but hopefully after a bit of frustration). The Long Con involves minute changes over days, weeks, or even months. you get FAR more style points for proper execution of one of these pranks. Patience is a prerequisite. I’ll just include one of these…
- The Adjustment Bureau, Part 2. This is one of my favorites. Every few days, make a minute change to your chosen victim’s chair. This one seems to work best with height adjustments to the seat (up or down). I wouldn’t recommend making more than 2 changes per week. Always do it either before they get in or after they leave. You want maximum time from the last time they sat in the chair (Friday after the leave or Monday before they get in are the best times). A tiny, tiny change in height each time. If they try to fix the chair, simply change it back when they step away from their desk. Never move it more than one “notch” at a time. The goal is to have them sitting all the way at the bottom before they realize what’s going on. Resulting Emotion: Confusion.
Please remember, the goal of these types of pranks is a laugh. If you make someone angry, you either picked the wrong prank, or the wrong target. Ensure that your potential victim is someone who would appreciate a joke like this. And perhaps, most importantly, remember that there is always retribution. Never play a prank unless you’re prepared to be pranked in return. Above all, have fun!
Live the Dream!
Do you know other office pranks you want to share? Leave them in the comments below!