We asked our friends and scoured the internet for some of the funniest examples of office pranks, and put together this list of virtual April Fools’ pranks and office pranks to use as your own inspiration.
Every company has a story about that funny office prank from the past. Whether you’re doing some early April Fool’s research or just feeling a little tricky, now’s the time to get your own shenanigans in the books. Here are some ideas.
Remote shenanigans for virtual teams
The pranks above are great, but what about pranks for remote employees or 100% virtual teams? These pranks are perfect for the digital office:
1. Flash mob
At HubSpot, we love flash games. That’s why SEO Lead Aja Frost and Blog Manager Christina Perricone jumped at the opportunity to organize a virtual flash mob for one of our quarterly conferences.
It’s the perfect prank for a large party, but requires a bit of preparation — from choosing a song, choosing a dancer, to teaching the dance. However, the look of shock and joy on the faces of colleagues alone made the end result worth it.
2. Virtual background prank
There is a lot of potential for mischief using the virtual background feature in Zoom and other video conferencing platforms. For example, a Twitter user created a virtual background with a shocking doppelganger appearance…or maybe a time warp?
3. Jump panic
One way to take virtual background pranks to another level is to imitate horror movie directors and rely on one of the oldest horror movie tricks in the book: unexpected jump scares. The video below walks through the steps to successfully perform this prank:
Just make sure you know who to show it to. The wrong audience might not appreciate the humor!
4. You are not muted
We’ve all heard horror stories from users who think they’re on mute and go on to say something embarrassing. One prank is to orchestrate the situation to make your coworkers think you think you’re in a state of silence. You can ask someone in the family to say it’s really embarrassing or totally outrageous, just to see how long your coworkers will look at you in horror before letting you know you’re muted.
5. Stolen identities
If you have a workplace chat system, a simple but effective prank is to “steal” someone’s identity by changing your display name and picture to match theirs. The more colleagues you follow, the more effective, hilarious and confusing this prank becomes. Best of all, it’s easy to restore at the end of the day: just revert to the original display name and photo.
6. Think outside the box
Using video conferencing apps, we’re limited to our own little square of digital real estate…or is that? The Twitter user defied expectations by pouring water on colleagues in another plaza, surprising all the other attendees:
Funny office pranks to attract your coworkers
7. Caramelized Onions
When Halloween is fast approaching, these caramelized onions can’t compare to any other trick (or treat). Dip each onion in the caramel – start with some red food coloring if you need to disguise them further – and stick the popsicle in the center. Your coworkers won’t know the difference, but they’ll wonder why these caramel apples make them cry so much…
8. Nicolas Cage toilet seat
When it comes to Halloween, it’s a real nightmare. Nicolas Cage is easy to find in the meme community. Print out one of his most, um, warmest pictures – and have him say hi to everyone who goes to the toilet.
9. Fish drawer
This office prank is a little fishy…be sure to include fish food; experts suggest you should feed this prank twice a day.
10. Pants in the compartment
Usually, when you see the feet under the booth, you just wait for your turn. In this case, you may wait forever. Put this guy in your office bathroom and see how long it takes people to start talking. We just hope no one calls the paramedics for this poor empty suit.
11. Febreze for a few days
Fasten your tie, throw it away, and run for your life. Or, keep it in your coworker’s office during their breaks. They are sure to return to a strong workspace.
12. Car sticky notes
It’s the perfect use for those sticky notes that keep piling up — especially if they’re all for someone who can’t complete his or her task. The pranks below are a great way to remind them before they take off.
13. Foghorn Entrance
Have you ever thought about getting the room’s attention as soon as you walk in the door? Well, the shenanigans below will even make those who enter stand up straight. This is certainly a way to make sure everyone is on their toes before the meeting.
14. Balloon meeting room or hallway
Hey, at least it’s not flashy? This prank goes two ways: you can surprise the next team that books this room, or have a full day of meetings here without anyone knowing about your business. You will of course have some static when you leave the room.
15. Tabletop Trolls
For trolls, by trolls. Fortunately, you can buy these trolls in bulk. If you’re serious about trolling your co-worker’s workstation, click here – keep in mind that you’ll have to buy more than one pack of trolling for this stunt to be worth it.
Oh look, a budget trip to the beach. This hoax brings a whole new dimension to the term “stay-over”. Surprise him/her with another beach vacation when he/she comes back from a beach vacation. The downside is that it won’t be what they used to be. The good thing is they don’t need towels.
17. Tiki Desk
Tired of those open office layouts? Create a tiki-themed cabin for jokes and a little privacy.
18. Finalize the cake
Hello everyone, there is a cake waiting for you in the kitchen! However, the mischief is written in icing sugar. It’s a great gesture for anyone who likes the expression “needle in a haystack”. Happy hunting.
19. Psychedelic Supervision
“I don’t know, I feel like my boss is watching me all the time,” your coworker might say. When this colorful prank changes the way they think about micromanagement. Suddenly, “express check-in” doesn’t seem so bad.
20. Voice Toast
Simple, yet wonderful. Change the terms of breakfast a little and the kitchen becomes the messiest room in the office. This little note pranks the whole office – a true masterpiece of prank.
21. Work from home
as Ron Burgundy host Say, “I’m not even mad. I’m just impressed.” Help a colleague who likes to take his/her work home instead of taking them home to work. As you know, you may need to stay up the night before to get this prank just right.
22. You’ve been “cat”
This can actually make life better for your cat-loving co-workers. Or, it could be the biggest prank ever against a colleague who is severely allergic to cats (that is, as long as they are not allergic to cats) photo cat, too).
23. Seeding boards
Work with your IT department to perfectly facilitate this shenanigans. Soon, its users will wonder why their keyboards are growing. We recommend targeting people sitting near windows – some pranks just need some sunlight. “You said you wanted to spend more time with nature,” you might say in your defense.
24. The ceiling has eyes
You might freak out, just look at the pictures of this scary prank. For your most neurotic coworkers, that might be overkill, but for those of you who keep talking about horror movies, it’s just the revenge you deserve. (Hint: Pulp, white paint, and a black wig. Done.)
25. Chair Panic
Similar to the entrance foghorn, this prank may scare more than just people sitting down. Of course, I guess this is a lesson for anyone trying to sit too low at their desk.
Funny pranks to attract your boss
26. Don’t procrastinate
For employees who never run out of time. Or, for colleagues who spend too much time on the toilet during the day. The next time nature calls, play tricks with their own thrones.
27. Flash bombs
About the “at least it’s not flash” thing in whole prank #9? Well, this prank can’t make that promise. For colleagues who don’t yet know the persistence that makes them sparkle, this prank is sure to get them straight.
Sometimes, you don’t know how to take time off. For those days when you simply can’t get to work, but can’t bear to call again, a cardboard cut that looks like you is the perfect replacement. Or, just leave them on your coworkers’ desks and give them a much-needed identity crisis.
29. Smash it
When you finally learn about your coworkers’ celebrity crush, make sure they know how much you care.
30. The ‘best’ boss in the world
The perfect way to ask your manager to say “thank you” every time you go for coffee when words aren’t enough to express your emotions.
31. Cup o’ Spiders
“Hey Chief, I found a spider on your desk, but don’t worry, it’s taken care of.” This prank doesn’t have to have a real spider – only this mystery is what you need to prank your staff.
32. This is a wrapper
For the boss who has it all, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.
Show off your prank skills
All you have to do is find someone who can joke with you.
Hoaxes are great for morale and company culture. After all, why not have some fun to pass the workday?
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in October 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.