Office pranks that can get you fired!
As you rub your hands together excitedly in the expectation of widespread hilarity in the office this April Fools’ Day, spare a thought for those whose office pranks culminated in their dismissal. On reflection, are you sure it was a good idea to put a bucket of water on top of your boss’s door? Should you have covered your teammate’s car in clingfilm earlier? Really?! And could you just possibly have taken things too far by wrapping your entire team’s desks and belongings in wrapping paper? Mmm… It may be time for a rethink.
According to an article by Real Business, workers should proceed with extreme caution in the matter of office pranks, for they may just get them sacked. If you don’t want your arsenal of funny ideas to lead you anywhere near the axe, the door or the mighty pink slip, make sure you steer clear of the following three pranks in particular:
(1) Hiding a beeping device in a solicitor’s office. (This resulted in a security company searching the building for listening gadgets that rival law firms were thought to have planted.)
(2) Frightening a co-worker in a dangerous environment. (An electrician tried scaring a colleague while in a high voltage environment, despite the incredible danger.)
(3) Accidentally breaking office equipment. (Dismissal of an intern followed after a frozen can of shaving foam with a small hole was hidden under some desks. As the foam warmed up, it coated the space and significantly damaged two workstations.)
While office pranks are usually well-meaning and serve to lift morale and spirits in the workplace, you would be well advised to think through all the possible consequences before acting. Even if the risk is minimal, any ideas that could harm people, property or reputations should be promptly binned.
Interestingly, the article also claims that the five most common office pranks are:
- Covering the sensor on a mouse to render it useless
- Buying a box of luxury treats and replacing the contents with tasteless snacks
- Plugging a wireless mouse into a colleague’s computer and moving it from time to time
- Unrolling toilet paper, drawing a spider on it and rolling it back up
- Placing the waste from a hole punch into an umbrella
Whether the above list is more palatable to your specific office environment is dependent on the individuals around you, your work culture, and the industry in which you operate. Exercise common sense and discernment in your choices. If in doubt, run your ideas by HR for a final sanity-check. We all want to have moments of fun and lightness at work. As long as we remain appropriate, there’s no reason not to get a little creative with our pranks. Enjoy and let ABL, your trusted recruitment partner, know how you get on!