Office pranks – what could go possibly wrong?!

As you wonder excitedly what gems April Fools’ Day is going to serve up this year, spare a thought for workers whose office pranks culminated in their dismissal. According to an article by Real Business, the top three types of workplace pranks that have ultimately ended in the axe, the door and the mighty pink slip are as follows:


(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.)


(3) Accidentally breaking office equipment. (Dismissal of an intern took place 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.)


Interestingly, the article also claims that the five most common office pranks are:


  1. Covering the sensor on a mouse to render it useless


  1. Buying a box of luxury treats and replacing the contents with tasteless snacks


  1. Plugging a wireless mouse into a colleague’s computer and moving it from time to time


  1. Unrolling toilet paper, drawing a spider on it and rolling it back up


  1. Placing the waste from a hole punch into an umbrella


As HR professionals, do we have a duty to remind our employees of the importance of exercising caution and discernment when it comes to office pranks? Granted, they’re usually well-meaning and serve to lift morale and spirits. But any ideas that might put people, property or reputations at risk should be discarded before they make it to the starting block. If you think a brief email on the subject might be helpful, be sure to mention how no employees should be made to feel ‘picked on’ or singled out as a victim.


That said, we all want to have moments of fun and lightness at work. As long as we remain appropriate and use our common sense, there’s no reason not to get a little creative with our pranks. Enjoy and let ABL, your trusted multilingual recruitment partner, know how you get on!