This post is not a laughing matter. It’s an important piece to building better teams. Practical jokes in the office have all sorts of positive effects at work.
I had a conversation with a friend recently that went like this:
Friend: “We don’t play practical jokes in our office.”
Me: “You hate your job don’t you?”
Friend (glancing down pathetically): “Yes.”
OK, so the conversation didn’t really go like that, but you get the idea. I am pretty sure he used words like “uppity,” “stuffy.” and “corporate” to describe his office environment.
Since the dawn of time practical jokes have been a critical part of bonding and enjoyment in life…seriously remember that practical joke the snake played on Eve? Well that might not be the best example. But they are important.
Benefits of office practical jokes
Through the playing of practical jokes in the office, I have learned and practiced important skills such as:
- Planning. Practical jokes take a lot of planning to execute properly.
- Teamwork. I rarely have pulled off a good one on my own.
- Secrecy. In a good way, I’ve learned how to keep things quiet.
- Apologizing. Sometimes I have to apologize. OK, I often have to.
Through practical jokes I have seen colleagues grow closer, barriers destroyed, and morale dramatically improved. Laughter is, after all, the best medicine for whatever ails a person or a team.
Here are the top ten practical jokes I have played or known to be played in an office:
10. Desktop screenshot. A team member of mine once took a screenshot of another team member’s computer desktop and made it the background image. He then removed all of the icons. The jokee then tried unsuccessfully for 15 minutes to open various programs while we all giggled.
9. Icon switch. I once changed all of my bosses’ icons to open different programs. He clicked on Word and it opened Excel. He clicked on Firefox and it opened iTunes. I told IT about it in advance knowing he would take the computer to them.
8. Four words…cell phone in ceiling. My wife and her team once did this to a team leader at Dave Ramsey’s company.
7. Hi, I’m…Speaking of that team, they also change his Instant Messenger icon at work to the guy from CHiPs. He didn’t know about it for months while everyone who ever received an IM from him saw it.
6. The monitor switch. Take two people who sit close by and switch their monitors. Just think about what happens there…and imagine the ensuing hilarity.
5. Hello…this is God. One of our IT guys once set up his phone to say “God” when calling everyone in the office. He called one lady that worked for us and she freaked out. He said, “Lindsey, this is God. Quit smoking.” Then he hung up. She seriously had to give it some thought.
4. The ol’ keyboard switcharoo. This only works on the hunt and peck types (those people who look at the keyboard as they type). We had once such guy on the team who hunted and pecked and it was hilarious. Tip: Don’t switch any of the most prominent keys or the far left or right. Focus on the D,F,V,B, and switch the T and H. Makes for a lot of “hte” typos that they think were just accidents.
3. Stapler full of noisemakers. Replace a stapler’s staples with noisemakers (some people call them poppers). When they go to staple something, it will make a very loud sound. NOTE: I learned the hard way…don’t do this to someone who is taking a stapler to a client meeting. Granted, it ended up being hilarious, but might not have been.
2. Tape and an office chair. Tape their height adjuster so that when they sit down, it lowers. The funniest part is that it automatically goes back up. Freaking out ensues. Bonus tip: Tape their wheels too.
1. Airhorn under the office chair. When they sit down…yeah. Warning: You might want to tell everyone else in the office first though.
NOTE: You could combine the last two…they will sit longer when it goes down if it goes low…just sayin’.
Now…go do likewise.
What is the best practical joke you have ever played or heard about in an office?