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4 Tips For Workplace Pranks

davefollett profile image Dave Follett Originally published at davefollett.io on ・3 min read

Any workplace can get stale, boring or in a rut. I think software development can be particularly susceptible because the high level of concentration needed to write code. Over the years I’ve found that that small breaks from the routine can help clear my head and allow me to better focus on my work. This typically means working a few minutes on the crossword or jigsaw puzzles in the break room when getting a coffee. Sometimes, it takes more than a puzzle to shake things up. That’s when I like to play harmless pranks on my coworkers. If done right, not only can this cause a break from the routine but it can crack a few smiles and cause a little laughter.

1️⃣ Pick the right person

Pick someone you have a good relationship with. Someone who you know has a sense of humor, someone who is isn’t going to get upset. Don’t pick the new guy or gal. If you think there is the slightest chance they will be upset, save yourself and HR from the potential drama, and pick a new target.

2️⃣ Be neutral and non-offensive

A prank should be harmless. You should be laughing with the target not at the target. Steer clear of religion, politics, or any other personal topics. Always err on the side of caution.

3️⃣ Don’t interfere with the work day

A prank should cause some laughs and be over quickly so the work day can continue. The last thing you want to do is interfere with your employer’s bottom line by causing a coworker to be unable to work for an extended period of time. That’s a good way to get fired. If the prank requires an elaborate set up, do it on your time not your employer’s. Either come in early or work late. Also, a good prank should not cause any damage. Once it’s over, it should be like it never happened.

4️⃣ A little goes a long way

Don’t over do it by playing a prank too often. Even harmless pranks can get old fast if you are pulling them too often.

👀 Getting Started

In case you are wondering how to get started while following all my rules, I will share with you one of my best pranks. With help from an accomplice, we secretly snuck through the office and placed googly eyes on various objects. Look at this stapler and potted plant. Try not to laugh, I dare you!

Googly eyes on potted plant and stapler

Googly eyes on potted plant and stapler

LEGOs are popular where I work and proved to be easy targets. Special thanks to their owners for being good sports!

Googly eyes on Star Wars LEGO sets (BB-8, K-2SO, Star Destroyer)

Googly eyes on Star Wars LEGO sets (BB-8, K-2SO, Star Destroyer)

What is a safer target than a common area bathroom sign?

Googly eyes on bathroom sign

Googly eyes on bathroom sign

It took a few hours for the first set of googly eyes to get spotted and it didn’t take long for the investigation to target me. I caved immediately when questioned, I just couldn’t keep it in.

Perhaps my accomplice and I had the most fun, finding targets and causing distractions so the other could place the googly eyes, but the bottom line was we created some fun around the office in a harmless way. If we are all going to be working day in and day out together, it’s good to be able to share a few laughs along the way.

Do you have any good workplace pranks? Please please pretty please share them with me.

Posted on Mar 20 '19 by:

davefollett profile

Dave Follett


Husband, father of 👧 👧, and software developer living in the Metro Detroit area. Interested in continuous learning, tinkering, and exploring new technology. LEARN.always


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Where I worked we had a fairly relaxed atmosphere and I did prank a bunch of people. From moving tables around in the office (including my boss's), moving a colleague's desk into the bathroom (fully wired up), to setting up a fake crime scene or even turning a desk into a Japanese shrine.

I also had some good pranks done to me, one time I came to work to find my desk tricked out like a car simulator with HUD, steering wheel, gear shifter etc and my chair replaced with a broken down exercise bike. Another time, I find a Christmas tree and decorations all over my desk.

Good times!


Some ideas for you folks that I personally used:

  • Screenshot of the desktop as desktop background + hide icons;
  • Sublime text with "sound" plugin, for every action (ex. save) create 10 empty sound files and one with a whispering sound (you can save it from a whatsapp voice message), this way randomly 1 out of 10 the user of sublime text will hear a sound but won't understand;
  • Middle finger on the link cursor;
  • A piece of post-it or tape under the mouse covering the laser;

🌵 ➕ 👀 Awesome! Thanks for sharing.


The googly eyes are hilarious! This made me laugh loud in the office! 😂
Next break is dedicated to shop for googly eyes... 😉


Love the googly eyes!

(googly eyes ordered, I'm in!)


Please share some pictures!


I once plugged another keyboard in to someone’s computer and started typing. They thought their computer was possessed.


I like to open Notepad and write the person a note. Not really a prank, but it generally gets a funny response or an "awwww!" if I write something nice.


So you'd recommend against stretching plastic wrap across the toilet bowl and putting the seat back down?


Yeah, that's probably not a good idea ... at least in the workplace.