AUTHOR: Josh Humphrey

Sometimes we take ourselves way too seriously, especially in the office. Yes work is serious stuff blah blah, but everyone needs a bit of light relief every now and then.

Not only that, but having a laugh in the office can actually help boost productivity don cha know? Don’t believe us?

Well, according to a Robert Half International survey, 91% of executives believe a sense of humour is important for career advancement; while 84% feel that people with a good sense of humour do a better job. Heck, even Eisenhower believed we should all have a good laugh at work:

"A sense of humour is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done."
Dwight D. Eisenhower

If your office culture needs a good rocket fired up its butt, your boss is game and your colleagues are up for a laugh, one of the best ways to give everyone a giggle is with a good old harmless office prank off. Because let’s face it once you prank you’re gonna be pranked back.

To help you get started, we tracked down some great ideas and added a few twists of our own to some classics. Dive into our top 10 office pranks to pull at work and prepare to get silly.

See also: 10 coolest offices in the world with a unique twist


1. Balloon the Boss - bring the p-a-r-t-y to the office

If you have access to a couple of air pumps, a dozen energetic colleagues - or one colleague with iron lungs - then filling your manager’s office with balloons will give everyone a giggle. Of course a few limp balloons on the floor will not be very effective in this prank, so it’s worth packing the office with a combination of blown and pumped balloons for maximum #awmygawd impact. Besides if there’s some helium balloons in the mix you can enjoy a team signalong of the Bee Gees ‘Stayin’ Alive’ chipmunk style later - standard.

On their arrival, arm them with a pin and some safety goggles. Not only is it a fun trick, they get to relieve some stress popping the blighters. Check out this video to see how’s it’s done:


This is a top prank to play on your boss for their birthday, assuming they don’t have a latex allergy. The paperwork for anaphylactic shock will be a lot more time consuming. Plus losing your job at the cost of your manager’s demise is a difficult one to cover on your CV. Think smart people. Safety first. Anything inflatable is game in this prank - giant bananas, blow up dolls... you get the idea.


2. Phobia Funnies - drown their desk with their worst fears


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Phobias are a very serious thing, but they can also be very funny - sorry not sorry. If you’re confident they won’t have an actual heart attack, you could cover your colleagues desk with what they fear most. Now, unless you were desperate for a low budget Snakes On A Plane sequel, we are not talking real life animals here. Think plastic creepy crawlies, pictures of clowns, freaky dolls or - if you’re really sadistic - a heap of Bieber posters. 

There are no limits to the the desk drowning material, anything really that will make your team mate jump and give them the heebie jeebies. Perhaps best to leave the boss out of this one, or they could retaliate with something just as scary - a P45.


3. Danger mouse - remove their ball or mess with the clicker

There is nothing more entertaining than watching your colleague lose their marbles with a tech error that makes no sense. Messing with the mouse is an office classic and probably one of the easiest pranks to pull. Simply remove the rollerball from their computer mouse and snigger away as your colleague grows more and more frustrated. 

Alternatively, if you’re dealing with a laptop and Mac mouse evolutions you can place a small strip of masking tape over the laser or to be really sneaky, plug in a USB receiver remote and just give the receiving mouse an occasional wiggle to do their nut in now and then. 

Extra points if you get one over on the tech support team with this one.


4. Team magic act - disappear or transform while they sleep

Monday mornings after a heavy night out can suck, if this often leads to a few Z’s at their desk then see this as an opportunity. The disappearing act version of this prank takes some teamwork, but the ideas is to get the whole department to hide while they sleep. When they wake up no one is to be seen. Here’s a video to show you how it’s done:


Another option if you can’t afford the downtime for the team, is to mess with their minds by transforming in a ridiculous way. This could be scream masks, the whole team in heels or - if you’re brave enough and can get past the HR rope - semi naked. It’s important that everyone acts completely normal and you convince the sleeper that it’s all in their mind. Make sure you have a camera setup to capture the reaction. 

If you’re in a corporate office where that just isn’t going to happen, either rally in the HR department for official approval or just hide under the desk when your colleague goes to the loo and give them a fright when they sit back down. Just make sure they’re not at risk of a heart attack and/or wearing a skirt/dress or things could get awkward. 


5. Cress keyboard classic - green finger their keyboard


Image source: wikicommons 

This is a great one for any health obsessed or vegan colleagues who always seem to judge you on your KFC lunch break choices. Take off the keys of their keyboard and cast your mind back to primary school science. Apply wet cotton wool and cress seeds and replace all the keys. 

While this prank will take a little longer to be appreciated, if done correctly they will have a keyboard to match what the inside of their stomachs must look like. Oh and we really dig this dystopian chic look - coining it! Like the good old days when we used to meet at the fountain, it’s old school but effective. This one very much depends on how OTT your health and safety team are, even the slightest suggestion of water near electrical appliances will have them reeling…


6. Take the P*SS - cling film possibilities are endless


Image source: The Sun

You’re probably thinking, what kind of disgusting, immature philistine could think this is a suitable prank in an office when even the dopiest teenager would think it’s a step too far? Well, you would be right. While it may be a great post wedding prank, we do not suggest cling filming the toilet at work. Even if the idea of watching your perfectly-tailored-Armani-suit-wearing-colleague staggering drenched out of the stalls seems tempting. 

Cling film has so many other possibilities. You could cling film your colleagues desk - chair, computer, stationary the lot or their car if you’re feeling brave and let's face it, energetic. Even better why not arrive early for your weekly catch up and cling film the doorway before your boss arrives fashionably late - squished mid confident strut into the meeting. Make sure you capture this one on camera and you’ll have endless giggle material whenever you need it. 


7. Fancy dress hoax - pull together and commit to the facade


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A great prank to pull on a ‘down with the kids’ manager or boss with a competitive streak. Simply let the boss know that the office work party is fancy dress, preferably with decent invites for the whole team who are in on it. To make it really convincing, let them catch you planning or bringing in your own costumes in to work. Even better tell them about your elaborate ideas so they get competitive and go full out with their costume. 

Cameras ready, await their arrival and watch the room erupt in hysterics as they turn up to the black tie event as Elmo from Sesame Street. Make sure they can take a joke though and buy them a pint afterwards to soften the blow. For some extra post work doo antics you could go with a Where’s Wally theme and have fun spotting them in the work photos after the event. 

A prank that requires some level of tact so you don’t cross the line from legendary office story to horribly cruel memory that scars them for life. A lesson to you all, always get ready and arrive in a group for a fancy dress event!


8. Office Dog spider - scare the crap out of your colleagues

If your office dog is a real trooper who doesn’t mind dressing up and can cope with a few screams, then why not turn him into a giant spider. A great prank to pull on Halloween or just for the hell of it. To make it much more entertaining you could set up some giant spider scenes, laying down in the lift with the dog on top so your manager jumps out of their skin when the door opens. Simple but very effective, check out the video below for some inspiration.



9. Chair horn - make ‘em jump out of their seat

Get those minds out of the gutter, by chair horn we mean a horn under the chair. We all have that one colleague who is super on edge and just needs to chill out or really lazy and in need of a wake up call. If you know they’re going to be in a meeting or on lunch, an air horn and some cling film can be contorted into an ingenious device to scare the bejeezus out of them when they sit down. 

Not to be done under a low ceiling or to the faint hearted. Best to save this one for someone you know can take a joke, perhaps even as a retaliation prank to get someone back. It’s a classic, watch it in action:



10. The nom trap - trick your glutinous colleagues


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Have you ever received a company wide email saying there is [insert junk food of choice here] in the kitchen and watched as half the building migrates there? Whether you have strong feelings on making healthier choices or just want to mess with your colleagues, there are some great pranks to pull that will trap your food grabbing work mates. 

A popular April Fool's choice. Simply fill an empty Krispy Kreme box with healthy snacks, so you can witness the crushing disappointment as the first herd to arrive opens the box. The best part about this prank is you get to eat a bunch of donuts first - because the calories don’t exist if no one knows you consumed them, right? A little more effort involved in this one, but you could also make sticky toffee onions and watch as your colleagues take a nice big bite - arggghhh! 

See also: 5 tips for avoiding office drama


Now get stuck in and have a laugh

Joking aside, remember pranks are only funny if the people you play them on can take a joke, so just remember to save them for people who are up for a laugh. You also need to get the timing right, if you do this when there is an important client visit or head office audit, those balloons will turn to led. While in the old days you could get away with pretty much anything in the office, the best way to do this without fear of losing your job is suggest a period of time in the year when the team are able to prank off in the office and lay down some ground rules or ask anyone with a weak ticker or allergies to make them known before you commence. 

Now you have done your recon, take your pick or use these office prank ideas to inspire you and not only will you have a giggle, you will also boost staff morale. Prank off at the ready - 3...2...1 GO!

See also: 8 cool company perks to make you jealous

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