April’s Not-As-Foolish Day—HR Edition

Yay! It’s April Fool’s Day! Isn’t  it fun to play a prank on your coworker? Better yet, your boss—if you have the kind of boss who can take a joke.

Yesterday, I googled “April Fool’s pranks for coworkers” and found a bunch of articles on the many pranks you can play at work. But as I read through them, I soon realized most of these harmless pranks were ridiculously time-consuming. (Think of all the time it will take your coworker to remove thousands of oreos from his car or sticky note wallpaper off her cubicle walls!)

It’s the kind of thing that can drive someone who thrives on productivity mad! And believe me, HR cares about productivity. So instead of wrapping every piece of equipment on your coworker’s desk in tin foil or draping toilet paper from all those ceiling tiles in your office, consider some of these playful jokes that you and your coworkers can work together on to turn April Fool’s Day into April’s Not-As-Foolish Day:

Make headlines
An outrageous claim (that won’t really upset anyone, especially customers) can be a lot of fun. Especially for your customers. It’s gotta be outrageous enough that everyone will see it for what it is—a joke. Like when Taco Bell announced they were buying the Liberty Bell in 1996 or when Burger King announced its left-handed Whopper (they even took out a full-page ad in USA Today!).

Remember, though, not to make it a mean joke or something close to what you should be doing so that your customers wonder why you don’t offer that product and lose a couple notches of customer satisfaction in the process. (I’m guessing a few people did believe the Google announcement about Google Nose last year.)

It can be a funny way to get some added publicity and show your company culture as long as you can do it without getting anyone really worked up. Don’t worry about productivity here. You can mark this one up to PR. Any publicity is good publicity, right?

Offer up a funny function and create some real content
Lots of companies have been doing this sort of April Fool’s joke. Here are some of my favorites (Courtesy of Mashable):

1. Tic Tac announced they were releasing a pizza flavor.

2. Netflix added a category entitled “Movies and TV Shows About Seriously Pissed Off Wives.”

3. Sony released a new set of headphones, designed just for your cat!

4. Nesquik announced their new milk flavor, Broccoli! I’m sure the kiddos would be all over that!

5. My favorite, though, was when Virgin Atlantic Airlines announced its new glass-bottomed airplane. I’m guessing Dramamine would experience a dramatic increase in sales. Maybe this was a strategic alliance . . .

These are just plain fun. So in light of good fun and April Fool’s Day, we decided to create an April Fool’s video of our own.

Play that prank, if you must
Alright, we understand that was fun and all, but it may not have fully filled your desire for mischief. If you must do something directly to a coworker, let’s just make sure it doesn’t take forever to undo. Remember, productivity is super important every day, including April 1!

Here are some other harmless things you can do around the office that shouldn’t get you fired and will (hopefully) have your co-workers laughing (and you all working easily together for many years to come).

When your coworker steps away from the desk, you can Meowbify his computer screen.

Or change a coworker’s computer monitor wallpaper to David Hasselhoff or Punky Brewster (yes, this has actually happened to me not on April Fool’s Day, but on a day when IT was attempting to “encourage” me to start locking up my screen). Unfortunately for my IT guy, I kind of like Punky Brewster so I kept that one up for a while to reminisce about my childhood.

Or how about exchanging Michael’s framed family pictures with Dave’s? In fact, a switcharoo of the whole office would be kind of funny (although maybe too time-consuming, think productivity). Or switch Alex’s Bamboo plant with Angie’s potted plant medley.

I considered buying a couple mice from the pet store and releasing them in the office for fun, but then I worried about their safety. So instead I think I’ll stick with something a little safer, for everyone involved!