A 2017 Gallup study states that an adult works for 47 hours a week on an average, which is well over the limit of the usual standard of a 40-hour workweek. We work too hard.

avg working hours US


Working in the same place for nearly 9 hours a day with the same set of colleagues and the same routine every single day does take a toll on the mind. Everyone wants to break the monotony once in a while. Good pranks do the deed. Office pranks are a good way to break the ice and keep the momentum going in an otherwise busy work schedule. Just know where to draw the line.

Using prank ideas at work has multifold benefits. This not only makes employees more creative and productive but also ensures that there is less absenteeism at work.

In this complete guide, we will tell you the long and short of office pranks, what’s appropriate and whatnot, and office prank ideas that can definitely be used without getting fired.

What are the simple rules of office pranks?

The most important criterion for pulling an office prank on a coworker is the relationship you have with the person concerned. Further, people need to be more cautious when they are using office prank ideas on a colleague because this is the work environment that we are talking about. Here are the simple rules for doing a good office prank:

No anger should be involved

The objective of office pranks is to have fun and not be vindictive. A prank shouldn’t be pulled off with the intention of getting back at someone. Pulling off work pranks is supposed to be a happy exercise and not an angry one. The latter can lead to legal consequences.

No destruction of office property

Well, this is an obvious one. You do not want to be slapped with a humongous bill at the end of work pranks. There should be no vandalization of property or even desk. That is not an idea of good pranks.

No disruptions of work

The purpose of office pranks is to lighten up the mood and overall work environment so that employee productivity increases. Thus, even if the best office pranks are pulled, those are of no use if they disrupt the workflow too hard. One wouldn’t want to lose a client over mood lightening, after all. It will only lead to darker hours, afterwards.

No pranks with clients

As we said in the previous point, no office pranks with clients. They are third parties and not a part of the work environment. That’s reason suffice to keep them out of the whole prank scenario.

Prank those who can go with it

Many good pranks fail because they were done with people who couldn’t take it in the same vibe. Make sure that pranks are only pulled off on people who can take it sportingly. Many employees are happy being spectators and that is fine as well. Do not encourage prank pulling on someone who is short-tempered or even not in the best of mental health space. That will not lead to fruitful results.

No illegal stuff in the name of good pranks

To cut the long story short; no drugs, no discrimination, no harassment, no assault, no prohibited content, and the likes. Pranks for coworkers should be clean and neat.

No causing injury

duct tape for toilet paper

Again, this is an obvious one. There should be no punching contests or any activity which may remotely involve getting injured, while pranks for coworkers are being planned and executed.

No crossing the lines

Finally, this is an abstract but important rule of pulling good pranks; one should not cross any line and should be aware of boundaries. Our instinct makes us well aware of what equation we share with different people. That knowledge should be used to figure out what office pranks can be pulled.

The office pranks should be light-hearted and not be vulgar or illegal to be funny.

Keeping that in mind, let’s get you acquainted with some good pranks that can be pulled off safely at work.

Some of our favourite funny office prank ideas

Taking cues from the aforementioned, we thought, why not list some easy office pranks for you to implement? Thus, here they are. Here is a list of some funny office pranks that can definitely lighten up the mood.

Mangle the Monitor

Well, not literally. But this is one of the good pranks. All it needs is some steps, sometimes, and some shortcuts. Sneak onto the computer and flip the screen by pressing control+alt+f1. This will activate image rotation on the screen. Now press control and any of the direction keys to rotate the screen. This is one of those office pranks that work best on those who are not very tech-savvy. So pick the person wisely. A tech geek will only get annoyed at the stupidity of it, the other person may get pranked.

Picture Perfect Swap

Many people have a habit of keeping a family picture on their desks. Before they come in the morning, you can swap the picture for a funny picture of an actor, or even a meme. Pull in a few other people in the prank and when the person asks about the original picture, pretend that the prank picture was always there.

Fake Virus

There are websites such as fakeupdate.net that specialize in creating realistic update animations for the screen. All that needs to be done is logging on to the website when the employee is not at the desk, select the prank message, and then make it full screen. This is one of those office pranks that are sure to scare them a little bit.

fake update office prank

Birthday Bomb

This one’s quite easy. Just pick the employee, gather around, and start singing the birthday song. Throw in a few decors and a birthday cake for good measure. The startled expression, awkwardness, and the resultant hilarious confrontation will make sure this becomes one of the best birthday pranks ever.

Sleep Snap

Does your office have a sleeping corner or even a resting corner? While there are many people who are not very comfortable taking a nap in the middle of their bustling workspace, there are those who are least bothered about the attention. They sleep and how. Make sure that the employee has slept, and then begin. Make other employees take funny pictures with the said employee and then hang it in team hallway.

face on head sleep prank

Screen Crap

Work pranks need to be innovative and simple so that it doesn’t take much time. This one’s the easiest of the lot. Simply take a screenshot of the employee’s last working screen, set it as the desktop, and minimize the other applications. Now let the person come back and struggle for some time trying to figure out why the screen has frozen.

Inside Out

Now, this is one of those prank ideas that need a little bit of work but is totally worth it. Turn onions into caramel treats. Just pick onions and dip them generously in caramel paste. Leave them to try and stick in the popsicle sticks. Serve with tears.

Toast with Voice

This is one of the basic office pranks but an effective one. Just bring in a new office appliance, for instance, a toaster. Put on the instructions of using it as “It is voice-activated.” Sit back and watch the employees shout instructions at the toaster all-day long.

Pizza Prank

Everyone loves a crumbling and crusty pizza. Take a new pizza packaging and place it on the employee’s desk with a note. But instead of pizza, fill the box with actual raw material or even veggies. There can be another note inside, asking them to eat healthily. This can be followed up with an actual pizza to make up for the prank.

Eye See You

Know an employee who won’t shut up about loving horror movies? Here’s one of those good prank ideas that will give them a taste of their own medicine. Blow-up a horror movie scene and paste it in sync with an open space, whether on the ceiling or at the window. Create an eerie atmosphere and direct the employee’s attention there or wait for them to figure it out and creep out.

cobwebs and skeleton in office prank


Doll it up

Whenever your employees take a day off, sick or otherwise, place a replacement doll at their desk and leave it until they come back and physically remove it. The doll can give them quite an identity crisis.

Boss Prank

Pranks for coworkers or employees are easy. But how to pull a prank on a boss? For starters, know the conduct of the person and be aware of how he or she would take it. If the boss is one who is fun at work, a prank or two should be fun to pull off as well. Gift them a customized mug which states the best boss, but when kept upside down, can show a middle finger or a ‘Just Joking’ symbol. Simple, effective, and non-offensive.


This one’s a little crazy but effective. Start replicating the pictures on the desk of the employee. That can be done by replacing the faces of family and friends with those of colleagues. Watch how much time comprehension takes.


Make copies of paperclips or even staple pins and put the printouts in the tray of the copier or scanner. It will be fun to watch the employees struggle to find where the scanner has that paperclip gone.

Mess up!

Know a messy employee? Add gradually on to it. Use your office pranks techniques to just add a few things here and there every day. Wait till they figure out some extra mess is going on. This may take a few days.

Mouse Affairs

This requires a simple scotch but tape but is one of the good work pranks. Just put a strip of the tape on the lower side of the mouse. Now, the mouse will be clicking but not scrolling properly, thus being quite annoying. You can wait until they decide to go to the IT department to get it fixed. Then it’s time for revelation.

Office pranks should be harmless and funny. As long as you fulfil these conditions and do not hurt anyone, your tricks will be bonafide pranks. Easy office pranks make everyone smile at the end of the day.

When are office pranks considered harassment?

There is a thin line between pulling a leg and bullying. That line should not be crossed. Office pranks are a good way of making the work environment easier and less stringent, but they should never compromise the comfort and confidence of the employees. Here are a few things to be kept in mind:

  • Do not prank a person with mental health issues or PTSD
  • If you know a person is suffering from a particular phobia, do not turn those phobias into work pranks
  • Bullying and harassment does not fall under the category of good office pranks and will lead to repercussions
  • Office pranks should not be an abuse of power
  • No office pranks should be directed towards firing a person
  • If someone asks you to stop or asks you not to do it again, then please respect that

Easy and light, office pranks need not be an extravagant attempt to make a mockery out of someone. These are just ways to make everyone laugh and get by the workday, together.

Should you pull off office pranks?

You should, but keep in mind the person towards whom it is directed and various organizational policies. It is essential to know all the rules and regulations and also about the behaviour of the employee or employees in question, before indulging into work pranks. Once all that is known, office pranks are actually fun.

Also read: Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, Baby Boomer: Understanding the Multigenerational Workforce

What office pranks have been pulled off at your workplace? Do tag us on Twitter at @HarmonizeHQ and let us know.