April Fool's Day invariably brings out the antics of the office pranksters, and this can provide much needed comic relief in some workplaces. If you like to play pranks on your coworkers, friends and family, you are probably already looking forward to April Fool's Day and even already planning the fun that you are going to have. However, in keeping with the harmless spirit of the day, it's important that you keep in mind that getting carried away while playing pranks could have unintended consequences and should avoided.
Things to Keep in Mind While Planning Your Workplace Pranks
If you would like to play an April Fool's Day on a coworker who you don't know well, it is best to err on the side of caution if you think that there is a chance that your prank may not be well received. Remember that successful pranks should be a two-way street, and if you don't know someone too well because they are new in the office or just naturally reticent, you could be making a mistake by playing a prank on them. It is wise to remember that you can't predict how another person may react to specific pranks. Save your pranks for those you know will respond as intended. Some people simply don't care for the attention that being the recipient of a prank creates, so take care to avoid playing pranks on those who seem as if they are uncomfortable in any sort of spotlight.
Keep Workplace Culture in Mind
If you work in a conservative field such as law or banking, workplace pranks should be low key. Other workplace environments may allow for a greater variety of pranks, but it's always best to play it safe. No matter where you work, you should always consider the possible consequences if the prank should somehow go wrong. If you have any doubts about a prank, it's best to save it for friends or family rather than play it on your coworkers. It is also advised that you select pranks that only minimally interrupt the work flow and that you avoid choosing pranks that could be construed as mean spirited. You should also playing pranks that undermine the authority of your boss -- even if this is done in a joking manner, it may create hard feelings.
Other Things to Consider When Playing Pranks
Workplace pranks have resulted in lawsuits, firings and simple bad feelings between coworkers. Even well-intentioned pranks can go wrong, so it's important that you avoid embarrassing coworkers with your pranks. Pranks that involve sexual implications are never okay in any work environment. Although it can be tempting to target a coworker whom you don't particularly like with a prank, it's never a good idea to do so.
Keeping workplace April Fool's Day pranks simple, short and appropriate will substantially reduce the risks that they pose. Remember, April Fool's Day pranks should never be at the expense of another person, and this is particularly true in the workplace.