April Fool’s is the day of the year when the office clown shines.
They might be gift-wrapping a work station, leaving fake money on the floor, or asking the intern if they’re ready to deliver their big presentation. April 1st pranks are a workplace staple everywhere.
In 2021, however, April Fool’s pranksters around the world are stuck working at home. Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can pull your colleagues’ legs remotely, and bring some humor to this dark time.
1. The fake new colleague
Introducing a new recruit who doesn’t actually exist is a classic prank that lends itself particularly well to remote working.
While in a regular office, you might start by asking your unsuspecting colleague whether they’ve “met the new guy?”, when you’re working from home, you can take this prank to a whole other level.
To create a whole fake identity for your ‘new colleague’, you should:
- Create a fake work email address
- Send an email introducing them to the team
- Add them into group chats, and send messages in their persona
- Create tasks for them to complete in your project manager
It’s up to you when you want to reveal the joke. You might decide to kill off your character at the end of April Fool’s Day, or wait for your return to the office with your real colleague looking forward to meeting the fake one.
2. The ‘what’s that behind you?’
With meetings being held via video conferencing, thousands of people around the world have just discovered that virtual backgrounds are a thing.
If you are using a service like Zoom, you’re able to change the background of your video feed to any image you want. For those with a love of pranks, this feature is ripe for fun.
All you need to do is:
- Choose your background (and arrange any props you’ll need)
- Invite your colleague to a video call
- Display your virtual background image to baffle them
- Keep a straight face
You have total creative freedom as to what you show. You might have the image of someone lying face down on the floor behind you, or go absurdist with a moonscape and an astronaut suit.
3. The meme star
Are you the kind of prankster that likes viral content and going the extra mile? This prank takes some time and effort to prepare, but the results can be hilarious.
Take some of the most popular trending memes, and make your colleague the star. If you do a bad Photoshop job, it’s even funnier.
To carry out this April Fool’s Day prank, you should:
- Choose your target, and collect pictures of them from social media
- Photoshop their face into popular memes
- Create a website, and populate it with the memes
- Share a link to you unsuspecting colleague
- Sit back while they’re seriously weirded out
You can use Zyro to create a meme website for free. Maybe your colleague will become an internet sensation?
4. The ‘important’ report
There’s a special kind of cold sweat reserved for when you’ve forgotten something really important. Even worse, is when someone reminds you of something important you’re meant to have done, and you can’t remember it at all.
Well, remote working offers the perfect conditions for you to weaponize this feeling into a prank. Sending a friendly reminder that ‘that big report’ is due today is sure to freak out your hard-working colleagues.
To make sure this prank lands, you should:
- Drop your colleague a message asking: “Will you have that big report ready for 3 pm?”
- Perhaps follow up with something like: “It’s really important all the numbers are right!”
- Set yourself to ‘Away’
- Ignore their messages and calls until 3 pm
Make sure you only try this prank on colleagues you know will forgive you in the long-run. Certainly don’t pull it on anyone with high blood pressure.
5. The double
Like the idea of using a virtual background to prank your co-workers, but want to take it a confusing step further? How about getting out of the frame entirely, and just projecting their own face back at them?
This joke is sure to spark confusion, as people start talking to themselves, and wondering if they’ve been stuck inside too long.
To pull off this prank you’ll need to:
- Invite someone to a video call
- Use their video stream as your virtual background
- Avoid getting in front of your camera
- Sit back and let them have a conversation with themselves
It might be fun to bring multiple colleagues into the call, and get all the others to act like nothing’s wrong.
6. The company re-brand
Everyone’s familiar with the look of their company’s brand. The logo, slogan and website design should all be familiar to anyone who’s worked at a company for a while. Imagine if one day, though, it all changed?
Baffle a colleague by getting the rest of your team to rebrand your company with an entirely new look. This means a new logo, website design, and even footers to your emails.
To carry this prank out, you’ll need to:
- Change your company logo wherever possible
- Edit any documents with your new branding
- Design any team spaces with your new look
- Deny any knowledge of changes when asked
7. The emoji whisperer
Have you got one of those colleagues who ends every message with an annoying emoji? Give them a taste of their own medicine by getting everyone else to communicate with them exclusively using emojis.
You can decide how far to take this, whether it’s just one email, giving them a task, or having all communications as emojis for the day.
One way you might do this is to:
- Create a task for your colleague
- Use only emojis to describe what you need (be as accurate as you can)
- If the colleague asks for more information, only respond with emojis
- If they don’t complete the task, send them a big, sad face
Any gen Z colleagues will quickly figure out what’s needed. Try pulling this on a boomer for best results.
8. The retro look
Remember how crazy computers looked back in the 90s? Remember when the best look you could give a presentation was Word Art? Wouldn’t it be nice to bring back that retro look?
This prank basically involves styling all the documents you send and share with your target with that 90s computer look. They’ll wonder if the office has gone mad, or they’ve gone back in time.
To land this prank, you’ll need to:
- Design all work documents like back in the 90s
- Think sparkly animated headlines and Word Art
- Send them to your target with no explanation
- Pretend you don’t see what’s wrong when they ask
This works particularly well on younger colleagues, who might not be familiar with the look.
9. The special delivery
While we’re all stuck at home, postal deliveries are one of our online lifelines to the outside world. It’s always nice to get a special delivery. How about sending your colleague… a glitter bomb?
While glitter is a fine face decoration, it’s a bad look for your living room carpet. You can create your own glitter letter just with an overstuffed envelope, or order a spring-loaded glitter bomb online.
You’ll need to:
- Find out your colleague’s address
- Order or make a glitter bomb
- Send it to their home
- Commiserate when they tell you about it later
Be environmentally conscious and only use biodegradable glitter, of course.
10. The heart attack
This prank is not for the faint of heart. If you really want to shock your colleagues, you could pretend you’re suffering from a medical emergency.
This is another prank where you’ll need to set a video call for the effect to work. It’s all about putting on a convincing act, and seeing it through to the end.
What you need to do is:
- Set up a video call with your target
- Once on the phone, complain of pain in your left arm
- Gradually complain of more pain and symptoms
- ‘Pass out’ and leave you colleague to wonder if you’re ok
Remember to confirm you’re alright before someone calls an ambulance.
11. The disappearing act
We’ve told you loads of ways to confuse your colleagues on video calls with you there. In this prank, you simply have to disappear.
The goal is to confuse your colleagues by just disappearing while on a video call, then being unreachable via messages or calls.
To do this, you should:
- Arrange a video call
- Wander off half-way though without saying anything
- Ignore messages
- Ignore texts
- Ignore calls
- Go enjoy the sunshine
It’s not entirely clear whether this is a prank, or an excuse to not do any work…