The Office Hijinks Series – Part 1:  Introduction

It’s pretty easy to get caught up in the technical hustle and bustle of all work all the time.  While hard work and professionalism are of course very important (especially for a technical blog visible to the entire Internet) it’s also important to have a little fun and express some good-natured creativity.

A number of years ago, I pioneered a series of good-natured office pranks as a means of introducing some additional fun into the office.  While it may seem at first glance to be silly, there were actually some very good benefits from integrating some office pranks into our workplace:

  • Increased morale and team building — when you say to your co-workers “hey, let’s fill Eric’s office with balloons while he’s out for the week” and the entire team is participating and laughing, you know you’re doing a good thing.
  • Increased employee retention — having a fun environment in which you never know what the next big prank will be, it’s hard to give that up in favor of something else.
  • Marketing – inevitably, when we take pictures of an office prank and post them on Facebook, we get tons of comments to the tune of “wow, cool, I wish I worked there!!”
  • A great outlet for creativity — when you spend the majority of the day repairing issues and fixing problems, its nice to be able to exercise some creativity and build something unique.
So, there you have it, a business case for office hijinks!
Whenever I put together an office prank, I usually have a few guidelines I follow to make sure it stays fun for everyone:
  • No permanent destruction of the victim’s or office property — let’s face it, if you intentionally were to break something the victim cares about or would have difficulty replacing, all the fun is sucked out of the room quickly.
  • Nothing that would be too difficult to clean up or prevent the victim from being able to work in a reasonable amount of time — having hours and hours of cleanup or inability to work is no fun for anyone.
  • If anybody wants to opt out, they’re out — if anybody doesn’t want to participate for any reason, either as a participant or victim, that’s totally fine.
  • It shouldn’t be too disrupting during work hours — its normal to build some of the office prank during business hours, but it shouldn’t be too disruptive.  Some work outside of business hours is almost always required.
  • Spend some money, but don’t go overboard — at best, the prank is going to stay around a week or so, so there’s no harm in making things out of cardboard.  Odds are it’ll be thrown out at the end anyway!
Stay tuned for next week when we cover our first office prank — Part 1, the “My Little Pony Prank