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April Fool’s Day: Dealing with humor in the workplace

by Celine on April 1st, 2008

It’s April Fool’s Day once again and 90% of the employees of the world have fear in their hearts. Fear, of course, of the office clown. The other 10% are the pranksters and those who enjoy practical jokes.

Are April Fool pranks ideal for the office environment? According to statistics, they aren’t. Here are the results from a survey conducted by The Creative Group:

Seven out of 10 (71 percent) marketing executives polled by The Creative Group consider April
Fools’ jokes unsuitable for the office. The responses were more evenly split among advertising executives, with about half (51 percent) finding workplace pranks appropriate versus 45 percent who gave a thumbs down.

Source: Reuters.com

Does this mean that most executives are uptight about humor?  Not necessarily.  But here are some tips on how to celebrate April Fool’s in your office:

Know your target.  This includes their humor threshold and their mood for the day.  I love fun and games just as much as the next person, but on a bad day I’m the Incredible Hulk (but with better clothes).  If you’re to play a prank or joke on a coworker, be sure that they’ll be receptive to it.  Otherwise you’ll be expecting a phone call from Human Resources.

Don’t let it interfere with the important stuff.  Make sure your pranks don’t affect your mark’s work, privacy, or relaxation time.  You might think it’s a little joke, but it can have big consequences.  Expect the worst and plan for it.

Remember that the goal is to have fun.  Not to offend somebody,  not to waste an awful amount of company supplies, and not to get anyone fired.  You and your target should both be laughing when it gets to the punchline.

Make it a workplace event.  Instead of letting new trainees shiver in their socks awaiting a prank of doom that may never arrive, make April Fool’s an official event that everyone can participate in.  Since everyone participates, your team can have an established set of rules (prank parameters, if you will) that don’t interfere with productivity and that everyone agrees with.  That way, everyone can expect some kind of joke so the thrill is still in place, but they won’t be afraid that it’ll go beyond their limits.

Do you celebrate April Fool’s Day in the workplace?  How do you do it?  What makes it successful?  What makes it unsuccessful?  Share your experiences in the comments.

Photo Credit: Image from Simona Dumitru from stock.xchng

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POSTED IN: Staying Sane, Workplace Wellness, Workplace hacks

2 opinions for April Fool’s Day: Dealing with humor in the workplace

  • Betsy
    Apr 1, 2020 at 8:44 am

    thanks for the april fools post! i’m contemplating how best to execute my prank at the office- althoug I want to make sure i don’t do something too over the top. johkes on you if you get fired on april fool’s day for a prank right? gifts.com has a bunch of funny gifts for 4/1, they even have a “pimp your cubicle” toy block. thought you might enjoy it:) thanks for the post!

  • Adanna
    Apr 3, 2020 at 7:16 pm

    Good post…..here’s another funny.


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