20 Funny Office Prank Ideas for a Livelier Workplace

Written by

Ever wondered how to pull off the perfect office prank that’s all in good fun? Whether it’s to celebrate a colleague’s milestone or just to break up the daily grind, our list of 20 funny office pranks guarantees laughter without crossing the line. Discover office pranks that are clever, not cruel, and easy enough for anyone to orchestrate for some harmless workplace amusement and promote positive mental health at the office.

Key Takeaways

  • Office pranks should be more about gag gifts than HR incidents – know your audience and don’t be the reason for the next sensitivity training!
  • Forget fun houses targeted for kids. The confusion and amusement for adults is an altered workspace with swapped family photos, mysterious desk shrinkage, and a keyboard turned chia pet garden.
  • The road to true office hilarity is paved with fake autocorrect texts, voice-activated copiers talking back, and donut boxes filled with… surprise! Veggies.

Prank Essentials: Setting the Stage for Office Humor

Office prank essentials

Have you ever pondered why some office pranks are retold with a giggle time and again while others fade into obscurity? The key lies in knowing the terrain – the company culture and the soft edges of your colleagues’ limits.

You may recall Jim’s uproarious pranks from the popular US television show The Office, which showcased some of the best office pranks ever witnessed. While these funny office pranks were completely outrageous jokes, not everyone found them so amusing – particularly Dwight, Jim’s coworker and prime target. Among other pranks, some of the most famous include putting Dwight’s stapler in Jell-O, and moving Dwight’s entire desk (and computer, and phone) into the men’s bathroom.

A prank taken too far, when Jim moves the desk of his co worker to the bathroom

It’s important to lay out some office prank ground rules. You can adjust or add to these based on your coworkers’ sense of humor and your company culture. But in general, we recommend you adhere to the following:

  • Respect privacy – some of the following pranks involve making slight changes to a colleague’s desk, computer settings, auto correct settings, or email. You’ll need to use your best judgement when attempting these pranks in particular, as some co-workers work styles may be especially private. And always stick to the prank. Snooping, even what seems like harmless peaking, is a breach of privacy.
  • Review your employee handbook – most of the office prank options below are relatively PG, but you’ll still want to make sure you aren’t breaking any office rules or policies. For example, there may be strict rules against using other employees’ computers, or receiving mail at the office.
  • Keep it fun – office pranks should be fun for everyone, including the person being pranked. If your intention is to get back at someone for something personal, or to be mean or tease, please don’t use a prank in place of having a conversation. Additionally, keep it light. The last thing you want is your coworkers recounting horror stories about that one prank that sent Tom to the hospital or Janice to HR.

Whether for April Fools Day – or any day – a well-executed office prank can spark creativity, lead to contagious office laughter, and strengthen bonds among colleagues. If you’re looking for a great prank that captures the room’s attention and gets everyone laughing, read on for the top April Fools and office prank ideas.

Desk Disarray: The Ultimate Confusion

A prank taken too far, when Jim moves the desk of his co worker to the bathroom

Picture this: you walk into your office, head straight for your desk, and something feels off. Your family pictures have been replaced with pictures of your colleague mimicking the same poses. You sit down, and your desk divider seems closer than it usually is, and weren’t there fewer kitten photographs on your co worker’s desk last week? As you look around, you notice that your co workers seem to be in on the joke, making the atmosphere even more amusing. You even spot a kitten screensaver on your colleague’s computer, adding to the hilarity of the situation.

Just when you think you’ve gotten used to this new arrangement, you open your desk drawer, and everything’s been moved around. You can’t find your stapler or your favorite pen. You turn to your computer, and your desktop icons don’t respond. Welcome to the realm of desk disarray, where the mundane turns into a source of gentle bewilderment!

The Phantom Vibration: Your Chair Has a Message

Think about that split second of confusion when you feel your phone vibrate, but there’s no message or call. Now, imagine that feeling coming from your office chair! You sit down, and there’s a faint vibration – a phantom message from the depths of your seat cushion.

However, before you proceed with these funny pranks, bear in mind to always keep those around you in the loop. We aim for hearty laughter, not accidental distress or panic, and it’s essential to remember that it’s all a prank.

The Art of Misdirection with Sticky Notes

Who said sticky notes are just for reminders? How about creating an office scavenger hunt? Here’s how:

  1. Craft riddles on colorful post its or other sticky notes.
  2. Hide the notes around the office.
  3. Each sticky note should lead to the next clue.
  4. Picture your coworkers unraveling riddles and hustling to find the subsequent clue.
  5. Get creative with what’s at the end of the riddle, whether it’s a missing object from the colleague’s desk, or a special surprise.

You might even be able to add job-related clues, such as “You’ll find your next clue on the desk of the person responsible for this month’s employee meeting agenda.” It’s a fun way to break the monotony of the day and engage everyone in a bit of office adventure!

The Snack Swap Surprise

Craving a mid-day snack? You head to the office pantry, grab your favorite snack from the shelf, take a bite, and surprise! It’s not what you expected. The Snack Swap Surprise replaces regular snacks with similar-looking alternatives, offering an unexpected twist to your snack break.

Envision biting into what you believe to be a chocolate chip cookie, only to discover it’s a raisin one! Or reaching for a packet of chips and finding healthy kale chips instead. Such culinary surprises are bound to incite laughter during break time.

Keyboard Garden: When Nature Calls at Work

Keyboard garden prank

Ever thought of bringing a bit of nature to your office? How about a miniature garden right on your keyboard? Yes, you heard it right! A Keyboard Garden! Sprinkle some soil between the keys of an old keyboard, plant some chia seeds, and you’ve got yourself a green oasis.

To ensure your garden grows, keep the keyboard moist and place it near a window for sunlight. And for the grand reveal, replace your coworker’s keyboard with the green one. Watch their surprise as they find a sprouting garden where their keyboard used to be!

The Cursor Conundrum

Ever had one of those days when your computer mouse seems to have a mind of its own? This prank is all about that! Change the speed of your coworker’s mouse movement on their computer. Now watch as they try to get their cursor to cooperate!

Alternatively, switch the mouse pointer to an eternally loading cursor. A perpetually busy cursor might just convince someone their computer is working overtime! If you’re a Mac user, how about making the mouse pointer extremely large? With every move of the mouse, there’s sure to be a good laugh!

The Package

Everyone loves receiving packages, especially unexpected ones! How about sending a mysterious package to your coworker? Imagine their curiosity as they open it, only to find an inflatable doll, complete with a card revealing the prank? The surprise and laughter that follows will be priceless!

This prank is not limited to inflatable dolls. You can fill the package with any amusing or surprising item, even a trash can. The essence is to maintain a jovial and light-hearted tone.

The Autocorrect Rebellion

Autocorrect has a notorious reputation for changing words and causing hilarious misunderstandings. But what if you use it to your advantage for a good office prank? Imagine adjusting your colleague’s autocorrect settings to replace common words with funny alternatives. It’s time for the autocorrect to rebel!

Creating a new shortcut involves choosing a frequently used word and assigning a humorous word as its replacement. For an effective prank, repeat the process of creating shortcuts for several common words. The result? A consistent laugh every time your colleague types an email or a report.

The Great Paper Clip Chase

Paperclip in the copier prank

We’ve all had that moment of panic when we see a paperclip jammed in the copier. But what if there’s no paperclip, just an illusion of one? Welcome to the Great Paper Clip Chase!

Duplicate an image of a paperclip several times, place these copies into the copier’s paper tray, and then watch the fun. As your coworkers use the copier, they’ll spot the image of individual paper clips on their documents and commence a futile search for the phantom jammed paperclip. This harmless prank is a guaranteed laughter generator!

The Email Enigma

In the digital age, there’s no reason for pranks to be confined to physical spaces. Here comes the Email Enigma. Enroll your coworker in a range of humorous email newsletter mailing lists.

Imagine their surprise when they start receiving newsletters about strange hobbies or other funny topics. A little digital humor to brighten up their inbox! Here are some ideas for newsletters to register a co worker for:

  • Celebrity fan clubs
  • Fan clubs of a rival sports team
  • Enthusiast newsletters for less common hobbies like taxidermy or LARPing
  • Collectors newsletters for something unusual like PEZ or pencils

Put on your creative brain and get ready for some fun.

The Lunchtime Lottery: A Fridge Full of Surprises

Lunchtime should never be boring! With the Lunchtime Lottery, you shuffle coworkers’ lunches in the office refrigerator and add joke items.

Prepare the prank by:

  • subtly moving lunch containers around in the office refrigerator
  • supplementing the shuffled lunches by adding harmless joke items, such as a container with fake insects or a clearly-labeled ‘mystery meat’
  • include humorous notes or playful challenges inside certain containers to enhance the surprise element

But remember, always ensure that the joke items are easily distinguishable from real food to prevent any unintended mishaps. And as for the notes, they should be fun too. While you might be able to slip in a blurb about paybacks for a co-worker’s prank, it’s not the right way to ask for a raise.

The Voice-Activated Printer

In today’s world of prevalent voice commands, imagine the hilarity if your office equipment suddenly became voice-activated.

Imagine the confusion and laughter when your coworkers try to give voice commands to the office copier or printer. A notice or official announcement can help make the prank appear credible. Just sit back and watch the humorous attempts of colleagues trying to verbally interact with the machines.

The Meeting Room Mirage

Meetings need not be solely work-focused, even when using video conferencing apps. Inject some surprise with the Meeting Room Mirage. Set up a playful beach scene in the meeting room, or stash a foghorn in the room to startle everyone as they enter.

For a grander statement, fill a conference room or hallway with balloons. These unexpected setups are sure to add a splash of fun to any meeting!

The Unexpected Décor: From Drab to Fab

An office prank shows sticky notes covering the walls and desk of a coworker's office

Why should office décor be dull and boring? Let’s add some unexpected twists and turns! Here are some ideas to transform your coworker’s workstation using creative office supplies:

  • Wrap it up like a large, inviting present using wrapping paper
  • Create a playful drawbridge for their cubicle
  • Transform the work area into a tiki-themed workspace
  • Place a small and quirky decoration amidst their usual office paraphernalia
  • Plaster their cubicle with sticky notes covering every inch, including desk, chair, and screen for a vivid, textural surprise

Get creative and have fun with it!

The amusement extends beyond this. The possibilities are limitless, from interchanging photos to positioning humorous stress toys in unexpected locations!

The Classic Cup Prank: A Sea of Cups

Remember the classic senior prank of arranging water-filled cups on the floor? Let’s bring that to the office! First, fill disposable cups with water. Next, arrange the water-filled cups in a manner that requires careful removal to avoid spills. Now, watch as your coworkers navigate their way through the sea of cups. For bonus points, create patterns with the cups or hide a reward among them.

The Unexpected Celebration

Everyone enjoys a surprise celebration. Even without a particular occasion, a sprinkling of confetti or a popper can instantly brighten the office atmosphere.

Surprise your coworkers with a confetti trap or a popper, and watch their reactions. It’s an instant mood booster!

The Signature Switch-Up

Emails are a part of everyday office life. But how about adding a bit of humor to every email with a funny signature? Adding a witty or humorous quote to an email signature can inject personality into digital correspondence and create a more enjoyable experience for recipients. Just navigate to the settings menu in your email account to edit the email signature.

The Balloon Bonanza

Balloons are universally associated with festivities. For a twist, how about inflating your coworker’s office with balloons, purely for amusement? Inflate 100 balloons and place them around your coworker’s desk. Or, for a grander statement, fill a conference room or hallway with balloons. Now, sit back and watch their surprise as they find a balloon bonanza waiting for them!

The Parking Space Puzzler

Parking tickets rarely bring good news. But what if they were phony and filled with amusing messages? Introducing the Parking Space Puzzler!

Design a fake parking ticket that looks authentic, then add a funny quote or message. Personalize the tickets with inside office jokes or poke fun at your coworker’s parking skills. A lighthearted prank that’s sure to evoke laughter in the parking lot!

The Donut Dupe

Donuts are a cherished office indulgence. But what if you reached for a donut, only to find a nutritious snack in its place? Welcome to the Donut Dupe! Bring in a box of donuts, but instead of filling the box with donuts, fill it with healthy snacks like:

  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • nuts
  • yogurt
  • granola bars

Co workers will momentarily be disappointed, but hey, they can still enjoy a treat while also promoting healthier eating habits in the office.

A sweet surprise, with a healthy twist!


Office pranks can bring a dash of humor and camaraderie to the workplace. From rearranging a coworker’s desk to creating a keyboard garden, these pranks are designed to add a fun twist to the everyday office routine. So, why not try one of these hilarious office prank ideas? After all, laughter is the best stress-buster!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do all office pranks require a lot of preparation?

Nope! Some office pranks can be set up quickly, while others might need a bit more planning. So, it depends on the prank and the level of mischief you’re aiming for. Cheers!

Are these pranks suitable for all office environments?

Most of these pranks are suitable for any office environment. but always consider the office culture and your colleagues’ comfort levels before pulling any pranks. What’s hilarious to one person might not be so funny to someone else.

Can these pranks disrupt workflow?

These pranks are meant to bring a laugh, not chaos! Just make sure to pull them off during breaks or non-peak hours to avoid work disruptions.

Are all these pranks safe?

Absolutely! These pranks are totally safe, but it’s always a good idea to give a heads-up to avoid any unnecessary panic. Have fun!

Can these pranks help improve office relationships?

You bet! Just remember to keep it considerate and appropriate, and you’ll see motivation and camaraderie soar in the office. Cheers to happy pranking!

  • Nicole Vesota

    Nicole is the Vice President and Project Manager for a small business, and has roles in leading and directing teams, as well as a variety of HR and administrative functions.