Given how topsy turvy the world has gotten over the past year (and still is, actually), it seems rather strange to celebrate April Fool’s Day. If anything, it feels like we’ve been stuck in a perverse cycle all year, Groundhog Day style (but with a Black Mirror twist. Ugh).
On the other hand, there’s nothing like a few good-natured pranks to boost people’s spirits. Done right, they can even help lift morale and foster camaraderie.
Best of all, working remotely isn’t an obstacle to executing a good April Fool’s Day prank. Here are just a handful you can carry out this year:
1.) The “important” report.
You know that feeling of cold dread in your chest when you’ve forgotten something really important? Well, remote working conditions provide the perfect set-up to weaponize this into a prank.
Start by messaging a colleague with something like, “Hey, have you got that big report ready for this afternoon?” If you’re feeling extra mischievous, you can even follow up with something like, “It’s really important to get the numbers right!” And then ignore their calls or messages for a couple of hours.
IMPORTANT NOTE: It’s best to pull this trick only on colleagues or workers who will definitely forgive you (and who don’t have high blood pressure).
2.) “Fake” new colleague.
Remote working makes it all too easy to introduce a new colleague…who doesn’t exist.
All you need to do is create a fake work email address for them, and then send an email introducing them to the team. Add the fake colleague to your group chats and assign (non-important) tasks to them in your project manager app. You could even send messages in their persona, if you want.
It’s up to you to decide when the jig is up. You could do a reveal at the end of April Fool’s Day…..or keep it going until everyone gets back to the office.
3.) “What’s that behind you?”
Virtual backgrounds can be a playground for consummate pranksters. Simply choose a background and arrange props you might need. Use your imagination! Why not feature a background with someone lying face down on the floor? Or one where someone appears to be using the toilet behind you….without closing the door?
When you’re ready, invite your colleague to a video call. Keep a straight face and look baffled when they ask about what’s in the background.
4.) The meme star.
This requires a bit of extra time and effort, but it’s super fun. If you like memes, you’ll enjoy this one.
Take the most popular trending memes, and then Photoshop your colleague’s face onto them. Don’t worry about your ability to edit the photos either. The worse it looks, the funnier the prank will be!
Don’t forget to create a free website and populate it with your new memes! Sit back, relax, and share the link to an unsuspecting colleague.
5.) Emoji whisperer.
Create a task for a colleague, but use only emojis to explain. If they ask for more info, respond ONLY with emojis. If you get no response, send them a big, sad emoji face.
For maximum enjoyment, try pulling this on a boomer colleague.
6.) Special delivery.
Oh, boy. This’ll create a bit of a mess, so be sure to choose a “victim” who’ll take it in stride.
You can either order a spring-loaded glitter bomb online or make your own glitter envelope by stuffing an envelope with it. Send this on to a colleague (anonymously, if you want) and sound sufficiently sympathetic when they tell you all about it later.
7.) Body double.
Invite your colleague to a video call and make sure they have their camera on. Then, wait for it, use THEIR video stream as YOUR virtual background. (Just avoid going in front of your camera.)
You could even bring in multiple colleagues who are in on it, and then have them pretend that everything’s normal.
8.) Company “re-branding.”
Imagine logging into work one day and seeing all the company logos changed? Then all your colleagues behave as though nothing’s out of the ordinary? That would certainly throw anyone in for a loop.
As with a few of the pranks on this list, you’ll need to make a bit of effort for this. First, change your company logo. Second, edit all documentation with the new logo. You could also apply the changes to any and all team spaces for the day. Lastly, when asked, deny the said changes. Get everyone else to do the same, if you can.
9.) The disappearing act.
Want to play hooky for the day? Itching to play a prank? Hit two birds with one stone via this one.
All you need to do is, well, disappear. Hold a video call, and then midway through it, just wander off without saying anything. Ignore messages, texts, and calls.
Bonus points if you send your baffled colleague photos of you just basking in the sunshine outside.
10.) The retro look.
Forget Canva. Word Art is where it’s at. (For this prank anyway.)
Redesign all your work documents with sparkly animated texts and 90’s-looking Word Art. Send them on to your target with no explanation. Pretend not to notice anything weird or different.
One word of caution, though: it would be best to hold off on pranks that could cause someone serious concern or worry. Exercise discretion and tact, even when playing pranks on your remote workers or colleagues.
For more tips on how to manage your remote staff and keep your working relationship strong and harmonious, check out our blog.