You want to know the greatest thing about working in an open office?
Don’t you dare say collaboration...because the answer is pranks! While you won’t be able to pull off any cubicle stunts, the lack of walls does make it so that you can trick a lot of people in very little time. Plus, it’s much easier to see reactions.
Of course, while I know I don’t have to say this, I will: Pranks are supposed to be fun. So, before you run off and start scaring your office, make sure that they’re not mean-spirited, or Heaven forbid, dangerous. Memorize this mantra before you get started: The best pranks end with everyone laughing together—and not with you being called into HR.
Now, with that warning out of the way, here are a few ideas that you can pull off in your open office. We know, because we tried almost everything you’ll see below in our own workspace.
1. The Weird Prop
Do you have a tiny, plastic hand hanging around? No? Fair.
Do you have any old props hanging around your house? If so, you can really throw your co-workers for a loop by bringing one in and acting like you’re not wearing a top hat, or taking calls on a 1999-era cellphone, or paying for lunch with Monopoly money. The key here is to keep a straight face while everyone else does double-takes.
2. The “Sponge” Cake
If you’re in the mood for a prank that allows you to say, “hilarity ensued,” then this one’s for you! Here’s what you need: a few sponges, frosting, sprinkles, and co-workers who love free food so much that they don’t question why you brought in a cake.
We pulled this one off in our office (for research purposes, of course) and were amazed at just how many people attempted to cut into it again and again.
3. General Computer Shenanigans
I’m guessing everyone in your office has a computer. If they also have a great sense of humor and aren’t working on a stressful deadline, then you can do a few simple things that’ll trick them, without causing any permanent damage.
For starters, Laptop Mag lists out seven that include setting a fake desktop background (funnier than it sounds), as well as switching out someone’s mouse dongle so that you can control their computer remotely. On the slight chance that none of those work for you, Reader’s Digest has even more.
4. The Bathroom Fakeout
Do you have pants? How about shoes? You know what, you work in an office so I have to assume the answer to both of those are yes. And because that’s the case, you can pull off this super simple prank.
Although, warning, as we learned in our bathrooms, locking the stall and then getting out of it requires some creativity.
5. The Fake Cubicle
Forget everything I said earlier in this article: Open offices are overrated! Why not do your co-worker a favor and build him or her their very own cubicle. All you need are a few cardboard boxes, strong tape, and scissors to cut out a door or window.
How you actually construct it depends on your set-up, but I’ll assure you that I’m one of the least handy people I know, and I figured out a way to get it to stand up. Spoiler: It involved interlocking the boxes and taping the top flap to the floor to stabilize it.
To be honest, though, before you get started, you should know that for many people, this isn’t so much a prank as it is a very nice gift.
There you have it—a solid list of easy ideas that you can pull off whenever the mood strikes. Because why wait for April Fools’ to have fun in the office?