12 Hilarious Office Pranks

  • Pranks: Not Just for April Fools

    Bored at work? Of course you are. And if you work in an office cubicle, chances are you’re even more bored. Thankfully, there are a million ways to entertain yourself on the job, and while some can impede productivity, all can generate some laughs. The thing about office pranks is that they’re good both for the pranker and the prankee: The pranker gets the satisfaction of making everyone laugh in what might otherwise be a boring day at work, while the prankee has an excuse to take a break from working while the mess is cleaned up. Before engaging in any of these delightful time wasters though, be warned: Pranks are only as successful as your organization’s code of conduct allows them to be. If your boss leaves his or her sense of humor at home, be prepared to accept the consequences of your actions. Photo Credit: Pascal
    Prank: You Gonna Answer That?
  • Prank: You Gonna Answer That?

    For some jobs, the telephone is the most important tool there is. While you don’t want to disable the phone completely and hurt the business, disabling it temporarily can lead to some hilarious moments. While a co-worker is out to lunch, wrap rubber bands around his or her phone in a grid pattern, alternating horizontal and vertical bands. That way he or she will have to remove them one at a time to avoid a tangled mess that will take even more time to sort out. The cherry on top of this prank, of course, is to have someone ready to call the phone before the victim can even get out the requisite “Are you serious?” Photo Credit: Matt Reinbold
    Prank: Toxic Waste Desk
  • Prank: Toxic Waste Desk

    This prank requires some time to set up, but the materials are easy to find. Get a clear plastic tarp and some biohazard signs from pretty much any office supply store, and use them to turn a coworker’s desk into a Superfund site. It’s essential to get the tarp up to the ceiling, so that the victim has no way to actually inspect the problem. The back story is especially important to pulling this one off too – you must convince the person that the Hazmat team was just there, and all they told you is that some toxic substance (asbestos, tainted insulation, radioactive termites) fell from the ceiling, right onto his or her desk. Photo Credit: Mark Drago
    Prank: Jell-O
  • Prank: Jell-O

    The incongruous sight of a stapler encased in Jell-O became a modern icon from the moment it was broadcast on The Office. It’s definitely one of the most labor-intensive pranks out there, and requires bringing your “work” home with you. You’ll need a bunch of Jell-O and an item from your target’s desk. Prepare the Jell-O, add stapler/mug/desk calendar, and voila! Keep the bowl in the fridge until the next day, when you will have to get in early to dump the item out of its mold and onto the victim’s desk before he or she arrives. No matter how the mark chooses to dispose of the Jell-O treat, there will be some cleanup involved. Photo Credit: Chris Chan
    Prank: Water, Water Everywhere
  • Prank: Water, Water Everywhere

    Nothing screams “office” more than the water cooler in the break room, so you might as well use it for some classic pranking. While your target is at lunch, or gone for the day, fill as many cups as you can just over halfway full of water. Why not full? Well, you don’t want to waste too much water, and filling them over halfway will make it impossible for the victim to combine them when clearing them away. This prank works best if your office doesn’t have a kitchen, as that will make the unfortunate mark have to make a million trips to the bathroom just to get back to work. Or he could just drink all the water, though the effect would be largely the same. Photo Credit: Oxtopus
    Prank: Kiddie Keyboard
  • Prank: Kiddie Keyboard

    We spend every day at the office typing on our keyboards, so why not give a little unsolicited color to an unsuspecting coworker’s station? Stationery and novelty stores carry all sorts of cute keyboard stickers meant for baby’s first laptop, but when placed in an adult setting they become hilarious. Of course, the irony factor here is important, so find something feminine for that macho colleague in the cubicle next door. Photo Credit: Chris Harrison
    Prank: Bubble Cube!
  • Prank: Bubble Cube!

    What better way to show someone they’re indispensable than filling their cubicle or office to the brim with balloons? In either case you’ll want to progressively stretch plastic wrap across the doorway or cube opening as you fill the space to get everything in there. For an added touch, put a bit of confetti in each balloon when you blow them up so that when the victim proceeds with the inevitable popping of the balloons he or she will have a clean-up job to boot. Photo Credit: disterics
    Prank: Desk Wrap
  • Prank: Desk Wrap

    This modern classic, also immortalized in The Office, is perhaps the most time consuming of all to set up, and of course to tear down, which is the whole point. The idea is to individually gift wrap every. single. thing. on a coworker’s desk, or at least as much as you can before you go crazy. Some people go so far as to wrap power cords and paperclips, but as long as all the visible stuff is taken care of, the visual effect can be mesmerizing. Especially when using Christmas wrapping paper, the victim will likely not be able to avoid the warm and fuzzy memories of running downstairs on Christmas morning to an overflowing pile of presents. And any residual anger will wash away during the unwrapping process, which makes even the stapler seem like a gift from Santa. If the store is out of wrapping paper, the prank also works well with tin foil, newspaper, TPS reports, etc. Photo Credit: Sean O’Shaughnessy
    Prank: They’re Onto You
  • Prank: They’re Onto You

    Admittedly not very sophisticated, this prank involves simply tossing the office from top to bottom, much the way the FBI would during a raid. Empty the drawers, turn everything upside down, and leave everything but the computer strewn about the room. When your hapless colleague returns, tell him or her that some black-suited government types ransacked the room and refused to identify themselves while they were out. “I know, it’s totally crazy, but …” Photo Credit: Chris Harrison
    Prank: Golf Cart Chair
  • Prank: Golf Cart Chair

    OK, so this one won’t be accessible to everyone, but the absolute futility of the victim’s attempt to rectify the situation (if he or she even tries) makes this one hard to resist, so bear with me. You’re going to need a bunch of strong guys and a golf cart. It just so happens that a golf cart is just small enough to fit through a doorway when turned on its side, so with enough muscle it makes a prank-perfect substitute for your victim’s desk chair. Whatever lesson you are trying to teach, he or she will learn it after spending all day sitting awkwardly on a golf cart while trying to get some work done. Before you try this prank with your boss’s obnoxious Mini Cooper, though, remember that an electric golf cart has no gasoline or oil to potentially burn down the office, so stick with that. Photo Credit: Zachary Tirrell
    Prank: The Parking Lot
  • Prank: The Parking Lot

    It’s true that the best part of a prank is the reaction when the victim realizes he or she has been had, but sometimes the anticipation of that reaction is just as good. All you have to do is step out to the parking lot and fill a colleague’s car with, say, Styrofoam peanuts, and then sit back as he or she turns off the computer, gathers up coat and bag and happily goes home to dinner with the family. If you’re able to hold your laughter while he or she is walking out the door, you’ll surely lose it when the victim returns, dejected, to try and find out who is responsible. Just make sure there’s no crazy spouse who’s going to come after you for delaying their loved one. Photo Credit: Mark DeVries
    Prank: Hot Hot Coffee
  • Prank: Hot Hot Coffee

    Beautiful in its simplicity, the hot coffee trick is so quick to pull off, and the immediate effects will have you laughing for the better part of an hour. Here’s the deal: Armed with the Habanero chile that you bought at your local grocery store, wait until your victim has sat down with his or her morning coffee on the desk. While your buddy distracts the mark, a quick rub from the chile around the rim of the mug (or the hole on the to go cup) is all you need to make him or her sweat. Be sure to check for any food allergies (some people are allergic to capsaicin, the active ingredient in chiles), and when you’re confident the person won’t die, then proceed full speed ahead. Be sure to have your witty “boy does your face look red” comment at the ready. Photo Credit: Tony Alter
    Prank: Flock of Seagulls
  • Prank: Flock of Seagulls

    Whether you have access to a flock of real birds or not, you definitely have access to bird seed. And bird seed, strewn over surfaces like a blanket, can turn any office into an afternoon at the local park. Once you have cleared away anything that might get damaged (telephone, keyboard), place an even coat of seed over the entire desk, making sure to take individual pens out of the pen cup so that the victim can’t just sweep it all into the trash and be done with it. If you can get a few birds to be eating it when your mark arrives, even better. Photo Credit: djLicious
    Looking For More Pranks?
  • Looking For More Pranks?

    If you’ve gotten to this point, it probably means you’ve tried all 12 of our suggestions, so for more ways to waste time at work (without victimizing anyone in the process), check out MainStreet’s 9 Ways to Waste Time at Work. And remember, you can always click through hours’ worth of content on Mainstreet and actually learn something while taking a break from your daily duties. Photo Credit: John McStravick
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