April Fools’ Day has been with us since long before Jim Halpert first suspended Dwight Schrute’s stapler in Jello (or, if you’re a fan of the original, Tim Canterbury suspended Gareth Keenan’s stapler in jelly). And while the best April Fools’ Day pranks help everyone blow off steam and regain access to their office equipment in record time, the worst waste time, money, and patience in an environment where all three are in short supply. In short: to prank or not to prank?
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“I don’t see a place for April Fools’ pranks in the workplace. It’s counter to professionalism,” Kenna Griffin, owner of the media career advice blog Prof KRG, tells USA Today. “The payoff of the joke is not great enough for the potential consequence: putting future employment at risk, offending a boss or losing a positive reference.”
Fans of April Fools’, on the other hand, will tell you that a well-turned pranks can build team spirit and help stressed workers blow off steam. So how can you tell if your idea is appropriate or not? Before you fill up your neighbor’s cubicle, consider the following questions:
1. Is this joke funny only to me, or my group of office buddies?
2. Does it make the prankee look stupid or isolate them from the team?
3. Will it take up company time or resources?
4. Could it hinder the productivity of the participants or their teammates?
5. When all’s said and done, will I look like a bully and not a team player?
If the answer to any of those questions is yes, don’t proceed.
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