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The Most Comprehensive List of Office Pranks That Won’t Get You Fired

The Most Comprehensive List of Office Pranks That Won’t Get You Fired

By Trina M.

Office Pranks: Annoyance or Tradition

Let’s face it. Working nine hours straight is no joy ride. Sitting in the same cubicle for years on end. Working with the same boss. Going through the same motions of entering data, creating memos and debugging code – It can all get monotonous very quickly.

No one can trace pranks or deliberate acts of mischief back to their origin in history. But one thing is for sure – office pranks are the spice of life. Be it harmless schemes like tagging a “Voice Activated” label on the coffee machine so that co-workers end up shouting their latte instructions or more elaborate tricks like “making a cubicle disappear”, the surprise, the jest, the playful disruption and the ensuing laughter are all therapeutic.

In more laid back enterprises office pranks are actually a part of the company culture.

Facebook is an obvious example. Even the CEO – Mark Zuckerberg is not safe from the schemes of his engineers.

Facebook office prank

Someone actually laid an elaborate trap using fried chicken nuggets and the Oculus Rift Virtual Reality head gear. The plan was to entice Mark into eating a nugget, thereby forcing him inside the coop where he would have to watch whatever clip the perpetrators had created for the “VR” prank.

Microsoft supposedly has this tradition of shocking employees. Since pay day and April Fool’s day happen to coincide, they often post fake stories about compensation cuts on their intranet portals to catch workers unawares.

All in all pranks and acts of mischief that aren’t driven by an intention to hurt and harm are an integral part of breaking the ice and deepening the bond with peers. Sometimes team members also play pranks on their bosses and leads. This improves the sense of solidarity by diluting the restrictions of the corporate hierarchy.

In this piece we will enjoy a comprehensive list of office mischief that can be pulled off without:

  • Damaging equipment
  • Violating office etiquette
  • Spending too much time on the execution
  • Being vindictive
  • Getting FIRED

Office tricks are an amazing means of drawing out people from their professional shells and glimpsing who they truly are.

CAVEAT: You agree to the consequences of pulling these pranks on your co-workers and colleagues. We can’t be held responsible for inciting mischief!


The Stapler in Jell-O

Are you a fan of The Office? Then you definitely remember the frustration and the exaggerated calmness of everyone around when the stapler was found suspended in Jell -O? Well, it just happens to be an inexpensive way to stun a colleague who might be “blowing his trumpet” a tad bit too much. You will enjoy a few days of silence at least.

Want to know how you can achieve the Jell-O effect? This article breaks down the process. Get ready to buy jelly powder. Lots of it!


The Yearbook Photo

This is a class of pranks that relies on repetition. The idea is to overwhelm the other party by flooding their cubicle with something they do not like or are embarrassed by.

Can you get your hands on a copy of their yearbook photo? Did they open up to you about hating it? Or maybe they were quite proud of the “big hair” in their college days?

Go ahead and plaster duplicates of their yearbook grin (grimace) all over the computer, the divider walls and even the chair.

Yearbook Prank

There are so many options to this one. Switch up the yearbook click with pictures of your boss (Yikes!), David Hasselhoff, Justin Bieber or cats. Dogs are somehow exempt on grounds of loyalty and cuteness. But hey…you can always experiment.

Hasselhoff Prank


Cat Prank


The Drawer Aquarium

The victims of this prank are known to be stunned. And you would be too. If you found a watery world, complete with live fishes, fake reef and green swaying sea weeds in your office drawer. An ideal trick to pull on colleagues who are aquarium connoisseurs!

Want to make it more relevant? Put in a water proof birthday card and then build the tiny ecosystem over it. Your Piscean co-workers will surely appreciate your effort and the reference to their sun-sign.

Office Aquarium


A Foodie’s Nightmare

Okay, this one is just plain mean. But as long as you don’t actually put in anything that is not supposed to be ingested, you can get away without crossing the line on HR mandates.

Make sure that the food you choose to ‘desecrate’ is something the victim really enjoys. Everything from cake to lasagna is up for grabs.

You don’t have to say “toe nail”, more dramatic cues like “Look out for the fur ball” will also work. Want to be really nasty? Build up the appetite of the recipient by describing your platter of disgust in sumptuous detail. The party should be salivating for the prank to have the maximum impact.

Foodie Office Prank


Vegan Revenge

Okay, here is a rebound for the trick above. If you have been on the receiving end of the “Find the toenail” prank, then you can display your share of wit and jest by investing time in this one.

Thank the perpetrator for the challenge and gift him (or her) a large box of Krispy Kremes. The anticipation of biting into the doughnuts will have them ready and raring to eat.

But once they open the receptacle, they are greeted by veggies. Assorted veggies of all kinds! Without a hint of cheese or butter!

There is nothing more evil than teasing junk food taste buds and then pouring the water of healthy eating over the fire.

Do wait a few days before attempting it though. Your perpetrator will be wary otherwise.

Vegan Office Prank


The Rejected Application

A prank that you should consider pulling with a closer friend; it is more sophisticated and doesn’t use props. The next time you are out eating at a fast food or quick service restaurant, just go ahead and request a temp worker application form.

You will get one fairly easily. Such joints are always on the lookout for fresh help.

Now fill it out with the details and credentials of your colleague. But the sneaky thing to remember is to present the application in a way that gets it nixed.

You can be purposely obnoxious with the spelling. You may position the candidate as a high school dropout.

You can add a criminal record of minor misdemeanors.

Post the wretched document. And then wait for the rejection letter to come in.

If you are fairly friendly with your “victim”, you will get to witness their outrage at what they believe is a miscommunication. Just don’t start laughing mid-way. Let them stew for a while and then clear the confusion.

It is pure genius and kind of humiliating. But not mean in any way.


The Ransom Notes

Have a co-worker or office pal who is rather paranoid?

Great. This trick will jolt them a little and maybe get them to relax.

Hide a useful object from their cubicle. Like their laptop or their files. But do be considerate of the window in which you leave the ransom note. They ideally shouldn’t require the “kidnapped” item when it is missing.

Leave a ransom note at their desk asking them to have fun or chill out in order to retrieve their stuff. They will be really angry and will storm around the office for a bit. But gradually the point of the prank will dawn on them and they might actually be grateful for the intervention.

Do keep hugs ready to ensure there are no misunderstandings. It is all in the spirit of fun.


The Onion Caramel Horror

The holiday season is just round the corner. And sweet office treats are going to be plentiful. Everyone is in charitable spirits. And you should set yourself apart by being bold and adventurous. Waltz into your office with a well-appointed tray of caramel bites or cake pops.  

Make sure each globe is glistening and scattered with colorful 100s and 1000s (edible confetti). No one you offer these delights to will refuse. After all Christmas is about to hit us.

The only thing is, the tid-bits will not be cake or any baked wonder. They will be onions. Onions disguised as wonderful chocolate morsels.

Can you be any meaner?

We doubt.

PS: Remove all the breath mints beforehand. And watch the pandemonium.

Onion Office Prank



This one might earn you a reprimand for messing with office property if you can’t put everything back together again. So choose your victim carefully. Someone who understands and appreciates the importance of a good laugh will join in the cackles that follow.

Spend about 30 minutes with a screw driver and purposely change the position of some of the keys on the keyboard. Don’t be obvious. Make alterations that are hard to spot.

Your colleague will have a hard time trying to figure out why they are misspelling.

Here is a cool video that walks you through the letter jumbling prank.


The Sneeze Freeze

Another prank that is surprisingly easy to pull off but extremely effective is the sneeze freeze.

If you sit next to someone who is obsessed with cleanliness, it is your duty to agitate your co-worker. Out of the spirit of jesting and jocularity!

Pretend to be ill and sniffle the day before. When your colleague is just about sure that you are coming down with the flu, sneeze loudly with a puff of an aerosol based cleaning agent. The droplets will scatter everywhere.

And the hypochondriac will mistake it for your bodily fluid – read snot.

Do it a couple of times and see him bear down on you, Purell in hand. It is hilarious.


The Toilet Humor

If a co-worker spends a ton of time in the loo, you can give him (or her) company.

Just paste a picture of Nicholas Cage, or better still the spooky girl from Grudge on the toilet seat so that when it is raised, the manic face stares right back at the unsuspecting victim.

You will get an earful but the laughter that follows will be worth it.



The Mouse Chase

A simple and elegant prank!

Do your colleagues still use the “mouse”? It is time to help them upgrade.

Stick a piece of butter paper under the mouse and watch them puzzle over why their favorite equipment won’t work anymore. Their first instinct will be to flip the hardware over. And when they do…. They will get the trick.

Mouse Office Prank

When you are in the mood for fun and an office prank is brewing in your head, do use common sense and discretion. Do not go for tricks that exploit phobias or aggravate allergies. Do not get caught doing anything that will earn you a visit to the Human Resource department. And steer clear of comments and actions that might be considered offending.

After all the purpose of a prank is to make everyone laugh. And it should do just that.