Fun prank war ideas for work that won't get you fired

By Marie Le Bras

Are you struggling to break the ice and get to know your team? Do you see anyone at the workplace who is exhausted and could use some laughs? Would your teammates mind a dose of humor? 

If you’re seeking any prank war ideas for work that are fun but won’t harm anyone, we have got you covered. 

Office pranks can be a fun way to lighten the mood in any workplace - especially if your office is feeling too stuffy or formal for your liking. However, ensuring everyone is on board, and comfortable is the key.

In this article, we explore the fun but harmless ways to prank your coworkers, from genius office pranks and last minute office pranks to virtual April Fools jokes for remote teams. So scroll away and have some fun!


Impact of office pranks on workplace culture

The State of the Global Workplace: 2022 Report by Gallup suggests that stress among the world's workers reached an all-time high. And whether employees are stressed because of work or their strain is carrying over into work, one thing is clear: fun at work is a critical element of employee happiness

90% of highly engaged employees say they work on a fun team. That said, funny easy pranks at work are the spice of life. Pranks infused with humor can brighten up a regular, everyday office life and bring a smile to everyone’s face.

Let's look at some more ways office pranks can improve company culture:

  1. Prank war ideas for work enable managers and coworkers to boost teamwork. 

  2. They are a great and effective way to boost morale.

  3. Harmless pranks for coworkers influences peer bonding.

  4. Fun at work improves the sense of solidarity.

  5. Pranks can reduce burnout and stress by creating a fun and light weighted environment.

If you play it safe, do not harm anyone with a mental illness or PTSD, and keep things fun and simple, pranks can contribute to an engaged and productive workforce.

Let's move on and understand how to “prank responsibly.” 


Ground rules for prank war ideas for work

Before pulling any pranks off, create ground rules to ensure that the tricks are not too disruptive and do not interfere with work. To ensure you don't cross the line, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is this prank appropriate? 

  • What are the possible outcomes? 

  • Am I offending anyone?

  • Is there a possibility that someone gets hurt (physically or emotionally)?

While playing occasional hilarious, harmless pranks on your coworkers can do wonders for employee engagement, it’s essential to be cautious when partaking in creative silliness. 


This is where creating ground rules can help by providing guidelines for what is acceptable and what is not. Also, they can help prevent hurt feelings and keep things lighthearted. 

Follow the below ground rules for pranks at work: 

  1. Set clear boundaries and limits for what is acceptable and what is not. This might include avoiding pranks that could be harmful, offensive, or cause undue stress.

  2. Make sure that everyone is willing and able to participate in the prank war. It's important that everyone is in and no one feels left out or uncomfortable.

  3. Establish a way to “call a truce” if things get out of hand or someone feels like the pranks are crossing a line.

  4. Don't let the prank war interfere with work or productivity. Pranks should be a fun and lighthearted way to break up the workday, not a source of stress or distraction.

  5. Consider establishing a “safe word” that coworkers can use to signal that they need a break from the pranks.

  6. Make sure to apologize and make amends if a prank goes too far or causes any harm. A good prank war is about having fun, not causing damage or resentment.


Top 20 prank war ideas for work

Always remember that humor is subjective, and there’s a fine line between good healthy fun and being just plain mean. Therefore, ensure that your pranks are not too disruptive and do not interfere with work.

We have listed the top 20 pranks to pull on coworkers that can get your coworkers (and you) a good time and a big laugh!


1. Wrap everything at your coworker’s desk (including their desk)

With festivities on their way, there couldn’t be a better time to pull this off. Give your coworker the gift that keeps on frustrating you by gift wrapping everything on their desk. And by everything–we mean everything. Their desk, office chair, monitor, keyboard, mouse, stationary, personal belongings, lamp…

You can use different wrapping sheets or stick to one color pattern (like aluminum foil) to create a shocking visual display.

Source: @mattradel


2. Swap out coworkers’ mouse with a toy mouse.

Here’s a classic and favorite that will make your teammates laugh out loud. Replace their mouse with a toy mouse and stick a small note with your name on it, so they’ll smile and know who did it when they finally turn it over. 

If you can’t find a toy mouse, you can also use tape to cover the optical sensor on your coworker’s mouse. Since the sensor got covered, it won’t work. Only when they peek at the bottom of their mouse they’ll know they’ve been pranked.



3. Animal photo dump

This one is a funny and lighthearted prank that works every time!

Cover your work friend’s entire desk with photos of their favorite or least favorite animal, like funny cats or comical dogs. In one way, this prank could actually make your animal-loving coworker’s day. On the other hand, it might become one of the best practical jokes at work ever pulled on a coworker who hates animals.

Some other animal choices that will make everyone laugh include monkeys, squirrels, or rabbits.


The office prank

Source: Pinterest


4. Shift your coworkers’ cubicle or desk

This is amongst the best prank war ideas for work and won’t do any harm. 

However, it works only with movable desks. Simply turn the desk around so that the drawers face away from where the chair would generally be. Your teammate wouldn’t even notice it until they had to grab something from the desk. 


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5. Freeze desktop

Most people would hate it if someone messed with their laptop or desktop. 

But if you’re looking for revenge pranks on your boss and have a rebellious streak, there are ways to escalate your interoffice prank war by making their computer seem perpetually frozen. 

Just take a screenshot of their desktop. Set this screenshot as their wallpaper, remove the existing shortcuts, and hide the menu. When your friend returns to the computer, they’ll click at nothing in frustration.

However, keep in mind that if you can do it to them, they might be able to do it to you as well.


6. Fake virus

If your idea of practical jokes at work is watching your friends fret over a virus attack on their computer, we’ve got the perfect prank for you. Scare your coworker by placing a fake virus screen or creating a fake virus pop-up. You can do this on your own or take help from IT to bug their system. 


If this is one of your revenge pranks on your boss, you may always choose to remain anonymous and prevent potential future retaliation. Wink!


7. Spooky ceiling

If you’re willing to take a more considerable risk, this prank war idea is the one for you. It takes guts to pull this off since this prank affects the entire office rather than just one person.

Print photos of some creepy characters from any scary movie and tape them to the ceiling tiles. Wait for your work friends to look up and watch as everyone gets scared throughout the day. 

This may be too much for your jumpiest colleague. But for the coworker who can’t stop talking about scary movies, it’s just the revenge they deserve. 


8. Balloons in the room

Another easy, harmless prank for coworkers is filling the meeting room with balloons. While it is challenging to execute, it is a great idea to skip an unimportant meeting. 

Ask your work friends to become your accomplice in this prank and enjoy a room filled with balloons all day!

P.S. - you can even try this on your colleague’s birthday. 


9. Rival Mania

Have a coworker who’s a die-hard fan? Substitute branded office supplies like pens, pencil cups, post-its, etc., with those from a rival team. You can even modify the screensaver on your desktop. 

Don’t forget to take a video or a photo of their expressions since teasing an avid fan doesn’t happen every day.


10. The Sneeze Freeze

Do you sit next to someone obsessed with cleanliness? Then there is yet another joke that is surprisingly simple to execute but incredibly funny. 

Just pretend to be ill and sniffle the day before. Sneeze obnoxiously when your colleague is not looking and spray a cleaning agent or splash water. The droplets will scatter everywhere. And the coworker will believe it to be bodily fluid!

Do it a couple of times and see your colleague bear down on you!


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11. Toilet seat humor

Another simple yet effective prank. You’ll need a poster of a meme, funny actors like Nicholas Cage, or a spooky picture and simply stick it on the office toilet seats. Every time your coworker takes a bathroom break, they will burst into laughter. 


12. Post-it notes with funny messages.

This hilarious and all-time favorite office prank can help break the ice, especially if you don’t want to cross boundaries. 


Make perfect use of those sticky notes that keep piling up. Cover your coworker’s desk and computer screen with funny messages. The best part about this idea is that it only takes a few minutes. 

However, while some people might consider it a kind gesture, others may think it’s a little creepy.


13. Cover your coworker’s desk with pictures of the boss

We all know that one coworker who feels like their boss is always watching them. Change their perception of micromanagement by sticking colorful pictures of your boss around your colleague’s cubicle. 

This prank idea is a great way of lightening the mood in the workplace. 


14. Swap out the sugar for salt

Although this classic prank is borderline cruel, we’d still call it one of the best prank war ideas for work. When your target groggily goes to enjoy their first cup of joy, they’ll get a taste bud surprise. You can even do this prank with doughnuts by replacing the custard filling with mayonnaise for a real surprise!

However, keep a piping hot, properly-made coffee with sugar (or custard-filled doughnuts) waiting in the wings to smooth things over if this one goes awry. 


15. Use the other door

Looking for some last minute office pranks since revenge has you on edge? Trick an unsuspecting coworker with this true masterpiece of prank-dom. Put a sign on all accessible entrances that say “Use another door” or even “Broken door, use the next.” Your coworker will be really confused as they circle the building trying to get in (or out).

The best part about this prank is you can pull it off in minutes and always stay anonymous. 


16. Veggies for breakfast

This key to one is getting to know your coworker’s favorite food. 

Buy a pizza, box of doughnuts, or your coworker’s favorite meal, but take them out! Instead, fill the box with veggies like carrots, celery, and broccoli and leave it on your colleague’s table. 

Your coworker will get excited about donuts or pizza for breakfast only to open the box to see the fixings for a salad. 

P.S. - You can put a note in the box indicating where their favorite meal is hidden. 


17. Kids’ desk

Remember the episode from The Office when Dwight’s pens were replaced with crayons? If you’re aiming to pull off a prank on your boss or team lead – this is a funny yet cute prank!

Replace your boss’s desk and office paraphernalia with a kid’s desk. Swap everything from the phone to laptop to notepads with colors, puzzles, gluestick, and more. 


18. "You’re not on mute"

This Zoom prank involves faking that your sound is muted while it actually isn’t. The next time you’re in a virtual meeting, make your workmates think that you think you’re on mute. Now say something embarrassing or outrageous or ask someone at your home to do the same.

This idea works well when working in a remote team and wanting to stir a dose of laughter. Besides, it is perfect for reducing Zoom fatigue caused by these virtual calls and keeping the atmosphere light-hearted. 


19. Work from home

We all know a coworker who loves to work from home. Why not help them get their home to the office instead? Use cardboard and colorful chart paper to decorate your colleague’s cubicle into the shape of a house. 

While this one might take a lot of time and effort, it will surely put a smile on their face. 


Source: Reddit


20. Spider attack

No, we do not mean you attack a spider. The last one on our list of prank ideas will freak your colleague out. Simply buy a squishy toy spider and place it hidden in your coworkers’ desks. 

Keep your video camera handy if you want to capture those screams from your unsuspecting victim. 

Remember not to pull this off with faint-hearted folks!


Wrapping up (pun intended)

Undoubtedly, pranks can be an excellent way to lighten up the office. It’s just that they shouldn’t end up with heart palpitations or tears. 

We hope this list of top funny easy pranks at work gets a few laughs from your colleagues any time of the year. We only request you to prank responsibly! 

Leave us an email at if you’ve tried these pranks firsthand, or tag us on Linkedin!

Happy Pranking!


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Tags: Communication, Organizational Culture, Employee Experience