Working a 9-5 office job office can be a drag. Luckily, the camaraderie among coworkers can make any job worth going to, especially if they engage in silly office shenanigans. Harmless pranks can liven up the office and make the work week fly by...even if they go too far.
These people took to Reddit to reveal the office pranks that will live on in infamy at their companies. Some of them probably took things too far, but others went just far enough for hilarity to ensue. Content has been edited for clarity.
"I used to work in a small business that was run by two best friends in their late 50s. It was a very chill business, and they had fantastic senses of humor. It was like having two squabbling brothers who were both very talented in their respective fields. The two of them had a yearly ritual where they'd play pranks on each other on their birthdays.
On the COO's birthday, the CEO gave him fake documents that made it look like he'd sold the company to a random dude in India. CEO pretended to be incredibly enthusiastic and naive, saying how 'giving all our customer data to India will help our business!' COO responded by casually moving CEO's wheelchair to the other side of the room until he apologized for stressing him out.
On the CEO's birthday, the COO changed the workplace safety policy to require that the CEO had to wear water wings, a bicycle helmet, and several balloons 'for visibility.' The CEO, who had a wheelchair already, was a super good sport about it and kept annoying the COO by pretending to be significantly more disabled than he actually was. This went on for the entire day, until the COO got so annoyed that he reverted the safety policy."
"This was a little bit ago, but my co-worker, who we'll call him Bob, decided to make his screensaver pictures of his family.
One day he walked away without locking his computer. I copied his directory of pictures to the fileshare and pointed his screensaver at it.
Now, I could easily add and remove pictures to his gallery.
I then started modifying the pictures in photoshop. Slowly, all of the pictures of people, his kids, his wife, animals, started to get Bob's face.
He was a really good sport about it and thought it was super funny. It took him time to notice because there were about 30 or so pictures.
As a side note to how we interacted in the office together: we worked in an open concept office. I sat at one end and Bob on the other. The desks of about 8 people were lined up along a window. Bob mentioned one day how he thought it was funny people would call him just to tell him they just sent him an email. Of course this triggered me to announce across the room every time I sent him an email.
'Hey Bob. I just sent you an email!'
'Ok! I'll check my email. Hey. I just got your email!'
Then about 10 minutes later I'd hear him across the room..
'Hey! Just letting you know - I just replied to your email.'
The other people in the room all had a good sense of humor and thought we were crazy, but they thought it was funny. This went on for months.
We also had to take weekly conference calls with these pharma marketing people who were huge on buzzwords. We'd play buzzword bingo during the calls."
"I worked with a guy who was kind of a jerk and not very computer literate. He acted as though he was better than everyone because our business process had a bottleneck where he had to review documents, so he basically acted like a self-important jerk.
One day when he was in a meeting, I noticed he had left his computer unlocked and also that no one else was around when I happened to walk by his cubicle (I did not work near him).
I hopped on his machine real quick, took a screenshot of his desktop and the 400 file icons he kept on the desktop, and then made a folder on his C drive called 'Desktop Icons' and moved them all in there and set his desktop background to the screen shot.
It took him the rest of the day to figure out what was wrong and he had, like, a vendetta about finding out who did it, but since no one liked him, no one would give him any clues it was me."
"Back in the 80's, I worked for a military aircraft plant. I managed to work my way into an office job after a few years and numerous hijinks in the warehouse.
Anyway, we got a new computer system and being somewhat computer savvy, I discovered that it had a rudimentary messaging system that I figured out pretty quick. Being a government supplier, we all had to sit in on lots of classes about how to log into and out of the system for security. This was all stupid to me and bored me silly.
So one fine day, I'm sitting there bored and decided to send the lady that sat next to me a message. 'Attention! Attention, you are in violation of log on procedures. Please log off and log back on using correct protocol.' She pauses, looks at the screen, and proceeds to log off and back on. I do this to her a few more times and she's getting visibly nervous. Finally, I send her one more that says 'Attention! Attention you have violated log on protocol for the max allowable times. Please hold your badge to the screen for identification purposes.'
She looks around really shook up now and does exactly that. At this point, I lose it and just bust out laughing then explain to her what I had done. I got a handful of M&M's thrown at me, but we all had a good laugh."
"I have so many stories I could tell.
I was a manager in a call center for a decade. We had a massive prank war going on for most of that time.
Remote controlled fart machine. It was small enough to hide in a cube wall. We would put it in a wall somewhere and then leave the remote laying out. Who can resist a big shiny unexplained button? The funny thing was that the person pressing the button usually couldn't hear the fart.
Anoyatron's from Think Geek. Basically, a speaker on a magnet that randomly makes various noises. We had to call that one quits though, once the joke is over and people know what's up, it becomes incredibly annoying.
Glitter bombs. This was mostly confetti, not really glitter, and for some reason usually pink or purple hearts. These were placed in traps so that they would be spilled all over your cube. This one also had to be called off, the issue being we had to clean up the mess as it could not be left for the cleaning crew, and it was hard to clean up. We had a meeting and called a truce, colloquially referred to as the 'Pink Hearts Armistice.'
Before the armistice however, we did inflate a 9-foot weather balloon full of confetti in somebody's cube. we were hoping the confetti would spray out when it was deflated but it didn't work that way and it was a pain to get it in there.
On several occasions, we completely filled up people's cubes with balloons, then put a roll away easel in the doorway to contain the mess.
The best pranks, however, were the ones my employees pulled on me.
This was back when Battlestar Galactica was on the air. My employees played the 'you're a cylon' music very quietly in my cube off and on for weeks. I could hear music occasionally, but never identify it. Several of them helped me look for the source of the music during that two-week period. The jig was up once when they left it on too long and it flipped over to a book on tape.
They also connected a second keyboard and mouse to my docking station, and would randomly lock my computer and hit spaces and carriage returns while I was typing.
Both of these instances, I'm embarrassed I didn't figure it out sooner considering the nature of the workplace.
The coupe de gras was epic, and I am teased about it to this day. This is a work place where we decorated our cubes, and I had a ton of EXO Force Legos in mine. I had them in overhead shelves so I can lock them up at night and hide them from visiting leadership when needed.
I arrived at work and one of my EXO mechs was lying on my desk separated into bits with each piece tied with a ribbon. This Lego set should have been locked in my overhead, so I knew something is up.
I quickly open my overhead and then chaos occurs. An avalanche of noise pours into my cube made up of those clear plastic bubbles - the ones that kids get out of coin machines that have small toys in them - and each one contains a single Lego.
The noise was so loud that people came running from other floors and other departments to see what had happened.
I was livid. I was standing ankle-deep in over $1,000 worth of Lego sets that I had spent countless hours on, and a crowd was forming to enjoy my dismay.
Regrettably, and this is what I get teased about, the first thing out of my mouth was, 'Did you do this on company time?!'
Keep in mind that I'm the mayhem ring later and in charge, so that wasn't fair. But once they showed me that it wasn't my Lego sets that had been dismantled, I was able to find it funny.
There are lots of other pranks pulled, but that last one was by far the best.
I miss those guys and that job. I worked 80 hours a week but loved that job."
"I connected a bluetooth dongle to the back of their PC with a keyboard and mouse. All day, I would just knock the mouse around or type random letters and stuff. He thought he was hacked by the Chinese (his literal words). Every time I would do it for prolonged times, he would call co-workers over to his desk and it would magically stop. I had to give it up when he called IT over.
I also popped off the 'M' and 'N' keys from his keyboard and switched them. You'd be surprised how many people are hunt and peckers. Of course, his password had an M in it as his name started with an M. So the day started off great with those windows error bloops and then him calling IT to reset his password.
Another year, I convinced a bunch of my friends outside of work to call one of our salesmen with bogus opportunities and to keep referring to him by the wrong name. His name was Derrick, so they asked for Darryl, Darnell, Dirk, Rick etc insisting that they spoke to him last week.
One year, our manager was out on travel so I replaced all of his personal effects in his office with images that I took and printed of his personal effects. So all that remained was his desk and chair and a bunch of images of a monitor, PC, Stapler, file cabinets etc. Good times."
"Not me but a coworker...we had this interview room which was a small office with two glass windows on adjacent walls so we could see in and out while people where interviewing. My coworker ‘Pattie’ is going to be interviewing a software developer at 10 am this morning. One of the facilities guys goes into the room and tapes a remote controlled fart noise machine under the desk.
Interview is about to start, Pattie and the guy walk in and sit down, start interviewing.
We all gather by a colleagues desk who has a good vantage point of the window. We can see some back and forth talking going on. Facilities guy presses the button and their back and forth conversation immediately stops.
They just sit there looking at each other waiting for each other to excuse themselves, we’re trying to keep it together.
They sort of resume talking again and get into a back and forth when the facilities guy jams the button again. Same thing; both staring at each other and we’re roaring at this point.
He does this a few more times and then on the final go he just holds the button down for 10 seconds. Pattie and the guy both turn red. We are laughing so hard by now that she looks through the window and sees us, knows something is going on, looks around the under the table, and sees the fart machine. Interview guy bursts out laughing when he sees that and she is going apologetic on us, apologizing to him and stuff. She did a second interview a week or two later and he eventually got hired as our new sysadmin/dev. It was a great place to work."
"I plugged in a spare USB keyboard into my co-worker’s desktop. I would randomly hold down the shift key when he was entering his password, lock his terminal when he turned around to talk to someone, or tap the windows key while he was typing.
I’m not good at not laughing. I managed to hold it in for four days, until he finally lost it and started smashing his keyboard and unplugging all the USB cables. He got to the one for the extra keyboard, looked around, then yanked on the cable HARD, and the spare keyboard skipped across my desk and slammed into my cube wall.
I laughed so hard I cried for almost 15 minutes."
"We have a pay lot across the street from where I work and people will park there because our actually designated parking spots are two blocks away. The guy that comes around in the pay lot isn’t very consistent. Some days you can get away without paying because he never comes to check. A coworker of mine sat by the window and would watch for the meter maid. If the meter maid showed up he would let everyone parked there know they needed to pay on the app.
One day, I was the only one parked over there from our department and I asked him to check to see if I had a ticket. I’d driven my husband's Bronco that morning, huge rust bucket you can’t miss. He saw there was no ticket. Well, my husband came and switched cars with me later that day leaving me my Hyundai. I asked my coworker to check to see if the Bronco had a ticket, knowing he would look out the window and find the Bronco gone. So he looks, and looks, calls another coworker over to look, and starts freaking out that the Bronco is gone. I was on the phone, but watched from across the office the look of panic come across his face. There’s now three people scanning the parking lot for my car. Soon he sends me an office chat and asks if I moved my car. I tell him no, knowing full well the car was no longer in the parking lot.
He continued looking frantic, all three people confirming no rust bucket Bronco in the parking lot, and he comes over and says, 'Your car isn’t there. I swear! I think it’s towed or stolen I seriously don’t see it.' Well guys, this is when high school drama classes paid off because I too, was able to freak out. I rushed to the window, 'scanned' the parking lot, said 'Oh my God' a few times, apparently did pretty well with making it believable. Carried this on a few minutes. I let the guy sitting next to me in on the ruse, so in the best panic voice I could muster I call over to the guy sitting next to me and say, 'Oh my God, it's really gone! Should I tell him now or later my husband switched cars?!'
Thats unfortunately also the day he stopped watching for the meter maid in my behalf."
"I shared an office with a guy who was pretty paranoid. For instance, one time the receptionist accidentally burned some popcorn, and he ducked low to the ground and put his shirt over his breathing-holes to protect himself from smoke inhalation. He used to plan exit routes. He once looked out our second-story window and mused, 'If there's a fire in this building, I'm going to use that pile of pallets down there as a crumple zone.'
He refused to throw bloody nose tissues in the regular trash because they were a biohazard, so he kept them in his desk drawer until he could find a safer way to dispose of them (yes). He had like four weapons at home in case the government tried to take his weapons away. He was a 9/11 truther. He would deliberately watch videos of people getting maimed and killed to desensitize himself. He took one semester of Capoeira in college and thought he was a martial arts master, often practicing moves like Mac from Always Sunny.
Anyway, one time I noticed that the company hired a guy to come install security cameras at our building. With my boss's permission, I bought a fake security camera and installed it in our office late at night, pointing right at his desk.
He came in the next day and was noticeably upset. He tried to laugh it off like 'Haha, big brother's watching us.'
I just said, 'Haha, yeah.'
But then it kept nagging at him. He was like, 'Are you okay with this?'
I was like, 'Well yeah, I don't plan on doing anything wrong, so.'
So then he gets up and he says, 'Well I'm going to do this!' and he closes the office door partially such that the corner of the door blocked the line of sight to his desk, and he sat back down.
So I texted my boss and said, 'He blocked the "camera" with the door.' So seconds later, my boss appears, and he asserts his dominance by opening the door back up while staring right at my coworker.
So my coworker says, he really says, 'Actually, I did that on purpose because I don't appreciate being spied on while I'm working!'
My boss says, 'Why? What's the problem?' and then we both start playing the if-you-have-nothing-to-hide angle pretty hard.
Sensing that we were starting to suspect he had something to hide, he started to get defensive and finally exclaimed, 'Sometimes I like to pick my nose, okay? And I don't want people taking footage of it!'
I got my coworker to angrily tell our boss that he picks his nose.
I couldn't have dreamed for a better outcome to that prank."
"On the weekend at our office, it is really slow, so a couple of the older ladies have a huge thousand piece puzzle they work on when they have some slack time. I took one of the middle pieces and turned it into the lost and found. When I hear them figure it out, I'll tell them the piece is in the lost and found. Or maybe I'll go get it back today, and stick it in myself when they figure it out.
One of my best is one I pulled on a die-hard In-N-Out Burger freak at work. We didn't have any of those in our area until a few years ago. Anytime he would come back from vacation, he would always go on and on about visiting the one where he went. So when I was in Vegas, I got a bunch of their bags, wrappers and drink cups and lids and brought them back.
Then I got get a McDonald's meal and repackaged it with the In-N-Out stuff and came back into the office with it and he went bananas. I said the new In-N-Out just opened up the road, he should go get some. I told him vaguely where it 'was' and since we only had a 30 minute lunch break, he left and returned within 30 minuets all mad because he couldn't find it. I, of course, reinforced where it 'was' and repeated the gag 3-4 days in a row. Each day he got madder and madder that he couldn't find it. We finally exposed the gag and he vowed revenge, which never came."
"Preface: do not pull this on someone you don't know well. I made sure I sent it to a guy I knew would appreciate it and that it would not have any negative emotions attached to it.
I created a fake email account, with the header 'Mental Health Autobot' or something.
I sent my coworker an email and dressed it up to look like an auomated spam message. I said that his email had been flagged as using terms often associated with depression and suicidal tendencies.
I then went on to list a few words that are completely common in our industrial work that could easily be misconstrued (such as 'cut'). I told him that if he was being contacted in error, to respond with, 'I am fine.'
He showed everyone the email. He said he was glad people were looking out for people with mental health, but it was a little creepy. He didn't do anything with it, so fifteen minutes later I emailed him again saying that we had recieved no response and that if he did not respond immediately, emergency services would be dispatched.
Again he showed everyone in disbelief. This time he wrote back with 'I am fine.'
I responded that the response was not recognized, and emergency services were being notified. I then pulled a picture of him off of facebook and attached it, asking him to confirm that it was an accurate depiction of his facial features.
When he got that one, he figured it out. We all had a good laugh."
"I'm not usually a prankster, but I did get one guy good. He was known as a major prankster. He had this fancy car that he mentioned to me at an earlier contract, but he hadn't told me what it was because he was trying to keep his contract prices secret and the car would have had people curious.
On the current contract, he would usually come to work in beat up Land Rover, and as it was night shift, if he parked in the roadway near the worksite gates, his habit was to leave side lights on. One night, I saw a Triumph Stag parked with side lights on. At the time, it was considered a fairly fancy car. On the way down to the platform (we were doing renovations to the platforms at Kensington), I pondered on what to do if he was there. I had checked there was no sign of the Land Rover, so that would mean the Triumph was almost certainly his.
As I spotted him on the platform, moving a heavy paving slab, the idea came to me. Walking up to him, I said, 'Hi Kevin, you didn't park your Land Rover round the back, did you?'
'Err, no I didn't,' and the way he reacted to my mention of the Land Rover made me pretty certain the car was his.
'Oh good, if you had done, you probably wouldn't be able to get it out any time soon, some idiot came out of the Tiara hotel across the way, and he plowed his jag into a Triumph Stag right outside the gates, never seen such a tangled mess.'
He goes white as a sheet, and almost drops the paving slab in his hurry to put it down safe, and starts hurrying away. Before he got off the platform, I couldn't hold the laughter any longer, he realized he'd been had and came back. He was a bit cheesed off, but was a good enough sport that he could take a joke as well as dish them out. He then explained why my joke caused such an strong reaction. In the year he had the car, it had spent half that time being repaired due to two incidents, one while sitting at a red light, and once while parked. And he had just got it back from the last repair! Lucky timing for my joke."