According to new research by Kit Out My Office, workers from the North of England are more likely to prank their colleagues than their southern counterparts.
83% of workers from the North of England stated that they often take part in workplace pranks in comparison to only 69% from the South of England.
In addition to the above, 90% of workers who responded in favour of pranks said they will continue doing them despite hearing stories of people being fired as a result of a prank.
Pranks that resulted in dismissal –
1. Hiding a beeping device in a solicitor’s office
One respondent admitted to being fired for placing a beeping device in a colleague’s desk drawer. It resulted in a search by a third-party security company of the entire building for ‘listening devices’ supposedly placed by competitors.
2. Scaring a co-worker in a dangerous environment
An electrician was fired for attempting to scare a co-worker whilst they were working on a high-voltage device that could’ve resulted in serious injury.
3. Accidentally breaking office equipment
An intern was dismissed after placing a can of frozen shaving foam with a small hole in the canister and leaving it under a group of desks. As the canister and contents warmed, the foam filled the space under two desks and destroyed two workstations.
Workers aged 36-40 were the most likely to perform regular pranks, with 69% stating that they have performed a prank in the last 3 months, versus only 41% of workers aged 25-30.
Furthermore, only 47% of workers aged 18-24 said they had performed a prank recently, which is perhaps surprising as younger people are often considered to have a more childish temperament.
The top 5 most common office pranks –
1. Cover the sensor on a mouse
2. Buy a box of doughnuts and replace them with healthy snacks
3. Plug a wireless mouse into a colleague’s computer and sporadically move it
4. Unroll toilet paper, draw a spider on it and roll it back up
5. Place the waste from a hole punch
Office pranks can be seen in both a positive and negative light. Pamela Rogerson, HR Director for the ELAS Group, who has 27 years’ experience in employment law and HR, had this to say:
“Pranks in the workplace lighten the mood and, for the most part, can have a positive effect on morale so why not? A little laughter and joviality helps build team spirit and corporate identity; if a workplace is staid and boring then I’m sure that staff retention could be an issue. That being said, as with anything you do, whether in the workplace or at home, any pranks should be harmless.”
If it can be reasonably perceived that the outcome of a prank would have a financial consequence or affect on the persons’ health then it’s not a harmless prank. It’s also important to take into consideration the environment you work in and the audience you are aiming at – if you don’t have the kind of relationship with someone where they would take your prank as just that rather than feeling picked on, then don’t do it. Just a little forethought and common sense should dictate whether or not a prank is acceptable
If you’re looking to prank your colleagues, Kit Out My Office have developed a list of pranks and included easy-to-follow instructions for each one.