I remember many April Fool’s Day pranks that were played on me throughout my years. However, I don’t recall any that were played on me at work. They all had a personal context and came from my brothers when I was young and from my husband and friends during my adult years.
Now I know many people who have had April Fools Day jokes played on them at work and it made me wonder, is it me? Or is it the environment that I have chosen to work in? Or maybe it is both?
I like to think that it is more about the culture of the companies that I worked in where fun was not encouraged. Working in and owning a management consulting firm required a lot of serious work and although we had fun now and then, it wasn’t a key component of our culture. And prior to owning my own company, I worked for large Fortune 500 companies where the culture was all about the bottom line and making the shareholders happy. Thus playing an April Fools prank was not in alignment with our culture.
On the flip side, there are companies like Kabbage Inc in Atlanta, GA who thrive on fun. As a high tech, data driven company, the three founders, not only have fun with each other but also encourage fun even through their policies. The most innovative and fun one is all about data security. Company policy states that if a computer is not password locked when you leave your desk, then the first person to notice it should hide it and send the owner on a scavenger hunt to find it. What a fun way to enforce an important policy that will remind the person with the infraction to lock his computer down in the future!
So before you pull an April Fool’s Day prank at work, think about if it will resonate with the culture or not. And if it does then pranking someone will strengthen the culture. And if it doesn’t, why not wait until you get home this evening and play it on your spouse or friend!