Want to pull off an April Fool’s joke that will go down in company history? Not so fast.
Sixty-eight per cent of advertising and marketing executives interviewed by The Creative Group consider April Fool’s pranks unsuitable for the office.
The Creative Group study is based on more than 500 telephone interviews. Advertising and marketing executives were asked, “How appropriate do you think it is to play April Fools’ jokes in the office?” Their responses:
Very appropriate: Three per cent
Somewhat appropriate: 27 per cent
Not very appropriate: 27 per cent
Not at all appropriate: 41 per cent.
“Many teams are stretched thin, and there may be less acceptance of activities that are viewed as potential distractions,” said Donna Farrugia, executive director of The Creative Group.
“April Fool’s jokes often have a target, too, which can make them hard to pull off without hurting someone’s feelings.”
A certain degree of levity, however, can have a positive impact on the workplace, noted Farrugia. “Humour that is inclusive and well-intentioned can be a morale booster, which is especially important when business conditions are difficult. Employees who can foster a more positive work environment are assets to any team.”
Here are some tips for adding levity to the workplace without crossing the line:
• Honour office “superstars”: Remember senior superlatives from high school: Most school spirit, friendliest, and best all around? Why not recognize the MVPs at your firm? You can give awards for “best penmanship,” “tidiest workspace” or “most likely to tweet company news” — just be sure to keep it clean, not mean. If you want to go all out, hold an awards ceremony, complete with red carpet walks, printed certificates and short acceptance speeches.
• Create some confusion: Pick a lesser-known holiday to celebrate, like National Pigs-in-a-Blanket Day (April 24) or Do Something Nice Day (Oct. 5). Organize activities surrounding the event, such as a cook-off or designated time when employees can surprise their coworkers with a treat.
• Have fun year-round: Office “play” needn’t be restricted to April Fool’s Day. Periodically have employees come together to celebrate a topic of their choice, like “flashback to the ’80s” or “favorite reality TV stars.” Create costume or trivia contests to add to the enjoyment.