April Fools' Day (April 1) has traditionally been a day when people play pranks on each other. But playing a joke on your colleague may not be a good idea.
In fact, in a study conducted by staffing firm The Creative Group, 41 percent of survey respondents said office pranks are "not at all appropriate." Here's what the other respondents said:
- Not very appropriate: 27 percent;
- Somewhat appropriate: 27 percent;
- Very appropriate: 3 percent;
- Don't know/no answer: 2 percent.
In many workplaces these days – certainly including the IT department – office pranks may be viewed by management as being overly distracting at a time when the technical team has a lot of projects on the go and really has no time to waste.
But if you really want to bring some fun into the IT workplace, here are some tips (adapted from The Creative Group's suggestions) on how you can do so without causing too much ruckus:
- Give awards to your IT teammates: For example, if you're working hard on a project and people are staying up late, you could honor someone for the "Highest Daily Consumption of Energy Drinks" or for being the "Fastest Coder." When recognizing people, try to choose something that highlights their hard work and positive qualities, and something that will make everyone smile, including the recipient – so nothing mean.
- Celebrate alternative lesser-known holidays: You can look these up online; there are several for April. For the busy IT worker, National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day (April 2) will make packing your lunch a cinch. Or how about digging through your closet to find a retro jacket for Tweed Day (April 3), or surprising your colleagues with a treat on National Jelly Bean Day (April 22)?
- Don't limit celebrations to just one day of the year: You and your colleagues can figure out ways to honor the things techies love most (Star Trek or Star Wars, anyone?), and hold those celebrations throughout the year.
- Have fun outside of the office: If time permits, try to get together with your colleagues outside of work hours once in a while. Get to know people on a personal level, and you may find your work environment becomes more pleasant.