Want to pull off an April Fools’ joke that will go down in company history? Not so fast. Nearly six out of 10 (58%) of advertising and marketing executives interviewed by The Creative Group consider April Fools’ pranks unsuitable for the office.
The Canadian study was developed by The Creative Group and conducted by an independent research firm. It is based on more than 250 telephone interviews—200 with marketing executives randomly selected from companies with 100 or more employees and 50 with advertising executives randomly selected from agencies with 20 or more employees.
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 ……………………………… 4%
- Somewhat appropriate ………………………….. 33%
- Not very appropriate ………………………….. 25%
- Not at all appropriate ………………………… 33%
- Don’t know/no answer ………………………….. 5%
“With many creative teams challenged with high workloads, office pranks may be viewed more as a distraction than an amusement,” said Lara Dodo, vice president for The Creative Group’s Canadian operations. “April Fools’ jokes can also potentially alienate or hurt someone’s feelings if not carried out in good taste.”
A certain degree of levity, however, can have a positive impact on the workplace, noted Dodo. “Well intentioned humor when shared amongst teams can create a positive work environment, especially when business is demanding. Some light hearted wit can increase morale and motivation, resulting in improved productivity and retention.”
The Creative Group offers three tips for adding levity to the workplace without crossing the line:
- Honor 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 International Dance Day (April 29) or Do Something Nice Day (October 5). Organize activities surrounding the event, such as a dance-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 Fools’ 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.
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