Here at HR Rev we were discussing April Fool’s Day and the most well know pranks in the media… The most famous one that we had all heard of whatever our age, was the 1957 news story broadcast by Panorama.
It was a three-minute segment about a bumper spaghetti harvest in southern Switzerland. This was apparently because of an unusually mild winter and the “virtual disappearance of the spaghetti weevil,” with video footage of a Swiss family pulling pasta off spaghetti trees and placing it into baskets. The show said: “For those who love this dish, there’s nothing like real, home-grown spaghetti.”
Apparently, hundreds of people phoned the BBC wanting to know how they could grow their own spaghetti tree. To this query the BBC simply said: “Place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.” !!!
From an HR perspective though, many corporate work environments need to monitor and potentially deter any sort of mischief making in order to keep things legal. However, a little good-natured workplace humour can be great for company culture and employee morale. Just keep a few things in mind:
Nothing illegal – Be upfront with employees that illegal activities will not be tolerated…
Nothing dangerous – Dangerous stunts and pranks can (and most likely) will backfire, injuring an employee, leaving you down an employee and it could affect morale. Also your company could be liable for litigation, make sure employees know about what is safe and what isn’t.
Nothing mean spirited – An April Fool’s joke it supposed to be light-hearted and harmless fun. It absolutely shouldn’t demoralise, taunt or degrade a person. Anything malicious or motivated by race, gender or orientation should never be tolerated and really why would anyone want to do that to another person?
By communicating expectations upfront and addressing issues should any arise, everyone can get on board and have a little fun this April Fool’s Day. Maybe switch the salt and the sugar or put a plastic spider in someone’s tea or maybe just leave it to the BBC….