Working from home certainly has its perks. There’s no commute, no traffic, no dress code, and surprisingly decent coffee. We kinda like this new life with working virtual. But there’s one thing we miss — good old-fashioned office pranks. (Believe us, working in life science isn’t as serious as people think!) We miss the stapler in Jell-O, the fake spider dangling from the ceiling, and changing someone’s desktop wallpaper. We can’t do any of this stuff for a while, so we need to be a little more creative…
#1. Wear a Fun Mask on Zoom
Much of our lives revolve around virtual meetings at the moment, but Zoom doesn’t have to be boring. Here’s a virtual prank that will guarantee a laugh: Print out a photo of a famous person (real or fictional) and turn it into a mask. Then wear your new “face” when you log into Zoom. Choose any famous person you like: SpongeBob, The Rock, The Queen, you name it. (Bonus points for famous scientists like Einstein or Newton.)
#2. Zoom Background Switch
Save this prank for inconsequential Zoom meetings (but not anything important). Zoom’s super-cool “background switch” feature lets you change your background to pretty much anything you like. Instead of your home office, pretend you’re somewhere really exotic — a sandy beach, an alpine retreat, or even outer space.
Pro-tip: To change your Zoom background, click on your profile pic, then Settings. In the left-side menu, click Virtual Background. You can choose one of the default backgrounds, but we recommend you pick your own.
#3. Use a Snapchat Filter
We didn’t know about this one until recently. You can now use your favorite Snapchat filter — face swap, the one with the funny glasses, the one with the big mouth, etc. — for everyone to see in Zoom. (You can make Zoom use the feed from your Snapchat camera.)
Pro-tip: Keep Snap Camera open and choose one of the filters. Then log into Zoom the normal way. You’ll need to download Snapchat first, of course.
#4. Mute Yourself
We life science folk know a good prank when we see one. The next time you want to spice up Zoom, click the Mute button (the microphone icon) and a red slash will appear over it, meaning the audio is off. Recommendation: Use this feature when people think you’re about to say something really important.
#5. Or Just Disappear Completely
How about setting up your phone somewhere, logging into Zoom, and walking into another room before the live screen loads?
#6. Change the Audio in Zoom
The final Zoom prank, we promise. If you tweak a few of the audio settings in Zoom, you can broadcast pretty much any sound you like — your favorite ’80s power ballad, for example.
Pro-tip: Head to Audio Type in Settings, and choose Computer Audio. This lets you play sounds directly from your computer. Open up Spotify and blast “Wind Beneath My Wings” or “Against All Odds.”
#7. Send a Rick Roll
OK, so the Rick Roll phenomenon is as old as Alexander Fleming, but it’s a classic. Send a Rick Roll via email to your favorite co-worker and bring this trend back for 2020.
#8. Phone a Co-Worker and Ask For “That Important Report”
This requires some self-restraint. Try not to burst into laughter when you ask a co-worker for the important report that was due last night.
#9. Change Your Staff Profile Pic
Change your profile pic on your intranet or internal communications program to something funny (but work-appropriate). We’ll let you use your imagination for this one. (Pets are always good.) Just don’t forget to change the photo back.
#10.Communicate With Emojis. (And Just Emojis.)
Whether you communicate with co-workers via iMessage, WhatsApp, or any other messaging platform, you’re probably well-versed in the language of emoji by now. But are you fluent? Test your second language skills by communicating with co-workers using emojis (and nothing but emojis) for 24 hours.