When crafting an office prank for a vacationing colleague, you want to find the right mix of annoying and welcoming. You want them to know that he or she was missed but also still poke them enough to make their first day back a bit annoying. It’s the classic, “Hey, you just got back from vacation? Have fun unwrapping all of your office supplies.”
When I arrived back at work after my first trip abroad, I returned to find nothing on my desk but a pith helmet and a Post-it Note with the website andysdeskhunt.com written on it (sorry, the site is no longer active). I spent my first hour at work participating in an online scavenger hunt around the office to find all of my desk supplies.
After my latest travel, I came back to my desk covered in Post-it Notes. My immediate thought was that my team got lazy and couldn’t think of anything original, but on further inspection, each Post-it Note had a message on it. I was surrounded by polite compliments, inside jokes and positive affirmations. It was an amazing feeling to come back to work after being gone for a couple weeks and be surrounded by all of that love.
I arranged all of the notes along my desk and every day I would happen to look up and a new one would catch my eye. Like, “You make work fun!” or “You have a super rad Airbnb” or “Are you reading these?” It made the following weeks fun and uplifting. It was a great way to help me get through the week, and it made me want to share that same feeling with all of my coworkers.
Our Employee Experience team met and brainstormed a way to allow employees to publicly share positive notes to one another. We commandeered an unused corkboard in a hallway, came up with a name, made a logo and voilà, the Kudos Corridor came to be. In less than a week, we had about a dozen messages come floating in ranging from compliments on spec creative for pitches to how much they love someone’s hair or sense of style. We work in a fast-paced environment, so slowing down to recognize your coworkers becomes even more meaningful when you see a note with your name on it.
I look forward to seeing this board completely covered in notes like the Pont des Artes bridge in Paris weighed down by thousands of “love locks.” In a few years, we’ll replace the kudos board with a fresh, new idea and reminisce about old projects and hairstyles while listening to Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life).” But in the meantime, it will have made many people smile while also sparking a lot of great conversations.
So, kudos to the person who came up with the initial prank—you made a lot of people feel welcome.