I walked into work yesterday and 2 colleagues were leaving an office that I share with a male colleague. When I entered the office it had been transformed to a Fairy princess themed room ( I share the office with a male) The theme was only in his work space and definitely for his benefit.

What should I do about it?

I am more concerned about the message it sends about the colleague and the fact that it was in a shared space and interfered with my access to the phone, computer and other equipment I need for the work I had to complete that day. In fact it was still there today.

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    Your question is still a bit vague. How is the decor affecting productivity? Feel free to edit the question and add more details. – Kent A. Apr 2 '15 at 11:59
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    I would suggest you laugh about it, and then ignore it. – Dave Johnson Apr 2 '15 at 12:07
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    The body of the question should include the negative effect on your productivity that the title refers to; if indeed there was one... – AakashM Apr 2 '15 at 12:50
  • This is a good question, it deserves a positive rating. Maybe when it was closed it was off topic but now its not. Open it back up. – speciesUnknown Jan 1 '17 at 10:30

It would clearly be inappropriate to do something to a colleague's work area which significantly interferes with their productivity. There would also be other situations I can see in which it would be inappropriate - for example, if customers were likely to see the display.

However, if it's only going to have a small effect on your colleague's productivity, then take the joke in the spirit it was meant - a bit of fun. Just because it's work doesn't mean that it has to be entirely serious all the time. And then help your colleague play an even better joke on the perpetrators next year :-)

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    I was with you until the last sentence. Escalation is bad. It's all fun and games until an eye gets poked.... (I was the one with the poked eye, btw) Yes, I have a sense of humor, yes, I can take a joke. Where I get paid to work is not the place for escalating pranks (eventually) leading to bad blood and a loss of morale greater than the humor gave. – CGCampbell Apr 2 '15 at 14:52
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    But I didn't say anything about escalating. Bigger != better. – Philip Kendall Apr 2 '15 at 15:02
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    A prank is not a joke. Philip was asking for a better joke, not a worse prank. – gnasher729 Apr 2 '15 at 15:56
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    A rule of thumb we lived by in college - a good prank is one that takes more effort to set up than it does to clean up. – David K Apr 2 '15 at 19:40

The amount of effort it takes to transform a room to a fairy princess place, or whatever, is a way of showing how much affection and respect there is for the colleague that is on the receiving end of this. People are saying: "We value your companionship as a colleague enough to waste our own resources, and some company resources, to do something special for you."

When this happens, enjoy the moment, and look forward to the occasion when your colleagues play an elaborate prank on you - on the first of April, or any other day.


What should I do about it?

Laugh, be part of the April 1 fun, then plan your "revenge" for next year.

Some offices have a culture of fun, and this sort of prank is perfectly appropriate. If your office is like that, the best thing is to go along with what appears like good, clean fun.

I've worked in companies like this before, and enjoyed it a lot. I miss those days.


The answer to the subject question is "if you have to ask, NO". Interfering with ANYONE else's productivity is more rude than funny, and abusing innocent bystanders is right out -- unless you are in a position to authorize the list time, in a company culture which will accept it, and you have something that's genuinely amusing.

There was a radio story this week about one workplace that did a very thorough reset to 1950 or so -- typewriters, dial telephones, period-appropriate decor...expensive, and it did ruin the whole team's productivity until the office was put back to normal, but major style points, it was actually making a point relevant to the business, and it was authorized by management.

If you can't come up with something stylish and harmless, I'd strongly recommend against doing anything.

(I still wish we'd gotten around to dressing the mail-delivery robot as a manager...)

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