November 23rd, 11:46 am
Personal interaction and tighter bonds play a crucial role in the workplace. Stronger bonds are the foundation of happy, motivated, and high-performing teams in companies. It’s no different for any remote workforce. Unfortunately, due to limited face-to-face interaction, personal interaction is low in virtual teams.
This can explain why teams working in separate locations experience lower levels of trust and increased levels of conflict than those working together physically.
Icebreakers and team-building activities are a perfect way to build a sense of togetherness in teams. But to everyone, except the most outgoing and eager team members, icebreakers are a thing to loathe.
Rightly so, instead of dissolving awkwardness, they make the team members even tenser. They lack the easy spirit and fun that icebreakers should have.
That shouldn’t be the case. Whether you’re looking for icebreakers for your next virtual team-building event or to incorporate them as part of your virtual meetings, workshops, or training sessions, this guide has got you covered.
Here we cover:
This is a great icebreaker, especially when introducing a new member to the team. But the game can still be fun to play to know hidden facts about other teammates. It’ll lay more ground for virtual team members to strike a conversation with each other after the game.
Nothing special is needed to play this game, just the video-conferencing software and a team that is ready for some fun. One player says or sends three sentences—two of which are true and one that is a lie. Other players have to guess which is a lie. Whoever is right earns a point.
One of the best ways to warm up your remote team to virtual meetings is to start with a one-question icebreaker. All you need is to ask all your colleagues a non-work-related question, which they must answer within a set limit of time. Some examples of excellent icebreaker questions for Zoom meetings can be:
Not only is this fun to play, but it also energizes remote employees for online meetings. The team also learns something new about their peers with every virtual meeting they play.
Also called “Waffles vs. Pancakes” an icebreaker is one that is quick and perfect for a team where team members know less about each other. The game starts with the question of what to keep between the two choices.
In small groups, you simply throw out two options, let’s say waffles vs. pancakes, and the participants have to vote which one stays. The chosen one contends with a new choice, such as pancakes vs. puppies. The game proceeds fast, with the choices becoming tougher with the many rounds.
You can even focus on narrowing the topics of discussion to feature significant areas of the company. Every team member gets a chance to argue their position and learn about their peers' values and opinions. The game is effective in teaching a virtual team to make decisions collectively as a team.
Some icebreakers can pair up as contests. Virtual Bingo is one of the icebreakers that achieves both for any virtual meeting. By playing online Bingo, you can ensure that the virtual employees are paying attention and engaged.
To use this game, you first want to create bingo cards with the most common occurrences of virtual meetings. Some ideas to get started are dog barking, doorbell rings, someone says “Can you hear me.”
Keep it simple yet fun, and you’ll be amazed at how much the virtual team will be engaged in meetings.
Rock, Paper, Scissors is a fun game that has maintained its popularity in the past years. Part of why it’s increasingly used is because it’s easy to play. Its highly competitive nature makes people like it the most. Play it at the start of a virtual meeting or as part of team building to help your remote workforce feel more connected.
Jackpot is a perfect icebreaker for employees who haven’t known each other for so long. Or ones who haven’t played the game together in the past. It plies to deeper know the team member personally and their goals by asking what they would do after they won a lottery.
The team members spend a few minutes discussing their priorities after the win, especially how they would spend the lottery money.
This one is an interesting and challenging icebreaker for any remote team. It works for both employees in sales and those in other departments, plus it works for any group size. However, for large groups, be sure to break the teams into small groups.
Sell It starts with each team member grabbing an item from their desk and selling it to their colleagues.
Each participant has one minute to present a sales pitch and one minute to answer questions. After all, employees have pitched, all employees vote for the one item they’d purchase using a poll. The employee whose item is purchased the most wins.
This is an interesting virtual icebreaker idea that has been extensively used over the years to bring team members together. In this icebreaker, the facilitator comes with 5 to 10 questions (depending on how much time they have) that employees answer.
The questions give the players two essential elements, such as "Would you rather have the internet or a phone?" This game works well for small groups or pairs. As the team members discuss these responses, they learn about each other and have some fun.
A simple round table as teammates share some of the weirdest parts of their lives can be fun and captivating. The good thing is, the weirdest questions can be just about anything like:
Try it for your next start or end of a virtual meeting.
Show and Tell is an all-time favorite icebreaker for remote teams. The game is easy as the employees are used to showing something and describing it from early childhood.
The virtual edition takes it a step further in that employees can quickly locate items to share without the need for so much preparation. Some ideas for the show and tell are:
An artifact from a trip, vacation, or adventure. A picture of a dream destination or favorite place. Team members have less than one minute to show and tell. This team-building activity is a perfect choice as it helps peers know each other better.
Want a fun icebreaker for a virtual meeting, workshop, or training? A remote work-friendly truth or dare is a sure candidate. All team members will take turns asking the others, “Truth or Dare?” The receiver must choose whether to respond in truth or a dare.
For a truth, they’ll answer the question truthfully. However, if they choose a dare, they’ll perform a silly or crazy act, which the player who asked determines. A great example of a professional question can be: What’s the last thing you googled? If the person responds “dare”, they can be asked to: show their kitchen sink, bookshelf, or office table.
Because Guess the Emoji Sentence is very versatile, it can be used as an icebreaker in a meeting or a quick game at the start of a virtual team building.
All that’s needed is for the host to select the topic from which sentences can be obtained, for example, movies, pop songs. Players will take turns writing their sentences in emoji and the others will guess the sentence.
Almost everybody loves music, and most will not shy away from talking about their music choices. Hearing the song that your teammates have on repeat allows the team to learn about each other’s interests. To use this icebreaker, go around the room in a circle asking the participant’s music choices and why it interests them.
A few rounds of trivia questions will bond your team and get them working together. Virtual Trivia gets better with prizes. It encourages teamwork but also greatly expands the team's knowledge of their teammate’s interests.
Check out some excellent Virtual Trivia to play with your team.
Embarrassing photos are something to laugh about. But they’re a great way for virtual employees to know each other personally and become closer as a team. As the name of this icebreaker suggests, playing it only requires team members to share funny or embarrassing photos of themselves (can include friends and family members).
If you run a large company, it can be difficult for remote teams to know each other. Or if you have departments that rarely interact, this game would be best for you. One of the best ways to create a sense of togetherness is to make employees see how alike they are to others to feel comfortable speaking to each other.
First, divide the team into small groups and ensure you include employees from different departments or teams in each group. Task the groups to find 10 things in common that all of them share. You’ll be amazed at the things the 10 colleagues will have in common.
Sharing favorite places in the world can be simple since most people already have it in their minds. Some have been dreaming about these dream destinations since childhood. Letting your colleagues share these parts of their lives can invite other team members to their lives. It'd be a great opportunity to dream with team members and bond over.
As fun and interesting as this icebreaker sounds, it can be challenging to interpret locations unless they’re so obvious. Of course, this icebreaker will be best for distributed teams that don’t know each other well enough. The players will tell facts or descriptions of their city, state, or country without telling the actual name.
This is one of the most interesting group icebreakers activities for remote teams. It starts with each participant sharing something interesting they've done (for example, lived on 3 continents, won a hot chili pepper competition—the sillier and more personal, the better).
Alternatively, let the team members reply anonymously to your message on Slack. Then task each team member to guess the person who has done that thing and explain why they came to that conclusion. Interesting, right?
If you’re not familiar with Scavenger Hunt, it’s an icebreaker game where the participants are tasked with looking for specific items. The first person to locate and bring back the items wins the prize. As for the virtual scavenger hunts, the team members scramble to find items before the time runs out.
For example, you can have the employees retrieve their favorite ugly sweater or take a selfie with it to earn points. This team-building game aims to encourage engagement for all remote workers. This icebreaker game is also known as a virtual treasure hunt or online scavenger hunt.
Discover a top selection of virtual Scavenger Hunt activities.
There you have it; 20 fun ice breakers for remote meetings. With these tips for practical team-building icebreakers, you’ll have a more engaged team and workplace bonds that will enhance high-performance at work. Find the best team icebreakers for your team and purpose (whether for a meeting or team building event), and you’ll see success.
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We're Joan & Jaume, co-founders of Onsite.fun. Two brothers that joined forces to make distributed teams more united than in-office. Onsite.fun is your one-stop shop to manage and organize team-building events company wide. We find the most remarkable activities online and wrap them on a suite of tools that make them easy and convinient to book for distributed teams.
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