When working in an office, healthy interaction with employees and strong bonds make you happy and motivated to deliver your best every day. Remote working is not much different but has less personal interaction because of the least face-to-face communication.
Teams working in different locations tend to experience less trust and more conflicts than those working together in an office. 52% of companies are not organizing any team-building activity with their remote employees.
So, how connected do your remote employees feel with each other?
With the outburst of the Covid19 pandemic, companies have embraced remote working, which has consistently decreased employee engagement levels. One of the key reasons for the least engagement is the lack of a sense of community. Thus, you should build a sense of community via team-building efforts, increasing engagement by approximately 50%. Virtual team building is tough but not impossible.
Icebreakers and engaging team-building activities can work perfectly to create a sense of togetherness in your remote teams. In fact, they can be one of the best tricks to promote team management. You can use ice breakers as a part of your virtual team-building events, virtual meetings, training sessions, and workshops.
Here are some of the best icebreakers and team-building activities you can conduct for your remote teams.
Virtual Bingo can work as both an ice breaker and a contest for a virtual meeting. When you make your virtual employees play Bingo, you can be sure that they are attentive.
Create bingo cards with the most common happenings of virtual meetings. Below are some of the ideas to get started:
- Someone loses connection
- Someone forgets to turn on/off mute
- A person or pet in the background
- A dog or baby is crying in the background
Send every employee their card before the time starts. Let them know you will explain what it is for during the meeting. Once the meeting starts, ask employees to get their bingo cards ready. Ask them to mark off when a situation on their card occurs as the meeting keeps going. The first person who gets five in a row type “BINGO” in the chat wins the game.
Make sure the virtual bingo game is simple and fun, and you will be surprised to see the high level of virtual team engagement in meetings. You should also make your employees feel comfortable when embarrassing situations arise. If you want an icebreaker, which can also be a good contest, conduct an in-meeting game of virtual bingo.
One-Question Ice Breaker
One-question ice breaker is one of the perfect ways to warm up your team for online meetings. Ask your employees a non-work-related question, which they should reply to within a set time limit.
Find below some of the excellent icebreaker questions you can ask in Zoom meetings:
- What is that one thing about your childhood that you will always remember?
- What is your favorite movie, and why?
- What is your favorite location, and why?
- Which is the best novel for you? What did you learn from it?
- Can you describe your birthplace in 5 words?
This game is quite fun to play and thought-provoking. They would feel like thinking seriously to give an apt reply to your questions. Plus, your team learns something new from each other with every virtual meeting.
Two Truths One Lie
You can use the ice breaker “Two Truths One Lie” whenever you introduce a new team member to your team. However, the game can still be quite fun to play to learn the hidden facts about other teammates. After the game, your team members will find it much easier to start and enjoy a conversation.
You need nothing special to play this game. All you need is good video-conferencing software and a team that likes to have fun. A player needs to say or send three sentences (two of which are true and one is a lie). Other players will have to guess the lie.
Visual Awards and Recognitions
Who doesn’t like to get an appreciation for good performance? With awards and certificates, you can recognize your employee’s efforts in completing work. When you conduct a virtual awards ceremony, you recognize their hard work and encourage them to create unique and fun awards.
You can make your employees vote on every award or decide who deserves them yourself. Ensure the award event is fun, and everyone wins at least something. If you appreciate your employees’ efforts, they will feel like serving and start with you for a long time.
You can start with the following fun awards:
- Team Spirit: You may have an employee in your company who is always excited to participate in interesting team-building activities. They can also be quite innovative to come up with something independently. If you have such employees in your team, give them awards.
- The Fixer: As we use more and more technologies, we tend to face an increasing number of issues, which are tough for all of us to fix ourselves. You must have someone in your workforce who is always willing to help you out when you face any issue regarding audio connect and visual display.
- Mr./Ms. Mute: One of your team members may be a person of few words. It’s quite tough to master the “Mute” button. You can give an award to “Mr./Ms. Mute” whom others can’t remember because of their silence. But make sure your presentation doesn’t come across as shaming. Only add some fun elements to the presentation.
- Fashionista: Looking fashionable always is quite a talent, and every company has some dedicated fashionable people working for them. Give the award “Fashionista” to your employees who always manage to deck up and look fashionable.
This or That
This or That, also known as “Waffles vs. Pancakes”, is a quick icebreaker which works well for a team where members know the least about each other. Start the game with a question of what to keep between the two choices.
You simply need to throw two options, chips vs. nachos, in small groups. The participants have to vote on which option stays. The selected option competes with a new choice. As the game proceeds quickly, the choices get tougher with several rounds.
You can also focus on filtering the discussion topics to feature vital areas of your company. Every member will get a chance to fight for their position and learn their colleagues’ opinions and values. This game effectively teaches your virtual team how to make important decisions together.
Rock Paper Scissors
” Rock Paper Scissors” is a classic game that is still extremely popular because of its fun elements and ease to play. Still, it is highly competitive, because of which many people enjoy the game a lot.
Play this game at the start of a virtual meeting or as a team-building element to make your remote employees feel more connected to each other. You can also make your team play a virtual squid game to have more fun.
Assign one partner to all your employees and make one of them the leader, who will have to start the game online. You will give them a link that they will share with their partners. When they have their links, they can share them privately with their partners in the chat or even post them on their social media profiles and then start playing. You will have to continue the game until a player wins three rounds.
It is a challenging yet interesting icebreaker for a remote team that works for employees in sales and other departments of all group sizes. Make sure to break the teams into small groups for big groups.
You need to do a little preparation to conduct the virtual game, “Sell it”. Ask all your team members to grab an item from their desks and sell it to other employees. Allow them to set the price, deliver a sale in a minute, and answer questions in one minute. Once all your employees are done pitching, they will vote for an item to buy through a poll. The employee whose item others buy the most wins the competition.
Even if your team is not involved in sales operations, “Sell it” can always be a fun way to break the ice among your employees.
The “Jackpot” can be an ideal icebreaker for employees who have not known each other for long or those who haven’t played this game together earlier. You should try to know all team members’ objectives by asking what they will do after winning a lottery.
The team members will have to spend a few minutes sharing their priorities after the win, mainly how they will invest their lottery money.
Virtual Movie Club
Your workforce may have many movie buffs. A virtual book club will give your remote employees a shared experience they can connect over. Once you pick the “Movie of the Month”, you can ask employees to watch it themselves or on their devices, depending on their internet bandwidth. You can also watch the movie together as a club.
Meet them later to discuss the surprising elements and messages related to the movie. To make the virtual movie club even more entertaining, you can ask your employees to dress up as movie characters and share their reasons for playing that role.
Virtual Book Club
You can create your virtual book club the way you want. If your members are learning new leadership skills or solving mysteries, they will feel more connected with each other and spend less downtime reading.
Select a genre for your book club to get started. You can also keep the genre exposed and have another employee choose a book every month. You should let your book club members know the book of the month and give them a few weeks to complete reading it.
You can also offer inexpensive eBook copies if you can afford them. At the end of every month, bring your members together to discuss the book and compare their content.
” Guess Who” is a fun way for your remote employees to learn about every person from their homes. This icebreaker works perfectly for groups of 4 to 10 people who have met each other at least once. You can modify this icebreaker using breakout groups if you have a big group, so it doesn’t take long to complete.
Send an email or conduct an open-ended survey to your employees, asking a light-hearted question before the meeting starts. Some of the ice breaker questions you can ask are below:
- What is your biggest childhood achievement?
- What did you want to become as a child?
- What is the best vacation you have had?
- What is the craziest hairstyle or color you have ever had?
- If you can visit a place immediately, where will you go?
- If you had a pet, what would you name it?
- What was your first job?
- What was the last movie you watched?
- What was the last song you listened to?
- What was the last Google search you performed?
During the meeting, your organizers can share replies individually while your employees try to guess who’s reply it is. If you have less time, you can conduct a poll to make your employees guess rather than share popcorn. More than one employee may also have the same reply sometimes. Group them and allow those employees to guess such similar replies.
Would You Rather
“Would You Rather” is a classic game that people have enjoyed playing for years. This virtual icebreaker helps your remote employees get to know more about each other and relax a bit before starting your meeting.
Come up with a couple of questions for your employees to reply to before the meeting or training. The questions can be random, fun, serious, or tough. For instance, you can ask them, “Would you rather have a pet bat or seagull?” and “Would you rather have no internet or lose your smartphone?”
When facilitating “Would You Rather?” in a virtual setup, you can do it in two ways. You can pair up employees or form small groups with them. The pairing and group formation allow your team to connect and explain their replies. They can also laugh their heart out and have a great time.
If you have less time and have a bigger group, you can also do this by conducting a poll. Once the results are displayed, you can ask your one or two employees to share their replies and the reasons to choose them.
Being a trivia master, you will have to host a virtual trivia night. Thus, choose the right questions, get team members together, conduct trivia rounds and track the scores.
When you arrange a company virtual trivia night, you will get the opportunity to combine fun questions with company-related questions. Maintain the right balance and ask a variety of questions. Some of the examples are:
- When was our company established?
- Who was the director of our company in the year 2001?
- Which is the latest product/service launched by our brand?
Make sure you introduce yourself and describe how a trivia night works when kicking it off. You will ask ten questions for every round. Ask the questions first and then send the team into breakout rooms. You should not allow Google searches and assign someone in your team to evaluate their answers.
Close the breakout groups after 45 seconds and then ask the next question. Once they answer all the questions, give them two minutes to finalize replies and return to report their final answers. Score your team’s replies and repeat for the second round.
Coffee breaks are kind of inevitable for employees working in physical offices. Unfortunately, remote employees miss this much-needed water-cooler and sudden lunch get-togethers. However, you can offer them a similar virtual experience.
Ask your remote workers to schedule virtual coffee breaks with each other. To start and continue intriguing conversations, you can also create a list of ice-breaker-like questions that employees can ask, mainly if your team doesn’t know each other well yet.
You can invite one or two employees to char over a cup of coffee. Give small gift cards to your team or send your brand logo-printed mugs to participants.
The Bottom Line
With the consistent decrease in employee engagement rates, it’s crucial to strengthen connections among your remote employees. Team building has proved to help workers improve their relationships and boost engagement.
From remote team building activities to virtual ice breakers, you get many opportunities to engage your employees and strengthen your workforce. But, you need to divide which virtual team-building activity to try first.
This post outlines some of the most intriguing once breakers, in which you can try to build a more engaged team by strengthening relationships among employees. Hope you can easily choose and implement the perfect ice breaker for your workforce suited to your purpose and get the desirable outcomes.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some fun icebreaker questions for the team?
● There could be many fun questions, here are a few:
● Which emoji do you use the most?
● Which actor/actress was your childhood crush?
● What is your favorite item you’ve bought this year?
● You have to sing karaoke, what song do you pick?
● What was the worst haircut you ever had?
How to liven up a virtual team meeting?
Here are some pro tips:
1. Keep meetings precise and to the point.
2. Strike a balance between talking and listening.
3. Add participatory elements.
4. Use images, powerpoint presentations and other visual aids.
5. Leave time to socialize.
6. Use virtual icebreakers.
7. Play online team building games. …
Remote team building challenges.