Developing a strong bond with your teammates causes communication and trust to increase over time. With more people working from their homes, companies are discovering that virtual icebreakers can ignite friendly interactions online. That allows you to break down barriers between remote employees and develop a more open and secure environment.
Something like this can only be pulled off if employers are using icebreakers and team-building activities during meetings. According to recent studies, over 65% of remote workers have never participated in icebreaker activities during their daily meetings. That has led to tons of missed opportunities for these businesses. The next time you are holding a Zoom meeting, consider introducing an icebreaker game to improve the atmosphere.
For this article, we have compiled some of the top team icebreaker activities for Zoom meetings.
Every single one of them is short and exciting to do, so you only have to pick the ones that are suited for your team and set them up for your future Zoom calls. The best part is that these icebreakers can be seamlessly run in Zoom, so you won’t have to worry about installing all sorts of third-party software to enjoy these.
What's a Virtual Icebreaker?
Icebreakers are simple activities or conversations that help deal with any awkwardness or anxieties when a group of people comes together for a meeting, casual conversation, or any other occasion. Virtual icebreakers are excellent for when those meetings happen through video conferences like Zoom or conference calls where people may feel uncomfortable during these types of social situations.
Why should you use Icebreakers?
Seeing coworkers working alongside each other can be inspiring in an office setting. Colleagues who work alongside in-person also have the opportunity to participate in team bonding activities that help everyone connect face-to-face.
Remote teams will fall into a habit of only concentrating on their work task without taking the time to form bonds with one another and efficient working patterns that naturally develop when a level of understanding is achieved. Virtual icebreakers allow you to break down the communication barriers, stir up creativity and collaboration while also lowering any potential feelings of isolation.
Top Virtual Team Icebreakers
Here are several virtual exciting icebreakers you can try during your upcoming meetings.
Emoji Zoom reactions
At times it can be quite challenging to sense how your employees are feeling, especially if you are having a massive meeting. To get an idea of how everyone is feeling, encourage them to use emoji reactions during a Zoom call. For instance, at the end of your meeting, ask your team members to click the emoji that best describes their mood.
Guess who is an excellent icebreaker that allows your team members to learn something about one another. An icebreaker like this works best for groups made up of 3 to 10 people who have met at least once. However, if you have a larger group, consider modifying it and breaking them down into smaller groups, so it does not take too long to finish.
Before the scheduled meeting, conduct a survey or send out an email asking your team members an easy and lighthearted question. Here are a couple of icebreaker questions you can begin with.
- What is your dream vacation?
- What is your favorite song?
- What is your favorite TV show or movie?
- If you had a pet penguin, what would you name it?
- What is your favorite book?
- What are you having for dinner?
- If you could have a superpower what would it be?
When you are in a meeting, your facilitators can share the responses while your team members try to guess whose response it belongs to. If you're on a time limit, you can set up a poll to have your team speculate instead of popcorn sharing. At times, more than one of your workers may have similar responses. That's fine, merely group them and allow your team to know they get more chances to make a guess.
Virtual Icebreaker games
Playing small and simple games with your employees can lead to some great bonding sessions among everyone. Virtual games can spark excitement and laughter among your team. That can lead to some stress being relieved and connections tightening further. By having your team members play several rounds of virtual games with each other, they will surely grow to enjoy each other's company.
The games themselves do not need to be overly complicated and should be simple enough for everyone to grasp in under a few minutes. After all, if someone is struggling with understanding the rules of the game, things will slow down and lead to terrible times. Fortunately, there are tons of games out there that are easy to pick up and play short rounds with every one of your team members.
Our app Brightful allows employers to start game sessions that can be enjoyed by the entire team. You can expect several exciting and simple games like Gin Rummy, Werewolf, Describe it, and much more. The best part about using our platform is that it is fully capable of integrating with Zoom, so you can enjoy these games while still being on a video call!
Have you ever heard of the word Fika? It’s a Swedish word that is known as a coffee and cake break. For the Swedish people, it means far more than that. The purpose of Fika is to take a break from everything for a brief moment and enjoy some quality time with colleagues or friends over a cup of tea or coffee.
Consider using Fika during your Zoom meetings. It doesn’t need to be called Fika, you can rename it into something else, like virtual happy hour. The idea here is to set up a time where everyone can be informal and catch up every once in a while. Your team will chat with each other about something else besides work. During these isolating times, it can help make every feel less alone.
Isolating and need more ways to increase your productivity? Check out our guide on productivity tips here.
Where are you joining us from?
If your remote workers are scattered around the globe, consider starting your meeting by sending out a virtual greeting to each of your colleagues. During the start of your Zoom call, begin a poll with the question, “ Where are you joining us from?”
As your team members post their current location, give them some shout-outs. That can lead to everyone getting to know each other better and even ask questions about the place they live in during future meetings. A virtual icebreaker like this is excellent if you are conducting a sizable Zoom call.
Stir up some fun and excitement with the team during a Zoom call. Before your next daily meeting, set up a theme and ask your team members to choose a virtual background image that represents them, or it can be a theme about their current mood.
Regardless of how you decide to conduct this icebreaker, the idea here is to get creative and choose a fun theme to share. The possibilities are endless; you can choose a theme from your favorite movie scene, vacation spots, memes, and so much more. You can even spice it up by setting up themes each week that way, the backgrounds can be different after each daily call.
Taking a look at one another's backgrounds will break the ice and offer you something to discuss during the first few minutes of the call. However, Zoom virtual backgrounds have other uses far more than entertainment purposes. It also allows team members to hide any embarrassing messes or trespassing members of the home.
There are tons of virtual backgrounds available on the internet, simply use your search engine of choice to discover them. To spice things up even further, you can have your team members vote for which background is the best to increase enjoyment.
Share a Picture
There are plenty of variations for this icebreaker to choose from. You have several ways of doing this icebreaker, such as asking everyone to share their most recent picture in their gallery with everyone and telling them what it is. Another idea for this icebreaker is to ask everyone to share a photo that has a story and meaning behind it.
You could also ask your team members to share a photo from their desk or workspace or even take a picture of something they saw while they were outside of their home. There are plenty of ways to pull this off, and it all comes down to how creative you decide to be with bringing up a topic for sharing pictures. From sharing embarrassing photos to meals they have cooked, there are a variety of ways to do this icebreaker.
You can also use photos to conduct a guessing session. Like guessing who's baby pictures, this is or even asking team members to take a highly zoomed-in picture of objects from their home and having people do their best to guess what the image is. In the end, it all comes down to your creativity, but it will guarantee to lead to some very exciting sessions for everyone involved.
Would you rather?
"Would you rather?" Is an excellent icebreaker that's been used for plenty of years. Doing this as a virtual icebreaker allows your team members to get to one another better and relax a bit before you begin your daily meeting. Before the date for your scheduled meeting, come up with several questions for your team members to answer. The questions should be a combination of fun, random and challenging questions.
Here are several questions you can ask your team members:
- Would you rather have a pet turtle or a pet hamster?
- Would you rather go to the beach or climb a mountain?
- Would you rather have cake or Ice cream?
When it comes to conducting a session like this in a virtual environment, there are two options you can choose from. The first option is to pair up your team members or place them in small groups. That offers your team a chance to bond with each other and explain their responses. It can also lead to some great laughs and excitement overall.
If there isn’t enough time left and the group is too large, you could also conduct a poll. When the results are displayed, you can ask one or two team members to share their responses and the reasons for choosing them.
Another fantastic way for everyone to get to know each other. This icebreaker works by having everyone share their bucket list of things they want to do before passing on. Not only will this allow everyone to get to know each other, but it could potentially lead to some of them helping each other cross out some of those items. Plus, if anyone shares similar goals, they could team up and help each other cross off some of these items.
Get your remote workers out of their chairs for a brief moment. They will appreciate being able to move around for a while. Have them complete some small tasks such as having 25 seconds to get something orange or having them get the strangest thing inside of their home, then bring it back and show it to the rest of the team.
An activity like this is pleasurable for everyone and can reveal some interesting facts about your employees. Don’t be afraid to spice things up a bit as well. You could even have the person talk about why they own the item or talk about what they had to do while looking for said object.
Icebreakers are a fantastic way for remote workers to get to know each other better. By doing some of these icebreaker activities every once in a while, your team will surely make deep bonds with one another. That will lead to productivity rise and everyone to feel less isolated from each other. So make sure to apply these top virtual team icebreakers to your next Zoom call and start creating bridges among your employees.