Eight Icebreakers That are Great for Remote Team Building

By  //  May 24, 2020

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Talking to a camera can feel a little awkward even in the best of situations. But the level of awkwardness is especially true when you aren’t familiar with the people you’re talking to, which is what can happen if you’re part of a new remote team.

Talking to a camera can feel a little awkward even in the best of situations. But the level of awkwardness is especially true when you aren’t familiar with the people you’re talking to, which is what can happen if you’re part of a new remote team and virtual team building.

Fortunately, as the leader of the team you can implement some virtual team building activities, more specifically, icebreakers, to help out. Then, everyone can relax and dive into the world of work feeling more at ease.

1. Use Emojis

You won’t want to use emojis in your work emails, of course, unless you have a more relaxed team. But consider doing a start-of-meeting round of emojis while you wait for everyone to drop into the conference call. Or, make it a weekly thing on Slack, Zoho or whatever chat service your team uses.

Asking everyone to describe their mood or day with an emoji is a fun way of breaking the ice and checking in on everyone. Who knows, maybe this simple gesture is the most connection a person’s had all week.

Working remotely can be tough on a person’s social life, especially if the person lives far from a town or city and lives alone.

2. Play a Quick Game

You don’t want to get too personal or cross any boundaries, but there’s no harm in getting to know one another on a personal level. Playing a quick virtual game, such as “Two Truths and a Lie,” can break the ice and even start up an out-of-work friendship.

Remember, working remotely isn’t like working in an office where everyone can chatter at lunch. But having friends on your team you can shoot a private message to during your off-time is a great comfort to have. A team that’s comfortable sharing their common interests is a team that can communicate professionally with warmth, too.

3. Make a Map

You could have a team member on your street and not even know it. Meanwhile, another is working from a beach in Hawaii and you couldn’t be more jealous.

Consider making a map when you start working together and add new team members to it as they come on board. It’s a fun way to connect, break the ice and stifle your curiosity about where everyone is. And who knows, a few of you might even be close enough to get together for a coffee or cocktails sometime. 

4. Draw 

Everyone deserves a break from work pressures, so why not take a break with your teammates? At the start or end of a video conference, or even over chat or email, take time to be silly and draw something. 

Draw an emoji to describe how you feel right now, make a cartoon person representing the week’s workload, draw yourself as the type of superhero you’d need to be to get all your work done in five minutes. It’s a way to blow off some steam, break the ice and laugh at everyone’s terrible drawing skills.

5. Name Your Favorite Things

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, getting work done early and on-time submissions. What are your favorite things about your company? Your boss? Working from home?

Ask the team and share a word, a picture, a paragraph. Something fun. There are no wrong answers, and you get to learn about each other. No doubt there’ll be a laugh when someone answers “eating lunch on company time” in response to their favorite thing about working for the company.

6. Make Trivia a Team Event

Have a trivia night or day — or a even a ten-minute round of trivia at the start of the day or meeting. It’s up to you. But trivia can be a fun way to connect outside of a working environment. It’s great for relaxing, team bonding and for remembering positive things about the company and work that may have slipped your mind. Engaging in trivia can be a multipurpose ice breaker.

7. Share Pet Pictures

Most people love a cute pet, and most people love to show off theirs. Have the team send pictures of their current or former pets. You might be shocked to learn that someone works with a ferret on their shoulder, while another has a wall-size aquarium in their home. 

8. Have Sharing Time at the Start or End of Each Virtual Meeting

Working from home comes with its own set of challenges and feeling disconnected from your team isn’t helpful. One way to get to know one another better and break the ice is to have everyone share something with the rest of the team.

It could be sharing a work-related win or sharing something that didn’t go so well. It could also be sharing exciting personal news. Sharing with the team gives everyone an opportunity to bond.