What are icebreakers?
Icebreakers are questions or activities that pave the way to discussions and debates. Focused on laid-back topics of discussion, the emphasis is on building interpersonal connections among team members.
Icebreakers are a very easy way to help remote teams build and foster healthy, fun relationships in the remote work environment. Aside from being a fun way of connecting team members, icebreakers are also great to let off steam, and sit back and relax.
Nonetheless, the main purpose of using icebreakers for remote team building is to help coworkers get to know one another so that they can build team culture, fostering accountability, collaborative problem-solving and strong interpersonal relationships.
There are many different types of icebreaker activities available online and within communities and companies, fulfilling various engagement strategies through play. But why are these seemingly straightforward, simple icebreaker games so important in today’s remote work culture?
Why are icebreakers important?
Icebreaker games and virtual icebreakers for remote teams are often overlooked during the onboarding process of new remote employees. However, they can be immensely useful tools, especially for new team members or teams moving to a remote environment.
First off, icebreakers are a great way to start conversations and learn about team members, figure out their differences brought on by different cultural and professional backgrounds,
Through various discussions and games, remote teams can build trust and culture together through meaningful collective experiences. Moreover, virtual icebreakers can be a great way of getting everyone on the remote team engaged. Even though some people may be less outgoing and have trouble speaking up and getting noticed within a team, through easy icebreaker games, they can find an avenue to feel integrated and engaged, participating freely.
Icebreaker games establish a friendly, informal space where remote workers can get to personally know (as much as the online environment allows) each other so that they can be at ease while working. Interestingly, icebreaker games for remote teams can quickly intervene with smaller cliques or groups that may have formed within the team and emphasize the fact that all team members must communicate and work together.
Moreover, participating in icebreaker games helps remote workers destress, self-discover and uplifts their moods. Given that icebreaker activities for remote teams have the main purpose of giving a no-strings-attached, safe space to get to know each other, they practically facilitate open, honest communication and interpersonal conversations, which then lead to a more productive working relationship in the long term.
5 Icebreaker games for your remote team
We have a couple of must-try icebreaker games for remote team rounded up so that we can give you an idea of how they work and what you can use them for within your own remote team of people.
Two Truths and a Lie
Group members take turns revealing three things about themselves. Two of the facts are true and one is a lie. Everyone else must vote on which they think is the lie.
Each remote team member has 30 seconds to “pitch themselves”, as in reveal a couple of bits of info about themselves so that their peers can get to know them. This is also very good for practicing public speaking skills.
Bored is a suite of Slack games that can be added to a remote team workspace. One of the games is Icebreakers, which can be add on multiple channels. The Icebreakers foster light-hearted discussions through fun questions.
It works by starting out with a word and then every team member contributes with various words that are associated with the original one and so on. For instance, if we start out with the word entertainment, it can be linked with movies which then can be further linked to comedies, stand-up, clowns, circus and so on and so forth. The game can go on forever, but timed sessions done regularly can be quite productivity-boosting for remote teams.
True or False
Similarly to Two Truths and a Lie, this icebreaker game focuses on challenging remote team members to guess which bits and pieces of information about their team members is true or false. A great way to play the game is to ask participants to provide a set amount of statements about themselves - three or four should be enough - but to include one statement that is false. Then, the rest of the team needs to vote for which statement they think is false. This is an excellent way to get closer to co-workers by finding out little-known information about them and working on character analysis to figure out which trait or statement can apply and which is suspish.