Does your remote team feel connected? Whether your team is currently working remotely due to the pandemic or your team has been virtual for years, virtual icebreakers can spark friendly and informal connections among remote workers.
Virtual team building can be daunting, but you don’t let distance stop you. In this article, we’ll talk about: 👇
- The importance of virtual Icebreakers
- How to design your virtual icebreakers
- Virtual icebreaker activities and questions for your remote teams
Let’s get started:
Here’s The List of 25 Virtual Ice-breaker Activities
- Critical Thinking Questions
- A Ride in the Time Machine
- A Stroll Through the Childhood
- Current Affairs Conversation
- Social Question
- Host an Open Mic
- Emoticon Starter
- Six-Word Story
- Guess a Riddle
- Build a Story
- Guess the Gibberish
- What’s Same and What’s Unique?
- This or That
- Draw Your Current Mood
- Last Picture That You Clicked
- Would You Rather?
- Where Are You Joining From?
- Name That Sound
- Virtual Water Cooler
- Virtual Coffee
- Trivia Game Icebreaker
- Song on Repeat
- Show and Tell: Pet Edition
- Good Old Times
- Zoom Background Challenge
The Importance of Virtual Ice-breakers
A virtual Ice-breaker is a great way to keep your remote teams engaged and learn more about each other.
Ice-breaker is a game or activity that you can do with your team members to get to know each other and start the conversation. Virtual ice-breakers are the same, but they are done via video calls in a remote environment.
We can feel lonely and isolated while working remotely. In our survey, we found that approx 46% of employees said they miss coming to the office. 😥
Here are some reasons why virtual ice-breaker activities are useful:
- You can introduce new hires to teammates in a fun way to make them feel comfortable.
- A well-placed interactive icebreaker can lighten virtual meetings and keep your team’s attention throughout the meeting.
- It gives you an opportunity to learn more about your teammates’ personalities and thoughts.
5 Elements to Design Virtual Ice-breakers
⏬Here are some elements that you should consider before designing your virtual ice-breakers:
Have a Purpose: Ask yourself, “what’s your purpose with ice-breakers activities?” Introducing new hires? Or bringing your teams together and letting them know each other? First, you must establish a purpose clearly.
Help Employees Feel Comfortable: A virtual ice-breaker activity will be successful if your employees feel comfortable participating. Tell your team clearly what’s the purpose of these activities and encourage everyone to participate.
Timely: Probably your virtual teams are calling from different time zones, so take time into account. Do you want your ice-breaker activities to be a quick 10-minutes or 30-minutes?
Frequency: Consider whether the virtual ice-breaker is once per week or if you want to make it a daily thing? Discuss with your team and come up with your plan.
Tool: Make sure everyone is using the same video conferencing tool, like Zoom, and they’re familiar with the tool. Also, decide the format – do you want your team to use their webcam or a voice call will be sufficient?
25 Virtual IceBreaker Activities for Remote Teams
We’ve collected 25 virtual Icebreakers ideas for your remote team meetings – all tried, tested, and enjoyed by our remote workers – even the introverts! 😬
1. Critical Thinking Questions
One of the best initiatives to break the ice for a virtual office is to start by asking a question that facilitates critical thinking.
For example, you can ask a question like, ‘A man is lying dead in a field. There is an unopened package lying next to him and no other creature in the field. How did he die?’
Post lateral thinking questions in the group and give everyone some time to answer. Then let them have a brief conversation about their answer and the learning experience behind it. 💡
2. A Ride in the Time Machine
People love to have conversations about themselves. You can channelize this habit of your employees by asking them the time machine question.
For example, ask them about a place or a time they’d like to visit if they had a time machine. You can use follow-up questions to have an ice-breaking conversation.
3. A Stroll Through the Childhood
Ask your team members to share their childhood pictures privately with you. Then, post these pictures in the office group and ask people to guess the person. Not only can it be a great ice-breaking activity but also reminiscence people of their childhood memories. This would facilitate open conversations and a good laugh to top it off! 😁
4. Current Affairs Conversation
Asking members to have a conversation about an open issue can be a great team-building activity. For example, you could share a topic that people can read about in your office group.
Then start the remote team meeting by asking them to express their views about the same. Once people are done sharing their views uninterrupted, set aside some time for an open conversation.
5. Social Question
Start a team meeting by asking people little questions, people love to answer about themselves. These could be about their favorite season, team, food, etc. This activity, on the one hand, focuses on enabling a lively conversation among people, even leading to a debate on why one’s favorite football team is better than the others. On the other hand, it helps people get to know each other better.
6. Host an Open Mic
Let the people in your organization speak about something they like. This could be a poem, a short story, a song, jokes, etc. Taking the central stage would give them due attention to showcase their talent. 🎷
Similarly, performing in a group would also serve as a key to social validation. Ask team members to applaud others.
7. Emoticon Starter
Ask your team members to share an emoticon that precisely tells how they are feeling at the moment. This will help start the meeting on a lighthearted note, as people witness the range of emojis being put to use. This activity makes use of one of the best virtual things that people love to do- use emoticons. 😊
8. Six-Word Story
Watch the ice shatter as people become their creative best with this activity. Ask your team members to tell their life’s story using six words. Or if there is something interesting that they want to share, ask them to do it within the six-word limit. Not only is this fun but also a great platform for people to be their quirky best.
9. Guess a Riddle
Post a riddle and ask your team members to reply with answers within 5 minutes. Tell them to not use any search engine or write answers they might have already known. Watch them be at their creative best as they try to answer questions with a race against the clock.
10. Build a Story
Again, one of the most popular activities on the list, breaks the ice and builds an interesting story. Start by assigning random numbers to your team members. Then ask the person who has number 1, to write down a sentence and leave it incomplete.
The next person with the succeeding number will write another line, and this would go on until all members have had their turns. Read out the story that is sketched in the end.
11. Guess the Gibberish
This game is already viral among social media enthusiasts. You could leverage this as an ice breaker for your team by posting gibberish words for common movies, songs, or even names of some of your team members. Not only will people rush to answer it correctly but also enjoy the competitive spirit.
12. What’s Same and What’s Unique?
This ice-breaker activity is a great way to know each other better while having fun. Split your participants into groups of 5 or more. Ask each group to write down as a list on an online whiteboard all the interesting things they all have in common and something unique to each participant. Assign a time limit for the task (let’s say 5 minutes). After 5 minutes, ask each group to share their list with the rest of the team.
13. This or That
It’s a simple game posing questions involving two choices. The players are supposed to make their preferences known by choosing an answer option, even if none of the options appeals to them. There’s no right or wrong answer. This game has the potential to be funny and outrageous, serious and mundane – simultaneously!
14. Draw Your Current Mood
Create some doodles together, even if it’s just as pitiful as we produced during our recent team meeting. Before starting a meeting, just ask your employees to draw their current mood on the whiteboard. It’s so much fun, I swear! 🎨
15. Last Picture That You Clicked
It’s a simple but sweet activity to make people talk. Ask your team to go to their phones, and find out the last photo that they clicked. Ask them to post these pics to the Slack channel. You can also ask them to share a story behind the picture.
16. Would You Rather?
Use this virtual icebreaker activity to relax a little before you start your meeting. Before starting your meeting, come up with 3 to 5 questions for your employees to answer. These should be a mix of fun, random, and challenging questions.
For example: “Would you rather lose your phone or have no internet?” “Would you rather have a pet tiger or a pet bat?”
You can pair up employees or put them in small groups. This gives them the chance to connect and explain their responses. It can also lead to a lot of giggles.
17. Where Are You Joining From?
At the beginning of your video call, run a word cloud with the question: “Where are you joining from?”
As your team members post their locations, give them a special shout-out. By the end, the word cloud will create a nice collage of all the different places.
18. Name That Sound
It’s a simple (but most challenging) game. Ask your team to turn their cameras off, leaving only audio on, and then one person will start by making a sound – either with their voice or with surrounding objects. The first person who guesses it correctly will go next. 🧐
19. Virtual Water Cooler
Trivia Virtual Water Cooler helps remote employees get to know each other and connect on a personal level. Select a channel where you want to initiate water cooler conversations and simply choose the category, and the Trivia bot will automatically post a question in the channel of your choice.
20. Virtual Coffee
Make your next virtual meeting fun by hosting a virtual coffee time. Have some time off from the work to come together for a virtual coffee/Tea break and get involved in some random chit-chats. ☕
21. Trivia Game Icebreaker
Trivia questions are a fantastic way to have fun with the team and learn some amazing facts! It’s also a very low-risk icebreaker because people don’t need to share personal information about themselves. 😉
We recommend 10 trivia questions, which should take around 5-10 minutes. You can also divide the team into groups for more fun, laughter, and friendly competition!
22. Song on Repeat
Team members can share music recommendations (as everyone loves music) that they’re listening to on repeat these days. 🎧
It allows employees to discuss something that interests them and get new music recommendations to listen to.
23. Show and Tell: Pet Edition
Do you have pet owners on your team? People love showing their pets and talking about them. If the pet lives with them, ask them to show the pet or point the camera at it during the video call. Additionally, you can share some facts about your pet:
- What’s the story behind adopting the pet
- Some funny/quirky things about their pet
24. Good Old Times
Isn’t it a good idea to try questions that bring back childhood or teenage years memories?
Ask questions like:
- Which music band was your favorite growing up?
- Who was your favorite/least favorite teacher, and why?
- Who were your friends when you were growing up?
These questions will get your team members in a good mood before a meeting.
25. Zoom Background Challenge
Before your next team meeting, set a theme and ask your colleagues to pick a virtual zoom background image that represents them best.
This activity will break the ice and help you to share some laughs with your team members on Zoom. At the end of the meeting, pick a winner.
💡 You can also let your colleagues vote for the best background through an EngageWith poll.
30 Quick Virtual Icebreaker Questions
Don’t have time for virtual icebreaker games? Here are quick icebreaker questions you can ask at the beginning of your video call to have some fun and help coworkers get to know one another.
- What’s the best trip you ever had?
- What’s your favorite thing about your native place?
- What single event has had the biggest impact on your life?
- What childish thing do you still do as an adult?
- What’s something you’ve done this year that you’re proud of?
- In your opinion, what is the most beautiful place on earth?
- What is your spirit animal? (The animal who is most similar to your personality.)
- What famous animal movie character do you like the most?
- What is your favorite restaurant?
- If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would you eat?
- What is something you are great at cooking?
- What is your favorite breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner?
- What is your favorite sport or physical activity?
- What three things do you consider yourself to be very good at?
- What is something you love/hate doing? And Why?
- Have you ever lived in another state/country?
- If you had to delete all but 3 apps from your smartphone, which ones would you keep?
- What technology innovation made the most impact on your life?
- When did you get your first mobile phone? What kind was it?
- Where would you time-travel, if it were possible?
- What are your favorite movies/TV-series?
- If you could be any fictional character, who would you be?
- If you won a lottery of $1 billion, what would you do with all the money?
- As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
- What “old person” things do you do?
- What is a trait that you have picked up from your parents?
- What’s the most useless thing you have in your home?
- What would your superpower be if you had one?
- What is your favorite international food?
- What is your morning routine like?
BONUS: Conduct Icebreakers With Fun Trivia Games!
Trivia games can help you break the ice and foster a social connection between your employees. Here are some amazing games that you can play (all games are easy to launch): ⏬
Engage your team with 1000s of quizzes that are fun, easy to launch, and provide a quick five-minute break to your workday. Check out here
Trivia allows you to create your own quizzes. You can create a personalized question bank and hold special events for your teams. Check out here
An MCQ quiz format with a twist: you can not only fetch points with the right answers but also by fooling others with your wrong answer. Check out here
Solve Word Puzzles by rearranging letters to form words. These puzzles are great for competitive team-building exercises.
Vote for opinions with your teammates and stir up some controversy. But, it is just pure fun and sparkles each participant’s creativity.
Right from digital whiteboards, moderators to score calculators, Trivia offer everything you need to play a fun Pictionary without any hassle. Check out here
Virtual Water Cooler
From light-hearted conversation starters to thought-provoking questions, Trivia’s Water Cooler has got you covered. Simply choose the date and time, and the Trivia bot will post a question in a channel of your choice.
Virtual Team Building FAQs
Virtual ice breakers are fun activities or talks that help ease any awkwardness when a group comes together for a meeting or informal chat in a virtual environment.
It’s a practice that includes conducting online games and activities that give remote employees an opportunity to socialize and communicate with their teammates.
A virtual team-building activity builds an emotional connection between your remote teams and they can learn new things about each other. To get you started, we created a guide on team-building activities.
Get inspiration from our virtual ice-breaker activities and let your team know you’re going to conduct these virtual icebreakers frequently.
Unreliable technology, slow internet, different time zones, lack of engagement, and participation.
Do formal check-ins with your teams and know their feedback. Also, offer gift cards and reward for winners. You can also use the above-mentioned virtual team-building icebreakers.
Use an icebreaker activity at the start of a meeting. It will help employees relax and get to know each other on a personal level before getting to work.
Ready to Break the Ice at Your Next Remote Meeting?
We hope you’ll try one of these virtual icebreakers at your next online meeting. With these ideas, you’ll improve team communication and build trust. 💪
Got some other virtual ice-breakers ideas that can boost the engagement of your remote workers? We’d love to hear from you in the comment section below.
Want to bring your teams together? Let Trivia help you connect with your teammates, wherever they are.
Originally published May 13, 2020 1:22 PM, last updated Feb 04 2022