For an organisation that is focused on fostering teamwork, team collaboration, and employee engagement, keeping teams connected is very crucial. However, it can be difficult for people to connect if they are not familiar and comfortable with each other. That is where icebreakers play a critical role.
In a traditional office, breaking the ice easy, as colleagues work in close proximity and bump into each other all the time. There are many opportunities to strike conversations.
However, it becomes a different story altogether when the teams are remote. It is challenging for people to connect while working miles away from each other. It takes the effort of the whole team to think of virtual icebreakers that work for the team.
If you are looking for fun ice breakers for your remote team, here are some easy suggestions.
- Share online profiles
Sometimes asking someone you have never met some personal questions can seem awkward.
This can be bypassed by encouraging members to look up each other’s profiles on the internet. They can take out time to learn of each other’s skills, interests, and experiences. They can also go ahead and send friend requests so they can continue discovering each other online.
- Hold virtual coffee breaks
Individuals in a traditional office have the privilege to bond over a cup of coffee during coffee breaks.
You can recreate the same with your remote team by taking virtual coffee breaks regularly. Encourage the team to take a few minutes off work and join in the conversations.
You can also group colleagues and alternate them with each coffee break. Ensure that the conversations are fun and non-work related. Ice breakers like these can help employees get to know each other better and build genuine bonds.
- Create non-work forums
Team collaboration and communication tools are the game changer when it comes to managing remote teams.
Some of these tools come with great features such as the ability to create different forums within the same interface. Slack, for instance, allows teams to create different groups according to departments, projects, or just general chats.
You can create an ideal forum in such a tool and have members share ideas on a topic. You can also create another one for social chats where individuals can take on social conversations, post silly posts, and others.
- Teach each other
Knowledge sharing is important in passing expertise in the team and building each other’s skills. However, training sessions don’t have to be boring. You can turn them into a fun-filled icebreaker and still learn while at it.
Challenge your team to think of something they can share with the team. You can also group them so they can brainstorm ideas and come up with a solid lesson. Encourage them to package it in a fun way and share it with the group. You can then encourage them to comment about what they have learned and compliment each other for the good work.
Pro tip: Encourage them to convert their documents from word to PDF. This way, the format will remain intact even after others download it to their computers.
- Social media challenges
Social media challenges are the craze these days. They are the perfect way to have employees talk about each other for days.
Think of an interesting challenge with catchy hashtags. You can think of a popular dance and encourage your team to take videos while dancing. They can then upload them on social media with a funny caption.
Let them tag each other and watch the comments as they go back and forth. Other catchy challenges include taking pictures of their workspaces or their work from home attire.
An ice breaker list can’t be complete without a game involved.
One good example is a virtual scavenger hunt. Have the team look for something hidden in a file. You can then offer clues in groups, forums, or in individual profiles on social media. The members are supposed to share the link to the file in the group. The first one to do so wins the game.
Remote work is slowly taking over traditional offices in modern workplaces. It is a trend that employees have already started demanding as a condition to work in an organisation.
This is to say that managers need to equip themselves in managing remote teams even if their organisations have not yet embraced remote work. This includes learning ways to connect remote workers, with ice breakers being one of them.
Ashley is a full-stack developer currently working remotely. She started her career as a front-end developer but then slowly started practicing back-end also. Now she is a mother of two beautiful children and dedicates most of her time to them.