Virtual communication is becoming necessary for more companies as they embrace remote work. Team leaders who can use virtual ice breakers effectively will have better communication with team members and can build trust with their online colleagues.
Virtual team ice breakers are interactive activities that can help lighten the mood, create cohesion, and dispel that awkward silence at the start of every online meeting.
Using ice breakers for meetings will encourage participants to be more active. Even team members who dislike such activities will be more likely to participate if the activities are fun and engaging.
You can embrace ice breakers for meetings as part of your virtual onboarding process and thus create a better remote work culture. Nowadays, technology enables us to be more interactive online. Even if your team is unable to meet face to face, there’s no reason they can’t get to know each other.
According to TeamBonding, 65% of remote workers report that they have never been a part of any remote team-building activities. However, team building is an excellent opportunity for your team and company culture. Strengthening the bond between your team members will make them more productive and efficient, especially if they feel like they’re part of a community.
Therefore, in this article, we have compiled seven virtual team ice breaker ideas for you to use in your next online meeting.
Let’s dive in.
Table of contents
- Virtual team meetings
- Virtual ice breaker questions
- Virtual ice breaker games
- Virtual ice breaker activities
- Virtual ice breaker polls
- Virtual ice breaker Slack channel
- Virtual ice breaker tour
- Make remote work feel more personal and build a real team
- ✅ Create a great work culture with TestGorilla’s Culture Add test
Top 7 ice breaker ideas to make virtual teams’ meetings more fun
Below, you’ll find our selection of seven fun ice breaker ideas to try. These will help you build a stronger and more cohesive remote team in which team members:
- Aren’t afraid to ask questions
- Feel comfortable asking for help when they need it
- Come to work as their authentic selves
This will help create an environment in which everyone can thrive. So, let’s see how you can achieve all that.
1. Virtual team meetings
This may be self-explanatory, but weekly virtual team meetings are great ice breakers for your team, especially new colleagues. You can use these meetings to not only check up on everyone’s work progress but also see how they’re doing on a more personal level.
If your meeting is on Monday, start by asking how everyone’s weekend went. Usually, someone will have a fun anecdote to share: which club they’ve been to, where they went hiking, or simply that they managed to clean the house and read a book in peace.
As the team leader, you should also participate in these conversations to create the feeling that you’re all equal.
2. Virtual ice breaker questions
Virtual team ice breaker questions are a must in every online team meeting if you want to build cohesion. Your questions should be open ended to encourage more team members to participate.
This is especially important when you have shy new colleagues who don’t want to be put on the spot.
You can start by asking a general question to which most team members will respond. Then, invite the shy person to take part in the conversation. Once they see there’s nothing scary about sharing, that team member will participate with their own story as well.
Virtual ice breaker question ideas:
- Which Netflix show are you currently binging and why? Do you have any recommendations?
- If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, which one would it be and why?
- What is your morning routine like?
For a comprehensive list of questions and ideas, check TeamBuilding’s list.
3. Virtual ice breaker games
Naturally, games are always fun, even when playing them virtually. You might be thinking, “We can’t use PlayStation for our meetings.” But that doesn’t mean you can’t use games to make your meetings more engaging.
Here are some games you can use as virtual ice breakers:
This game helps team members learn fun facts about one another. You can use a bingo card generator to pick random facts that could be true about a given person, such as whether they’re left-handed.
You then ask each other questions to learn which facts are true about them and click the ones you got correct on your bingo card. If you fill in an entire row on the card, you yell “bingo” and win the round.
Virtual charades is a fun game to play with a team. One team member gets a randomly generated word or sentence and must act it out without using words. Once someone guesses what it is, it’s their turn to act out a charade.
Virtual “me too”
Although it carries the same name, this has nothing to do with the #MeToo movement. Rather, it’s another virtual team-building game you can play with your coworkers.
Your team members display all ten fingers on both hands. Someone kickstarts the game by saying something that they’ve done, like “I’ve been skiing in the Alps.” If someone else has done that too, they put one of their fingers down and shout, “Me too!” Then, it’s the next person’s turn to say something.
The game continues until someone puts down all ten fingers. This is a great game to learn facts about each other and find common ground.
4. Virtual ice breaker activities
Similar to virtual ice breaker games, virtual ice breaker activities aim to strengthen bonds between team members by introducing an atmosphere similar to a physical office space.
You can do this by inviting team members to a Discord channel, for example, which everyone can join once they clock in. Employees can chat for a bit before they start working. Having everyone together on the call can make them feel more like they’re in the office.
If someone has a question, they can fire away instead of having to write to people individually. This can also help with generating ideas on how to complete a task.
Another similar activity is to introduce a “live remote office” video. This is basically a live video chat people can join once the workday starts. This way, everyone can see what the other person is doing and mimic a live office atmosphere.
5. Virtual ice breaker polls
You can use cloud technologies like Slido to create virtual ice breaker polls for the day.
One team member asks a question on Slido. The answers are then compiled, and the option with the most answers is displayed in the center of the screen, with the rest bundled around it.
You can use this tool to check how people are feeling using emojis, ask them questions that require one-word answers, and even have fun by asking provocative questions to get a laugh.
6. Virtual ice breaker Slack channel
A Slack channel can provide a great way to communicate with your colleagues, and it’s an easy tool to use for your virtual ice breakers.
You can send unlimited messages, meaning your team members can chat away as much as they want, whether to discuss work-related topics or simply how their day is going. It’s an easy communication channel to set up and doesn’t require your employees to share their social media information or phone numbers if they don’t want to.
7. Virtual ice breaker tour
Another fun virtual ice breaker idea is to have everyone record a short video of their home, their commute to the gym, a store they’re shopping at, their kid’s school, or anything else and send it to everyone.
Colleagues can get a sneak peek into each other’s lives, which can help build personal connections and create more camaraderie within the team.
Make remote work feel more personal and build a real team
Ensure your virtual team is not just a group of experts in their respective fields who happen to work together but a real team that shares common goals and objectives and can solve challenges together.
By using the above virtual ice breaker ideas, you can help build a cohesive team whose members know each other a little bit better. If team members know the people they’re working with, they’ll be more productive and effective, and you won’t feel the need to have everyone in the office.
If you’re interested in creating a diverse and effective team, check out our Culture Add test, which can help you hire employees whose values and behaviors align with your organization.
To learn more about team building for remote teams, have a look at our five remote team-building activities for virtual teams.
- Deiratani, A. (March 8, 2020). “5 Virtual Team Building Activities That Work”. Retrieved November 22, 2022. https://www.teambonding.com/5-team-bondingtips-for-remote-employees/