COVID-19: Icebreaker Games for Remote Teams to Build Better Connect
We share 9 icebreaker games you can play with your remote team, to help them feel connected, stay motivated and build rapport with not just you, but among themselves too!
Remote work is the new normal. It is, indeed, the future of work. While COVID-19 made many practices redundant in teams and the organizations, it also has introduced a whole new set of processes that can boost a team’s morale and make them feel engaged and connected.
The pandemic forced millions of professionals around the globe to a sudden transition to remote work, leading to a feeling of isolation and loneliness among the employees.
And hence, managers and leaders are striving to find ways to keep their teams motivated and engaged. This is where icebreakers come in handy.
We have discussed icebreaker questions in detail in previous two articles. Here we shall highlight icebreaker games you can play with your whole team, so that they feel connected and build rapport with not just you, but among themselves too.
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1 Virtual Bingo board
Bingo is a fun and familiar game that makes understanding each other in remote team easy and fun.
In this game, a bingo card containing a grid of squares with a statement or question in each square that applies to some members of your group and is in line with the objectives of your class, workshop, or event is shared with the participants.
A Bingo card with multiple interesting action items and activities is a great way to start.
You can use a template (like the one below created by Atlassian) to begin with or create your own using spreadsheets or any online Bingo creator.
2 ‘Would you rather’
As the name suggests, the game requires you to share some fun ‘Would you rather’ options with the team and ask them to answer one by one.
Appoint a moderator for the game or you be the moderator. Once the moderator has the responses to the first question, he can read out each response aloud and ask the teammates to guess the respondent.
A few ideas to begin with are:
- Would you rather go to a beach or climb a mountain?
- Would you rather eat carrots or drink soda for the rest of your life?
- Would you rather share a naughty childhood story or your first crush story with the team today?
- Would you rather drive a car or ride a bike for the rest of your life?
- Would you rather stop eating pizza or start eating salad from tomorrow?
- Would you rather be a journalist or prefer your current role in the office for your career?
You can customize the questions according to your team and their preferences.
PRO Tip: Don’t hesitate to add a bit of quirk to your questions to make the activity fun and engaging.
3 Two truths & a lie
This one is a classic icebreaker game remote teams. In this game you ask each of your teammate to share three facts about themselves, out of which one would be a truth and the other two would be lies.
Rest of the teammates would have to guess the truth from lies, and you can make the game even even more exciting by introducing a points system.
This implies that the teammate sharing the facts will be awarded positive points if no one was able to guess the truth, but will be given no point if no one guesses the lie.
This game brings the teammates closer and helps them build stronger bonds, as each team member shares a truth about their lives, giving others an opportunity to learn a thing r two about them.
PRO TIP: The game is fun when you have cameras switched on for all, especially the one sharing the facts, as facial expressions play an important role here.
4 Guess the emoji
We all love to use emojis to express ourselves, especially now when the entire team is working remotely.
To play ‘Guess the Emoji’ make a list of players and distribute it on a shared channel on Slack or any other tool you use to communicate & collaborate while working remotely.
Ask each player to download the player list and take 5-7 minutes and guess the most used emoji by each player on the list.
Once the time is up, ask them to share their responses on the tool you use to communicate.
Go through each response and discuss it out loud with your team. You are most likely to share a good laugh and also know each of the team member a little more.
5 Who am I?
You will have to use an online whiteboard like Miro for this game.
Ask everyone in the team to write one word or a one line that describes them the best, but without their names mentioned there. Let them post the responses on the whiteboard and you as the manager can then guess which response belongs to whom.
This will give you good opportunity to know more about everyone in your team and strengthen your bond with the employees.
6 Share the first thing
This game requires you to prepare a little in advance. Start by thinking of a situation, preferably fun and quirky, which involves the first thing someone would notice in the given situation.
For example, “open page 48 of any book near you and share the first line you see there” or “pick up any packaged food item in your kitchen & read out the first thing you notice on it”.
This game is an effective filler and acts as a great icebreaker game for remote team when they are in the early stages of knowing each other.
7 The last photo
Ask your team to pull out the last or the most recent photo they clicked from their phone and ask them to share it on a common group accessible to the entire team.
Also, ask them to share the story behind that photo, to make it interesting and engaging.
This is a great way to know how your team has been spending their time while practicing social distancing, and getting to know them better.
The game is simple and needs a shared whiteboard like Miro where the team members can doodle away!
Divide your team into 2 or 3 parts depending on the size of the team and let the game begin.
This is a great icebreaker game for remote team bonding.
PRO TIP: To make the game interesting, you can use a random picture generator tool.
9 Guess the birthday
As the name suggests, pick a team member and ask each one in the team to guess the birthday of the member.
See how may get it right! This is a great activity to know each one on a personal level and might also provide the opportunity for introvert team members to connect with those who share the same birthday or both month.
BONUS: Icebreaker game apps
Icebreakers have an important role to play. They encourage people to lower their guard, communicate with candor, and enable strong relationships to be built.
A few apps we recommend using to save you sometime are listed below:
2) Quizbreaker – Quizbreaker provides ready-to-use icebreaker quizzes and saves 5x time of the managers and HR, who would instead be working on building these quizzes on their own.
3) Icebreaker.ws – This is a great place to find ideas if you have already tired a few mentioned above activities, and implement the as well with the help of the features there.
Want to become a better manager?
Start with great 1-on-1s to build high performing teams.