Icebreakers aren’t just for introductions anymore. In fact, they’re great tools for team building, improving morale, productivity, creativity, and more.
This is especially true for fully or even partially remote teams. Team building icebreaker games can bring structure to an otherwise autonomous environment. They also help refocus employees and reestablish effective communication.
Let’s take a look at some of the other ways icebreaker games can strengthen remote teams:
The Benefits of Virtual Icebreaker Games
Great for team building
Icebreaker games help employees get to know one another on a more personal level. A healthy camaraderie between employees nurtures a positive working atmosphere and a sense of well being amongst coworkers.
Virtual icebreaker games also help remote employees feel like they’re part of the greater team. For only partially remote companies, working from home while everyone else is together in an office can feel especially isolating.
Icebreaker games help break down that social barrier, allowing remote employees to feel comfortable and included.
Improved work-life balance
Most remote workers aren’t limited to a strict 9-5 hour workflow. There’s no office building to leave at 5pm and no traffic to beat. As a result, a lot of us actually end up overworking. The line between work hours and personal hours starts to blur as deadlines approach.
Online games and virtual team activities help foster a better work-life balance for remote employees in the following ways:
- They offer a scheduled break during the day to relax and engage with coworkers in a non-work environment.
- Icebreaker games are fun! ‘Nuff said.
- Virtual games foster positive and fun interaction between employees,
resultingin an increase in overall happiness and well-being.
- Icebreaker games take the isolation out of remote work and help employees feel more connected to one another.
Motivate employees and foster creativity
Virtual icebreakers and online team building games help employees think outside the box. As a manager, consider using problem solving games to help facilitate cross-department teamwork.
You never know, the use of icebreaker games may actually open your eyes to new possibilities within the company when it comes to teamwork and
The more you get to know your teammates on a personal level, the easier it is to effectively communicate with them. This is true for all employees, remote or not.
Weekly virtual icebreaker games increase the frequency of communication between employees, reducing the amount of time it takes to learn individual communication styles.
Learning to communicate effectively and efficiently is vital to productivity. Furthermore, it decreases any chance of misunderstanding or confusion about tasks and expectations.
More efficient virtual team meetings
Starting off a virtual team meeting with an icebreaker is a good idea for several reasons:
- It helps establish a human connection between those in the meeting. This helps avoid the awkwardness and bore factor of starting a meeting with the typical “Thanks for joining me today,” or “You may be wondering why I’ve called you all to this meeting…”
- It’s a great way to ensure everyone partaking in the meeting has a chance to be heard.
- Sets the stage for the overall intention and vibe of the meeting.
- Ice breakers can infuse energy into an otherwise monotonous team meeting.
Try having your remote meetings and Virtual Icebreakers in the Remo space today! Experience seamless, real-time video, audio and chat interaction with your remote team.
When to use Virtual Icebreaker Games
As I said earlier, icebreakers aren’t just for introductions. They are also great for revitalizing remote teams, shaking things up and adding some fun to an otherwise stressful workflow.
As a manager, it’s important to be able to recognize when your team is in a slump. If you notice any of the following signs, it might be time to break out the virtual icebreakers:
- Decreased productivity: Keep an eye out for dips in productivity. It could be a sign that your remote employees are feeling unmotivated, bored, or overly stressed.
- Frequent communication errors: Lack of understanding and miscommunication are the biggest causes of errors amongst remote employees. Often times, having frequent, candid and casual conversations with coworkers can be enough to prevent this from happening. Virtual icebreaker games are great for facilitating this interaction. The more you understand the communication style of your teammates, the less likely you are to get confused about assignments.
- Hostility and conflicts amongst staff: Speaking of miscommunication, it’s far too easy to miss social cues or sarcasm when you don’t know your teammates well. This can lead to unnecessary hurt feelings, animosity
andconflict. Virtual icebreaker games help bring remote employees together in a casual atmosphere where they can get to know each others’ quirks.
- Lack of initiative and involvement, general apathy: If you start to notice a particular remote employee getting more and more distant, take action. Remote work can be very isolating, but it’s your job as a team manager to prevent that from happening to your employees. This sense of isolation can be caused by many different workplace factors:
- Feeling like your voice isn’t heard. Virtual meetings are tough. It’s a lot easier to forget who’s in the room when they aren’t sitting right in front of you. Make sure everyone has a chance to speak at least once during a team meeting. Virtual icebreakers are great for accomplishing this in minimal time. For example, use the first five minutes of a meeting to let everyone share their accomplishments for that week. This is a great way for everyone to feel part of the greater team and get recognition for their achievements.
- Fear: Speaking up can be very scary for a lot of people, especially in large meetings. As a remote worker, it feels incredibly awkward to try and spark up a casual, friendly conversation with someone across the world. So awkward in fact, that many people simply don’t try. Virtual icebreakers are a great way for remote employees to bond with one another without having to feel weird about it.
Tips and Best Practices for Virtual Icebreaker Games
Icebreakers and team building games should help increase productivity rather than take away from it. Here are some tips for ensuring efficiency with virtual icebreaker games:
- Keep it short and sweet: For virtual team meetings, keep your icebreakers to 10-15 minutes or so. You’ve taken employees away from their daily tasks to meet for a reason. Get to the point, and get there quick so everyone can return to completing their assignments.
- Assign a specific day and time slot for icebreaker games: Keeping a consistent schedule for online games and team activities not only creates structure, but it also gives employees something to look forward to each week.
- Allow employees to opt out: Never force your employees to engage in online team building games. You may be forcing them into a situation they aren’t comfortable with. Furthermore, you may actually stunt productivity by pulling an employee away from a task they are currently engaged in, just to play a game.
- Don’t get too personal: Remember to keep your virtual icebreaker games work-friendly. Don’t ask questions that are too sensitive or personal. This can cause discomfort and potential HR issues.
- Be culturally sensitive: The advantage of hiring remote employees is the ability to recruit the best talent, regardless of where they’re located. Be aware of the cultural differences between your employees, and be respectful. Make sure your virtual icebreaker games are all-inclusive and culturally sensitive.
Make it fun!: Ask your remote employees what they want to play. Find out what interests your team to ensure virtual icebreaker games remain fun and productive.
The 11 Best Virtual Icebreaker Games for Remote Teams
The secret to a successful remote company is a strong culture built around shared values and camaraderie. That’s why we’ve created our Virtual Icebreaker Games eBook, complete with the best activities for building strong company culture.
Enter your email below to get the Best Virtual Icebreakers eBook. We’ll send you a downloadable version completely free.
Liz Coffman has worked in the marketing industry for over 8 years. She’s passionate about connecting people to the world around them with resourceful content and innovative ideas.