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10 Best Virtual Team Icebreakers for 2021

Published February 03, 2021

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Until 2020, virtual and remote teams were still growing in popularity. As many companies continued to balk at the idea of giving remote work a try, the world had other plans.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have been forced to take on their jobs remotely and embrace a whole new way of working in an already confusing and stressful world. As such, as much as some employees might roll their eyes, icebreakers and team building exercises are essential now more than ever.

Why are Virtual Team Icebreakers So Important? 

Having a stronger relationship allows teams to foster trust and communication. Using virtual icebreakers can help anyone, including those who are struggling to figure out how to maintain or build relationships while working remotely. They can help break down barriers and create a more connected environment. It also shows your team that you encourage fun, as long as it’s productive and done in the right ways. 

This is especially important with remote teams, and can often make all the difference in the team’s synchronicity and ability to work together cohesively. Of course, you’ve got to choose the right icebreaker for your team.

Here are 10 of the best to consider. 

1. Scavenger Hunts

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Although these are typically thought of more as in-person events, they can be completely virtual or a hybrid, depending on your goals.

Fortunately, today there are apps like Scavify that have ready-to-go virtual scavenger hunts that you can launch in just a few minutes for your team. The apps also are leaps and bounds above your old fashioned pen and paper scavenger hunt. With Scavify, you can create an adventure filled with snapping photos and videos, checking-in with GPS, trivia, Q&A, finding hidden QR codes, and more.

There are so many ways to go with this, and it’s a great way to get people engaged. You can even find pre-made lists and scavenger hunt ideas online to inspire you. 

2. The “Morning Commute” Shoot

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This one takes a little more work, but it can be fun for everyone. Have your team members make a short introductory video of their morning routine-- what do they do before work?

How’s “traffic” in the playroom? Are the dogs making someone late again? It’s a fun way to get a glimpse into people’s lives and to allow them to feel connected. You can share your videos at the beginning of the meeting and then move into the day’s events. 

3. Two Truths and a Lie

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This is an age-old icebreaker, but it’s one that works great with virtual teams. Ask everyone to write down three things about themselves: two are true, one is a lie. Then, go around the room and share the “facts”. Other team members can vote on which they think is the lie, and once everyone has voted, the player can reveal whether they were right. Feel free to leave time for follow-up questions to crazy stories and fun revelations. 

4. Playing Favorites

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This one’s pretty basic, but it can still be a lot of fun. Have team members answer a list of “favorites”-- their favorite color, villain, noise, and so forth. Choose weirder stuff to ask if you want to make it more interesting, like whether someone eats peas with a spoon or a fork. You can include as few or as many questions as you’d like. 

5. Company Trivia

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Teams might groan a little at this one, but if you design fun questions it’s a great way to make sure everyone knows their company and to get everyone engaged. Ask various trivia questions about the company, including things like when it was founded, how many branches it has, and so forth. You can make questions true/false or multiple choice if you want, too, or just ask for straight answers. 

6. The Salesman

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This is a fun game for sales teams or those who have to do a lot of persuading in their jobs. Even virtually, you can do this game with ease.

Have each employee grab something from their desk or office. Then, give them 10 or 15 minutes to come up with a sales pitch to deliver to the group, along with a ridiculous product name and concept for a seemingly normal device or item. It’s a lot of fun and it works for teams of all sizes. It also helps you gauge where people’s strengths are in their ability to sell and promote your brand. 

7. Get to Know Meme

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Have all of your team members find a meme that best describes them, in general, as a person. It can be serious, silly, fun, or anything that they’d like, as long as it’s family-friendly and safe for work of course. This is fun because everyone loves memes and it can be a creative way to guess what people are trying to tell you about themselves. Alternatively, you can just have people share their favorite memes and have the group vote on a favorite. 

8. Uniquely You

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Everyone says they’re unique, but what really stands out about you? Have each team member find something completely unique about them and something really uncommon. Maybe they took synchronized swimming or studied at clown camp. Who knows what you’ll find? You can have a lot of fun, but this one might need time for stories, too. 

9. Pop Culture Personalities

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Have each team member make a list and write down which TV show or movie character they’d most relate to each person on the team. Then, go around the group and share, one person at a time, and see what people come up with. It’s a great way to see how well your team knows each other and it’s fun to compare notes. 

10. News Intro

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Have everyone join the meeting, and then one at a time, go around and have them introduce themselves as if they’re starting a news segment. For example, they might say, “Hello everyone, this is Jim, reporting live from my couch in Norfolk, where it’s currently 70 degrees and cloudy. Today’s news highlights include the dog hiding my socks and my youngest losing his favorite toy. Back to you, Dave.” It’s silly, fun, and can be a great way to feel more connected to everyone on the team. 

These are just a few ideas to get you started, but you’re sure to have a blast with any of them at your next meeting. Try them out and see which ones your team likes best.

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