In the current work environment, more and more teams are operating remotely, which has brought new challenges in building a sense of belonging and internal community. With physical distance separating team members, creating a sense of belonging and internal community is more challenging. However, building and strengthening this community is vital to ensure the team functions cohesively and effectively.
A sense of belonging and internal community promotes teamwork, trust, and collaboration. It creates an environment where team members feel valued, supported, and motivated. This sense of connection can be achieved through various means, such as team-building activities, regular check-ins, and virtual activities.
Investing in various virtual activities is one of the best ways to foster social interactions for your remote teams. One cool way is to use virtual icebreakers.
Virtual icebreakers allow you a chance to bring teams together and create a fun and engaging virtual environment. They help team members get to know each other better and allow them to bond over shared interests and experiences.
In this article, we’ll provide expert advice on strengthening your internal community by sharing five virtual icebreakers that can help your team bond and develop a deeper sense of connection. Whether you’re a team leader or a team member, these icebreakers are easy to implement and can make a big difference in creating a positive and engaging remote work culture.
Have a Round of Icebreaker Questions
Building a strong internal community is important not just for remote teams but also for new hires. Starting a new job can be intimidating and overwhelming, especially remotely. New hires need to feel welcome and connected to their colleagues to integrate into the team and perform their job duties effectively.
When you’ve hired any new employee, you need to be open to trusting and collaborating with them. Ensuring you can trust and collaborate with them should be something you confirm during the initial interviews and onboarding process. Another part of establishing that trust and collaboration is to ensure that the other members of the team feel the same way about the new hire as well.
One effective way to help new hires feel welcome is by incorporating icebreaker questions into team meetings. These questions can be as simple as “What did you do over the weekend?” or “What’s your favorite book?” Icebreaker questions encourage team members to share personal information about themselves, which can help build trust and create a sense of belonging.
Icebreaker questions can also help new hires learn about their colleagues’ interests and hobbies, which can help them build stronger relationships with their teammates. When team members share common interests or hobbies, It means they have something to bond over. This can lead to more productive and enjoyable work relationships.
Moreover, icebreaker questions are an effective way to break down barriers and encourage open communication. When team members feel comfortable sharing personal information about themselves, they are likely to communicate effectively with their colleagues. This can lead to more effective collaboration and problem-solving, ultimately benefiting the team’s productivity and success.
Here are some tips on how to facilitate icebreaker activities:
- Assign small groups or pairs: Divide your team into smaller groups and assign specific icebreaker questions to answer. This can make the activity less intimidating for team members who may be uncomfortable sharing personal information in a larger group.
- Use a virtual platform: Virtual platforms such as Bevy provide interactive community tools to make icebreaker activities more engaging. For example, you can use Bevy’s breakout rooms to host interactive virtual events.
- Set clear guidelines: Before starting the icebreaker activity, be sure to set clear guidelines and expectations for participation. Let team members know that sharing personal information is optional and that they can opt out if they feel uncomfortable. Also, ensure that everyone has a chance to participate and that no one dominates the conversation.
- Keep it simple: Icebreaker activities needn’t be complicated to be effective. Simple questions such as “What’s your favorite movie?” or “What’s your favorite food?” can be a great way to encourage team members to share personal information.
Have Everyone Make a One-Minute Introduction
Allowing each team member to make a short introduction is an effective way to build relationships and connections between team members, especially in a new team or with new hires. It can be as simple as each team member taking turns introducing themselves to the group and sharing basic information about themselves, such as:
- Job Title
- One fun fact
- One personal interest or a hobby
By making just a one-minute introduction, team members can get to know each other on a personal level and find common ground, which can improve collaboration and team dynamics. It can also help to break the ice and create a more relaxed and friendly atmosphere within the team.
To facilitate this activity, team members can take turns introducing themselves in a group video call or in a chat or messaging app. They can be given a specific time limit, such as one minute, to keep the introductions brief and focused. Providing some prompts or guidelines can also help team members prepare their introductions and ensure that they cover the key information.
This activity can also be adapted to focus on specific topics or themes, such as work experience or personal interests. For example, team members can be asked to share their favorite hobby or a recent vacation, which can help spark conversations and build connections between team members.
This is a simple yet effective way to build relationships and connections between team members. It allows team members to get to know each other personally, find common ground, and create a more relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
Play an Icebreaker Game
Playing an icebreaker game can be a fun and engaging way to build stronger connections within a team. Icebreaker games are designed to break down barriers, encourage communication, and create a positive and relaxed atmosphere that promotes teamwork and collaboration.
There are many icebreaker games to play. Choosing the right game depends on the size and composition of your team and the goals you hope to achieve. One popular icebreaker game is “Two Truths and a Lie.”
In this game, each team member shares three statements about themselves – two true statements and one false statement. The other team members then try to guess which statement is the lie. This game can be a great way to learn more about each other and encourage communication.
Another icebreaker game is “Company Trivia.” In this game, teams compete to answer questions about the company, its history, and its products or services. This game can be fun to test team members’ knowledge and promote teamwork and collaboration. In such a game, you can also offer prices to encourage team members to participate enthusiastically.
It also helps to modify icebreaker games to focus on building stronger connections within the team. Instead of focusing on general knowledge, consider creating a game that encourages team members to share personal stories or experiences that have shaped who they are today.
For example, you could play a game called “Storytime,” where each team member shares a personal story about a time when they overcame a challenge or learned an important lesson. This would allow team members to get to know each other on a deeper level.
Another trick is letting the team members suggest the games they want to be featured. It could be anything from virtual book clubs, cooking challenges, or team workouts. This encourages them to contribute and build bonds in the process.
Do a Show-and-Tell Demonstration
A show-and-tell is not just for children; it can be an effective way to promote communication, collaboration, and teamwork within a team. This activity involves team members sharing an object or item that is important to them and explaining why it is significant. This can be centered around a specific theme or topic relevant to your team or company.
For example, if your team is working on a project related to environmental sustainability, you could have team members bring in an object that represents their commitment to environmental causes. This could include a reusable water bottle, a plant, or a picture of a favorite nature spot.
This would encourage team members to share their experiences, knowledge, and skills on a particular topic and help build a sense of community and collaboration among team members.
It’s important to emphasize active listening and engagement among team members during the show-and-tell demonstration to promote a supportive and inclusive environment. Team members should be encouraged to ask questions, offer feedback, and share their own experiences related to the topic. Participating and listening attentively can foster a sense of openness and trust within the team and promote a collaborative and supportive environment.
Have Everyone Share Their Workspaces
Another underrated way to build a sense of community and connection within a team, especially in a virtual work environment, is by having employees share their workspaces. This activity involves team members taking a few minutes to show their colleagues where they work and explaining how they have set up their workspace.
By sharing their workspaces, team members can gain insight into each other’s working conditions and learn more about each other’s personalities and preferences. This can help team members understand and appreciate their teammates’ work styles and improve communication and collaboration.
To facilitate this activity, team members can take turns sharing their workspaces on a video call or through photos or videos shared in a chat or messaging app. They can also explain briefly why they have set up their workspace in a particular way, highlight any important items or tools they use, and share any tips or tricks they have learned for staying productive and focused.
This activity can also be adapted to focus on specific aspects of workspaces, such as organization or decoration. For example, team members can be asked to share their favorite organizational tools or show how they have decorated their workspace to make it more comfortable and inspiring.
Having everyone share their workspaces is a fun and engaging way to build a sense of community and connection within a team. It allows team members to gain insight into each other’s working conditions, personalities, and preferences, which can improve communication, collaboration, and overall team dynamics.
In today’s virtual work environment, building relationships and connections between team members are more important than ever. Employees work away from their teams and thus can easily fall off and forget about their work relationships.
Icebreakers are a simple but effective way to bring your team together and help them get to know each other on a deeper level. Team members can break down barriers and foster a sense of community and collaboration by engaging in activities such as one-minute introductions, icebreaker games, show-and-tell demonstrations, and workspace sharing.
When team members feel comfortable with each other, they are more likely to communicate effectively and share ideas to achieve shared goals. Additionally, by promoting active listening, engagement, and inclusivity during icebreaker activities, you can create a positive and supportive team dynamic that can increase job satisfaction and productivity.
So, don’t underestimate the power of icebreakers in building a strong internal community – they may just be the key to unlocking your team’s full potential.
Why not give it a try and start using icebreakers to strengthen your internal community today?