September 26, 2022

Actually fun team building ice breaker games for any work situation

Finding team building ice breaker games that work in hybrid, remote, and in-person offices can be hard. We curated 9 icebreaker ideas to get you started.

When teams are remote, it’s hard to stay connected. Adding part-timers and freelancers into the mix can also make it difficult to build a rapport. These challenges have left leaders grappling with how to effectively lead within the disconnected realities of the new normal. 

 

The good news is that there’s one classic team building tool that just keeps on giving, no matter what the situation: ice breakers.

 

As teams evolve and adapt to different needs, team building ice breaker games can start conversations, build community, and keep your group engaged with one another — at least, the right ice breakers can do that. That’s where this list comes into play.

For even more game ideas, check out our collection of:

Team building ice breaker games for work in any environment

Ice breakers have the potential to be a fun, effective way to bring a group together. The problem is finding good ice breaker ideas that:

 

  1. Don’t involve eye-rolling levels of ridiculousness.
  2. Can adapt to whatever work environment is necessary.

 

We’ve assembled a list of the top ice breaker games that apply to any workspace and are, you know, actually fun.

Find even more ideas for your remote team here.

 

1.  Be a Kid Again

Best for: Learning more about the history of your team members.

 

The first of our get to know you activities is a quick, easy, and intimate way to get your team to open up to one another. 

 

All you have to do is ask each person to quickly share a story about 1 accomplishment that they achieved before they graduated from high school.

 

Try not to add too many guidelines. Instead, see what each person chooses to share. Their choice can reveal a lot about what they care about.

2.  The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

Best for: Prepping for brainstorming meetings.

 

Another of our favorite team building ice breaker activities, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly is a great way to get everyone’s creativity flowing before a meeting. Start by:

 

  1. Setting up a list, column, or other space (virtual workspaces are best for this one, even if you’re in person).
  2. When you’re ready, announce the topic for your actual meeting.
  3. Have everyone write down a handful of the absolute worst ideas they can come up with.
  4. Ask everyone to choose their favorite bad idea.

 

This exercise is a great way to jump-start everyone’s brains …and it sets the bar for “bad ideas” very low, too.

3.  Three Things

Best for: Loosening up before working together.

 

Three things is a simple game that pushes your team to relax and focus at the same time. Have everyone gather together — either remotely via a conference tool like Veertly or in person. When you’re ready:

 

  1. Choose someone to start the game and then ask them to come up with a topic.
  2. Have the next person (either to their left or to the left on the screen) list three things related to that topic as quickly as they can.
  3. Pause for a moment to laugh and acknowledge the success or failure of the response.
  4. Have the second person come up with a topic for the third person in line, and so on.

 

This kind of ice breaker team building activity is a great way to get everyone in the room to relax and engage with one another. It also gets those creative juices flowing!

4.  What Do You Have in Common?

Best for: Team bonding with larger groups.

 

This one is a fun way to bring everyone together if you’re overseeing a larger team — or if your team has a lot of people from different departments and professional backgrounds. For this one, all you have to do is:

 

  1. Split everyone into small groups (usually, around 6 to 10 people per group is best).
  2. Tell everyone they have 10 minutes to find 10 things that they have in common.
  3. Split up (if you’re online, create break-out groups using your video software).
  4. Bring everyone back together and ask them to share 1 or 2 of the most bizarre connections they discovered.

 

This is one of those short and sweet team building get to know you games that encourages your team to connect with one another. Finding common ground is also a great way to cultivate camaraderie on large or more diverse teams.

5.  Guess Who

Best for: Highlighting individual team members.

 

This is another team building get to know you game, except this time, the spotlight isn’t on the whole group. It’s on one mysterious team member at a time. Here’s how it works:

 

  1. Before you have a meeting, have everyone fill out a questionnaire with several interesting but obscure questions (like “what was your favorite band growing up?” or “what is the farthest from home you’ve ever been?”). Get inspo with our list of team building questions.
  2. Ask your team to send their answers to you via email.
  3. When you meet, read someone’s answers aloud one at a time.
  4. See how long it takes for your group to guess who it is.

 

This is a great way to encourage your team to take an interest in each person they’re working with.

6.  The Worst Joke

Best for: Overcoming those awkward first moments.

 

The Worst Joke is one of those ice breaker and team building games that’s free, quick, and easy. It’s perfect for groups that are just meeting for the first time, too. All you have to do is:

 

  • Gather your group and ask everyone to get a pen and paper or open up a spreadsheet.
  • Go around the group and have everyone come up with the worst joke they can think of on the spot.
  • Have everyone grade each joke on a scale from 1 (normal) to 10 (the worst).
  • Vote to see who had the worst joke.

 

This is a great way to steer into the eye-rolling element of many ice breaker games. Rather than putting a serious face on a cheesy activity, make the ridiculousness part of the game itself.

7.  Crowdsource a Story

Best for: Learning to collaborate and communicate as a group.

 

If your group needs a chance to settle in and turn on their brains, this is a good go-to ice breaker option. It also doubles as a quality communication-building activity, in which you:

 

  1. Have someone on your team (or yourself) start a story by coming up with three sentences.
  2. In the third sentence, add a sudden, dramatic twist.
  3. Pass the story off to the next person to do the same.

 

The benefits here are obvious. This is one of those team building ice breaker activities that encourages engagement, communication, collaboration, creativity, and team bonding all at the same time.

8.  Chart Your Own Past

Best for: Gaining a better perspective of your team’s diversity.

 

In this activity, you take another trip into your team’s past. Rather than asking for individual, isolated stories, though, this time you’re going to put everyone’s reminiscences together onto a single timeline by:

 

  1. Asking everyone to share a moment (or more than one if you have a small group) that is important in their life.
  2. Using a timeline builder to place each person on a company timeline.
  3. Reviewing the timeline together to see how close or far apart each team member is from one another.

 

Teams can have dramatic discrepancies in age from one person to the next. Rather than letting this be a factor you need to overcome, use ice breaker team building activities like this one to make it a part of your team’s identity. 

9.  Single Word Culture

Best for: Getting your team to bond as part of your company.

 

There’s nothing better than ice breakers and team building activities that can provide multiple benefits at the same time. In the case of Single Word Culture, you can bring your team together and help them identify with their employer simultaneously.

 

All you need to do is challenge everyone to come up with a single word that defines your company culture. If you have a larger group, feel free to split into smaller groups to make the task more manageable.

 

This is a quick, fun way to start a meeting, but don’t be fooled. It’s also a fantastic form of feedback that you can use to tweak and tailor your company culture in the future, too.

Using ice breaker games for team building

Ice breaker games don’t have to be superficial functions that act like your team is just going through the motions. When used right, you can tap into ice breakers as powerful team building and team bonding activities.

 

This list is full of simple, straightforward, non-embarrassing ice breaker ideas that you can use, regardless of if you’re team building online, in an office, or somewhere in between. Keep it bookmarked and pull it up every time your group needs something light and fun to get the energy going.

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