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When you think of icebreakers, you may think of awkward games you were forced to play as a kid, but using icebreakers in your office actually has proven benefits related to team success, relationships, communication, and belonging.
Icebreakers are fun activities that are meant to help people in a group learn about one another and feel more comfortable together through things like team building exercises and games. Believe it or not, icebreakers also don’t have to feel forced, and they can truly be fun and help you get to know new people.
Why Use Icebreakers?
Simply put, icebreakers are the easiest team building exercises you can do in your office and are proven to help foster better working relationships, communication, productivity, and culture. While general team building shows employees that you care about their well-being and helps create a positive work environment, icebreakers are a fantastic way to enhance employee relationships, help onboard new employees, and increase everyone’s sense of belonging and comfort at work.
According to researchers at Drexel College, there is a direct correlation between using icebreakers in an office setting and an employee’s sense of belonging, empathy for others, and it helps promote positive, respectful interaction. Employees cannot do their best work without first feeling safe and valued at work.
Despite that, a report from Gusto found that over 80 percent of employees believe that a sense of community is important when it comes to building a successful workplace culture, but less than one-third of workplaces engage in even simple team building activities such as icebreakers or company lunches.
Icebreakers For All
Icebreakers today are probably much the same as the ones you played as a child, no matter how old you are. From “Heads Up Seven Up” to “Two Truths and One Lie”, these games remain popular for children and adults today and can be used to help facilitate more communication and respect within your work environment.
Besides common icebreakers like charades, name games, and 21 questions (which are still great), professionals should get creative and research some lesser-known activities that are still feasible for your workplace such as creative games like office scavenger hunts. Just remember, icebreakers are meant to be fun, so make sure you’re being inclusive of your audience, and everybody is able to participate.
Because employees are not in-person, classic icebreakers like “The Human Knot” aren’t possible. But being virtual doesn’t limitthe number of options you have; it actually increases it. Virtual teams can use chatrooms on Zoom, Teams, and other meeting platforms to tell stories with just emojis, play games with pictures such as “Guess That City,” play trivia, or even take online polls. Any activity that facilitates interaction between employees is possible to be conducted remotely and can help employees get to know each other, build respect for one another, and create more meaningful relationships.
Icebreakers aren’t all fun and games and can play a crucial role in professional settings by helping your workplace foster a sense of community, respect, and friendship, resulting in more productive and profitable teams. While they are particularly useful when it comes to individuals who don’t know each other very well, they can also be used to enhance a team’s sense of connection andhelp create a sense of well-being at work.
Kokomo24/7® is a leader in compliance and risk management solutions for all things health and safety. Founded in 2018, Kokomo24/7® has a significant track record across Fortune 1000 companies as well as public-sector clients like the Los Angeles Unified School District and Chicago Public Schools. Ask us about the time we helped host the Oscars!