How much do you know about your team members? You probably know how they work, their strengths and weaknesses, and what times they’re online and available. But do you know their favorite movie, or where they’re from? How about what artist they listened to the most this year, or their favorite local bakery?
Icebreaker and team building questions aren’t just a great way to have fun and learn silly things about your coworkers—they’re also a key part of increasing team collaboration and team bonding. When you spend time getting to know your teammates as people—and not just employees or coworkers—you’re more likely to trust one another and work better together.
So whether you want to start with some icebreaker games to get to know your new team members, some quirky questions to deepen your bond, or some team building activities to connect with your remote team, try these 110+ ways to do just that.
If you’ve struggled to connect with your team members, you’re not alone. Many teams—especially remote or distributed teams—struggle to balance work with team bonding. But the beauty of team building activities is that they actually increase your productivity by making your team work better together.
Icebreakers are a type of team building activity that focuses on answering fun questions. Icebreakers are especially useful for new team members, and they can be a great addition to the new employee onboarding experience.
Team building activities are a great way to bring employee engagement and camaraderie into your daily work. At Asana, we aim to start each meeting with a quick icebreaker or team building question when we can.
“By opening up an event or meeting with something fun, you're also setting yourself up for a successful, more productive sync. Your drawing eyes back to the screen from where they wandered, and even encouraging future connections and learning among attendees.”
Icebreakers can be especially important for virtual teams. If your team doesn’t see each other in person regularly, use the beginning of your meetings as a time to connect with virtual team members.
“The key to smooth virtual sailing when breaking the ice? Make it as easy as possible (like using the chat box) and engage right back by reading answers aloud, adding interesting morsels to drive conversation, and even answering the question live yourself.”
In this article, we’ve broken down team building activities and icebreaker questions by genre. In general, we recommend starting from the top of a genre and working your way down.
Many of us had to learn how to make working from home work in 2020—but it wasn’t always easy. For new hires especially, the challenge of fully-remote onboarding has taken its toll. In fact, according to the Anatomy of Work Index 2021, nearly 80% of knowledge workers starting a new job during the pandemic had greater feelings of imposter syndrome than previous years.
Connecting with and motivating remote teammates can feel even harder than team building in the office—but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re managing a remote team, try to proactively encourage remote collaboration by incorporating a virtual icebreaker before every meeting.
Getting-to-know-you questions are a fun way to learn more about your teammates. People usually like talking about their past, so these questions can be an easy place to start if your team is new to using icebreaker questions. Plus, knowing where your teammates come from is a great way to start understanding why they are the way they are.
Make sure you aren’t just asking “intense” icebreaker questions—throw some fun into the mix, too! Try some lighthearted questions to open the conversation and help your team warm up to one another. Then, once your team is more connected, you can bust out the more “serious” questions.
Want to make sure you’ve covered your bases? Try some tried-and-true icebreaker questions.
If you’ve tried icebreakers in the past, you may have struggled to come up with truly unique questions. We’ve got you covered. Use these questions to ask your team something they’ve never been asked before.
Whether your teammates love traveling or prefer finding local gems, talking about travel is a great way to take a break from work and get to know your team on a personal level. Travel questions are also a great way to learn more about who your teammates want to be. You can learn a lot from people’s favorite trips and number one travel destinations.
Food and drink icebreaker questions are a great way to dig into your team members’ pasts and preferences. If you’re a team lead—take note! You can always use these preferences to bring a special touch to future team happy hours and celebrations.
In a “would you rather” question, you pose a scenario to your team member and ask them to pick from one of two fun options. These questions are pretty engaging, and they’re a great way to dig deeper into team preferences. To get a good conversation going, ask your team members why they chose the option they did.
Hypothetical questions are things that will probably never come to pass, but can be fun to brainstorm anyways. To take team bonding to the next level, make a game out of explaining your answers in great detail. The team member who commits most passionately wins!
If you have a small team, consider asking more open ended questions and following the discussion where it leads. Instead of being rapid-fire style questions, these questions are designed to spark a conversation among team members.
Icebreaker questions are great because they’re so short—you can throw in an icebreaker before your weekly team meeting to start creating strong team bonds. But to take your team building to the next level, try more involved team building activities, like:
To host a team trivia event, ask each team member to submit trivia questions about themselves. If you’ve never done a trivia night, consider giving them a list of prompts they could answer, like:
The easiest way to turn these questions into a trivia night is to come up with “fake” answers and ask your team to guess which is correct. For example, you could ask: What candy does Brian hate?
Keep track of everyone’s answers during the trivia night. Then, the team member who guesses the most right answers wins a small prize. Maybe they get to host the next team trivia night.
If you’re working from home, you still have plenty of team building opportunities. There are a variety of online games you can play. Usually, these games will have a “room” that everyone joins. Then, get everyone on a Zoom call while you play for some trash talking and encouragement—you know, team building essentials. Try online games like:
Your team building activities don’t always have to revolve around games. Sometimes, it’s fun to just grab a drink and hang out together.
For a fun twist, sign up for a service that mails everyone a cocktail making kit, and then make your cocktails together before enjoying them virtually.
Not all team building activities need to revolve around carefully planned activities. Sometimes, the best way to bond with a team member or group of team members is to grab coffee from a nearby cafe. Take the time to get to know each other outside of a work context, while also enjoying a nice cup of coffee (or tea).
Working virtually? Schedule a virtual coffee chat with a coworker. This is a great excuse to get yourself some specialty coffee or brew your favorite coffee at home.
Nearly 50% of knowledge workers believe engaging and enjoyable work is the #1 factor in achieving their best work in 2021. Team building is a great way to do just that. Build lasting relationships and boost team collaboration with icebreaker questions and team building activities. Or if your team is feeling bold, try inventing your own!
For more tips about how to boost team collaboration, read our article.
10 easy steps to boost team collaboration
The ultimate guide to effortless team collaboration. Try these 10 teamwork tips to increase connection, collaboration, and get more great work done—together.