12 Connection-Building Icebreaker Activities for Work
Professionals worldwide are feeling a lack of social connection with their colleagues, making icebreaker activities for work that much more important when it comes building bonds that help create happier and more engaged employees.
There’s a pretty significant challenge taking place in the workforce right now: only 31% of people are satisfied with the amount of social connection they have at work and 43% don’t feel a sense of connection with their coworkers at all. And if we told you icebreaker activities for work could be the solution to a challenge this important, you might not believe us—but they can certainly play a big part in solving it.
Icebreaker games help existing colleagues to reconnect and new ones get to know each other better.
And that’s important when you consider the fact that people with good connections are happier, less stressed, and more engaged at work and even physically healthier.
So, we’ve compiled 12 awesome icebreaker activities for work that you can play with your team today.
1. Icebreaker Bingo
Unlike typical Bingo, which involves everyone sitting down and hoping to mark off numbers or words from their boards, Icebreaker Bingo is a bit more social.
In this version, you’ll need to create randomized cards full of personal prompts and questions to distribute to your team.
Rather than staying seated, people will get up and mingle, chatting with their colleagues and finding out more about them.
They’ll have to determine which of their coworkers fits the description of one (or multiple!) of their Bingo squares.
Once a player gets five in a row, they’ll yell “Bingo!” and wins that round. Or, to make the game last a little longer, you can play blackout Bingo where people need to cover their entire board to win.
You can create customized Icebreaker Bingo cards using this template from My Free Bingo Cards.
2. Two Truths and a Lie
There’s a good chance you’ve heard of the game Two Truths and a Lie.
But if not, the premise is pretty simple: each person on your team will be tasked with coming up with three facts. Two of them will be true, and one will be a lie.
Then, the rest of your group will need to decide which ones are which – and you might be surprised by the answers!
It’s an absolutely hilarious icebreaker game for getting to know your colleagues better and discovering fun things about them.
3. Broken Telephone
You might remember the Broken Telephone game from your childhood and, as it turns out, it’s still just as fun as an icebreaker activity for work!
Here’s how to play.
Get your group together, ideally around a conference table or in an open social setting, and elect somebody to start the game.
The person starting the game thinks of a word or phrase and whispers it into the next player’s ear only once, with no repeats allowed.
That listener tries to correctly repeat that same word or phrase into the next player’s ear. The last person in the line or at the end of the circle repeats the phrase or word aloud. Then, the player who started announces the correct word or phrase.
Not only does this make for a good laugh, it also helps your team exercise their communication skills.
If your team can’t get together in person, you’ll love this virtual icebreaker activity for work.
Get to know your colleagues and build better connections with this ultra-social virtual team building activity for remote groups. Your group will learn fun facts about one another as you tackle a series of themed discussion topics together and engage in exploratory conversations.
If you’re looking for ever more ideas for how to build connections on your remote team, check out this list of 35+ virtual team building activity ideas.
5. Hometown Map
If you’re interested in getting to know a bit more about who your colleagues are and where they’re from, Hometown Map is an awesome icebreaker activity for work.
The premise is simple.
Using a real map pinned to your office wall or even just a Google Map of the world, have each member of your team come up and place a pin on the location where they were born and share a few fun facts about that place and their experience growing up there.
If you want to broaden the scope a bit, you can ask people to put a pin in the places where their families are from and to share a bit about those places as well.
Whether you’ve got a big team or a small one, this is a fun and personal icebreaker game to help people get to know each other better.
This game is simple enough to play: split up your team into small groups—between two and four people is ideal.
Then, task them with finding five things they all have in common. But remember, these can’t be super simple things like that they’re all wearing shoes!
Set a timer for each group—10 to 15 minutes should do it. Then, mix up the groups so that everyone gets a chance to connect with everyone else.
7. One Word Story
This is another game you’ll probably remember from being a kid that translates into a pretty amazing icebreaker game for adults as well.
The object of the game is for your team to tell a full, cohesive story—by only contributing one word at a time.
Here’s how it works.
Get all of your colleagues to sit in a circle and elect one person to get the story started. That person starts off with one single word. The person to their right adds another word, and then the next makes their contribution.
You can determine how many times you want to go around the room before the story needs to come to a close. Or, to add an extra dimension of challenge, you can make it so that each person has to repeat all of the previous words in the story before adding their own.
8. Guess Who
Here’s an icebreaker game where the results may surprise you! In this activity, you and your team will need to guess personal trivia about one another.
To play Guess Who, give each team member three slips of paper and ask players to write a fun, unique, or interesting fact about themselves on each.
Then, put all the slips of paper into a bowl, drawing them one at a time and reading them out loud.
Have each player guess who they think it corresponds to before having that team member identify themselves and elaborated on their fact.
This icebreaker activity is a great way to get people to know each other better. And, if you’re looking for even more games like this, check out our list of 27 fun getting to know you activities for work teams.
9. Speed Networking
Who says colleagues can’t network within their existing organization? That’s the premise with Speed Networking!
All you need to do is break your team up into pairs and have them ask each other questions to get to know each other better.
You can let them ask whatever they want, or you can provide them with a list of speed networking questions, like:
- What made you choose this career?
- Did you always know you wanted this type of career?
- What sparked your initial interest?
- What is the most challenging part of your career?
- What is the most rewarding part of your career?
- Do you have any advice for people who want to follow a similar career path?
- What is the most helpful information you’ve learned in your career?
- What hard and soft skills help you succeed the most in your career?
- What do you wish you knew more about?
- Where do you see yourself five years from now?
- Where were you five years ago?
- How can I help you in your career?
- How do you stay organized?
- What tools or software do you use to increase your productivity?
- Do you use a project management software?
- What kind of communication platforms do you use? Email, Slack, instant messaging, etc.
- Do you have any routines that have helped increase your productivity?
- How do you decide which tasks to tackle first?
- Do you make a to-do list every day?
- If so, how do you organize it?
- What’s the best advice you received that has helped you be more productive?
Implement a time limit per round—between 3 and 5 minutes—and then mix up the pairings all over again.
10. Icebreaker Questions
The great thing about team building icebreakers is that you can learn so much about your colleagues in a way that feels natural, light-hearted, and low-pressure.
From their virtual working habits to their favorite foods, personal things about them, or even some hilarious, outside-the-box facts, icebreaker questions are perfect for getting to know each other better.
You can either go through them as a full team or split out into smaller groups to go through them.
Some of our favorite icebreaker questions include:
- What animal represents you?
- What was your dream profession growing up?
- What is something you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t done yet?
- Do you have any family traditions that you look forward to each year?
- Would you like to be famous? In what way?
- What’s your dream car?
- Who in your life has inspired you most?
- If you weren’t in this career, what could you see yourself doing?
- What is one thing on the very top of your bucket list?
- If you’re not from this city, why did you end up here?
- What is your guilty pleasure?
- If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
- What’s the craziest thing you have ever done?
- If you had a million dollars, what would be the first thing you bought?
- What’s your favorite thing about your job?
- What’s something you are really proud of accomplishing?
- What’s something interesting about your family history?
- If you could see one movie again for the first time, what would it be and why?
- You have your own late-night talk show. Who do you invite as your first guest?
- What would the title of your autobiography be?
- What was your favorite band ten years ago?
- If you could be any supernatural creature, what would you be and why?
- If you were a vegetable, what vegetable would you be and why?
- If you had to lose all your memories, which one would want to lose last?
- What are your biggest phobias?
- If you were left on a deserted island with either your worst enemy or no one, which would you choose? Why?
- What would be the most surprising scientific discovery imaginable?
- If you could add anyone to Mount Rushmore who would it be and why?
- If someone offered you a million dollars to give up your smartphone forever, would you do it?
- What’s your cellphone or computer wallpaper?
- If you could have an unlimited supply of one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be any why?
- If you were forced to participate in a flash dance, what song would you perform to and why?
- What’s your favorite plant?
The possibilities are virtually endless! Want even more ideas? Check out our list of 400+ team building icebreaker questions for work.
11. Scavenger Hunts
If your group likes to bond in a more active and outgoing capacity, scavenger hunt team building activities are a great option as icebreaker games. They get your team out to work collaboratively toward a common goal, all while having to communicate effectively and get comfortable with one another.
The Bucket List Hunt
With this team building scavenger hunt, you’ll get to know a little bit more about your colleagues’ wild sides and encourage them to embrace theirs as well.
For this activity, you could make it last a month, three months, or even a full year so that you give people ample opportunity to check items off the list.
Here’s what you need to do.
Create a bucket list full of all kinds of activities. You can even source some of these things from your team to make sure their real-life bucket list items make the cut.
Then, your team will collect photos of themselves doing as many of these items as possible.
Your list could include:
- Climbing a mountain
- Swimming in the ocean
- Taking a hot air balloon ride
- Traveling to a new country
- Playing an instrument
- Building something by hand
- Running a marathon or triathlon
- Taking up a new sport
- Going scuba diving
- Going horseback riding
- Hang gliding
- Bungee jumping
- Giving a presentation
Whatever it may be, you can decide whether your team can include things they’ve already done or if the bucket list items need to be brand-new from the start of the scavenger hunt.
In this scavenger hunt activity, your team can get out of the office and explore your city in a whole new way. Together, your team will need to think outside the box, bond as a group, and venture outside into the community in order to complete a series of fun and unique photo and video challenges.
You’ll need to tackle a list of challenges, including:
- Snap a photo of your team standing next to a large public clock that reads EXACTLY 22 minutes past the hour
- Search for a business that is open 24 hours 7 days a week and snap a photo of a team member with the sign showing the business’ hours
- Snap a photo of a teammate next to a vehicle that has an “antique” or “collectible” license plate
- Head to a nearby playground and take a photo of your entire team balanced on a seesaw. Here’s the catch: everyone’s feet must be off the ground while balanced!
- Find a hopscotch course or use a piece of chalk to create your own on a sidewalk. Record a 5-second video of a teammate hopping and completing it
- Stage a martial arts battle with another team in a nearby park. Record a 5-second video of both teams facing each other (with plenty of space between you) and doing the famous crane kick
The team with the most points when time runs out will be named the winners!
This activity is available in the following formats:
- Hosted: Completely turnkey, you’ll have a live host who coordinates all logistics and runs the event from start to finish.
- Remote-Hosted: When you don’t need an in-person host at the event, you can have a virtual host who will kick off your event, make sure everything is running smoothly, be available for troubleshooting and questions, and then wrap things up for you.
- Self-Hosted: Rather than having a host, our team will give you detailed instructions on everything you need to successfully set up and run the event as well as access to Outback’s proprietary app.
So, you can do your team building activity in the format that works best for you.
With this scavenger hunt activity for work, you won’t even need to create a list of items for your team to find. You simply need to set them loose and ask them to take a photo of a place, object, or person for each letter of the alphabet.
For instance, their B photo might be a bridge, and their T photo might be a train.
This scavenger hunt is fun because it’s extremely open-ended and you can compare photos when your colleagues regroup at the end.
But it also gets interesting because some letters—like X and Z—are more challenging to work with than others.
For even more ideas on how to pick the perfect scavenger hunt for your group, check out these 12 scavenger hunt team building activities for workgroups.
12. Would You Rather
When it comes to getting your colleagues better, there are few ways more efficient (or hilarious) than with would you rather questions.
If you’re unfamiliar with these questions, the premise is pretty straightforward: you ask somebody a question with an either-or outcome, and they have to decide which they’d prefer.
But here’s where it gets good: would you rather questions offer virtually endless possibilities, from thought-provoking and insightful to downright ridiculous.
So, get your team together, rather as one big group or in smaller pairings, to go through some would-you-rather questions together.
Some of our favorites include:
- Would you rather Danny DeVito or Danny Trejo play you in a movie?
- Would you rather watch nothing but Hallmark Christmas movies or nothing but horror movies?
- Would you rather go backstage with your favorite band or be an extra on your favorite TV show?
- Would you rather sip gin with Ryan Reynolds or shoot tequila with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson?
- Would you rather watch nothing but The Office or Friends for the rest of your life?
- Would you rather buy 10 things you don’t need every time you go shopping or always forget the one thing that you need when you go to the store?
- Would you rather never be able to go out during the day or never be able to go out at night?
- Would you rather always have B.O. and not know it or always smell B.O. on everyone else?
- Would you rather spend a week in the forest or a night in a real haunted house?
- Would you rather be 11 feet tall or nine inches tall?
- Would you rather have to wear every shirt inside out or every pair of pants backward?
- Would you rather be always stuck in traffic but find a perfect parking spot or never hit traffic but always take forever to park?
- Would you rather cuddle a koala or pal around with a panda?
- Would you rather be the absolute best at something that no one takes seriously or be average at something well respected?
- Would you rather master every musical instrument or every type of sport?
- Would you rather be punished for a crime you didn’t commit or have someone else take credit for one of your major accomplishments?
- Would you rather eat the same thing for every meal for a year or be able to eat whatever you wanted, but only once every three days?
- Would you rather always be 10 minutes late or always be 20 minutes early?
- Would you rather win the lottery but have to spend it all in one day or triple your current salary forever?
- Would you rather be in history books for something terrible or be forgotten completely after you die?
- Would you rather be rich working a job you hate or poor working a job you love?
- Would you rather eat only pizza for a year or not eat any pizza for five years?
- Would you rather find true love today or win the lottery next year?
- Would you rather be forced to live the same day over and over again for a full year, or take 3 years off the end of your life?
- Would you rather always have wet socks or a small rock in your shoe?
- Would you rather have one wish granted today or 10 wishes granted 20 years from now?
For even more ideas, check out our list of 130+ would you rather questions to use for your next team icebreaker activity.
All around the globe, employees are struggling with a lack of connection with their colleagues. But, by taking proactive initiative to build bonds between coworkers, you can support happier and more engaged employees—and a stronger organization, as a result.
Does your organization do any icebreaker activities at work? If so, let us know what kinds of things you do in the comments section below!
Learn about team building activities for Boss’s Day.
If you’ve got questions about team building activities that can make Boss’s Day even better, reach out to an Employee Engagement Consultant.