When social distancing guidelines came into full effect, many of our favorite social activities may have shifted to online. That included movie nights, romantic dinners, and even happy hours. And while for some people, this took away
some of the anxieties that IRL interactions cause, for others, it did the opposite. While many restrictions are lifting, it seems likely that we’ll be keeping some of our remote work practices, including virtual socials. If the thought still gives you hives, these Zoom icebreakers may really help.
So, what’s the point of a
Zoom icebreaker anyway? Can’t you just say “hi” and get on with it? Well, it’s not always that simple. What if you have nothing to say? Seriously! Sometimes it helps to have an equal rubric to start conversations and get yourself and everyone else comfortable. Plus, it can feel a little awkward talking to coworkers from your bedroom or living room. This is where icebreakers can come in handy; they can eliminate discomfort, and they’re a great leveller, since everyone has to talk to the same topic. Plus, you'll get to relax a bit all while learning more about the people you're working with.
So, here are a few
ice breakers for Zoom meetings you can use to make everyone (including yourself) feel a little more at ease. 1 Check-Ins filadendron/E+/Getty Images
Because everyone is managing anxieties and stresses of their own, it can be a good idea to start off a virtual happy hour with a check-in. Gauge how everyone is doing. See how everyone may be handling life after over a year of
social distancing and even ask for or offer advice on how to keep busy and stay calm while this plays out. 2 Pet Peeves You've Discovered
It can be super stressful to be remote working with a partner. It can even make you realize you have some
pet peeves you never thought about before. Can you not stand it when people chew loudly? Talk about it to break the ice. 3 Your Go-To Lounge Wear
home-attire-of-choice is an old, oversized t-shirt and any pajamas I can find around the house, you might be someone who has specific outfits you're wearing everyday. Are you dressing up at home to get in a busy mindset? Or are you kicking it in boy shorts? See what everyone wears to work from home. 4 New Sleep Schedule
Some people in my family have been sleeping in as late as 5 p.m. and waking up way past noon. Is your
sleep schedule all over the place? This is a topic of conversation that can serve as a great icebreaker because you'll get different answers across the board. 5 I Spy
I Spy is not just for children. Because you can use Gallery View on Zoom that allows you to see everyone's video window at once, a game of I Spy can be really entertaining for everyone involved. If someone has a blue hat in the background or a huge, colorful tapestry, you can try and get others to guess at it. This'll get everyone playing and let you take a good look around everyone's backdrop.
6 Netflix Recommendations
Admit it, we’re probably
all marathoning a Netflix series right now. (I'm on my fifth rewatch of ) A really interesting yet simple icebreaker could be to ask everyone in the video call to say which series they're watching. You'll get to connect with other people based off of mutual taste in shows, and you'll probably get a few great suggestions for your next show to watch. The Queen’s Gambit. 7 Favorite Bridgerton Character
Speaking of Netflix,
is a great way to break the ice at a happy hour. Ask each person who their favorite character is and why, and watch your virtual chat room erupt into debate and intrigue. You'll get to discuss one of the Bridgerton best shows to come out over the last year, all while learning about everyone's points of view ahead of season two. 8 Next Dream Vacation
A great icebreaker that can get everyone in a slightly happier mood is asking everyone where they are planning on travelling to when it’s possible. Has someone been itching to go to Italy? Mexico? Maybe Dubai? Discuss your future travel plans and learn a little more about the people you're virtually drinking with.
9 Hidden Talents
Can you touch your tongue to your nose? Wiggle your ears without touching them? Showing off your totally weird but still very impressive hidden talents can be a wonderful icebreaker that'll not only make your coworkers laugh, but inspire them to show off theirs. Just remember to keep it office-friendly.
10 Self-Care Routine
It's super important to take care of yourself, especially during these unpredictable times. If you have any special practices or routines you use to
pamper yourself, or just make yourself feel good, now's the time to share that. You might even get some more inspiration from your coworkers. 11 Meet The Family
If you're like me, you have a huge family you're living with, and this could be a really fun fact to share with coworkers during a Zoom happy hour. Share who you're living with right now, what you get up to in your downtime, and how you're handling collective remote working.
12 Good Books You're Reading
Aside from marathoning new shows, you've probably burned through
a couple of really good books. Sharing what you like to read is a great icebreaker for people you work with. You can understand people's favorite genres, which authors they like, and what topics they're most interested in. 13 New Habits You've Picked Up
Did you pick up a fun, quirky, or even educational habit in the last year? I've started
listening to podcasts in the morning again. If you've added something to your daily routine, share it with people in your Zoom call. You can see what people are doing at home to spend the time. 15 Things You've Baked
Many people took up
baking over the last year. If this includes you, it could be a fun icebreaker to talk about what you've been baking and maybe even award each design points like The Great British Baking Show. Plus, if something sounds good, you can even ask for a recipe. 16 Two Truths And A Lie
Two Truths and a Lie is like the go-to for a lot of icebreakers, and talking through Zoom doesn't change that. This simple yet entertaining game will not only help you and everyone else to learn more about each other, but it'll also let you assess each other's ability to tell a lie. Plus, you'll be debating together in no time, making it an easy environment to relax in.
17 New Music You've Discovered
You've probably come across
some new music recently. Talk about any music or artists you've discovered. Is there an album you're stuck on? Share it! You might get some awesome new music suggestions from others, as well. 18 Virtual Room Tours
The cool thing about having
virtual happy hours is that everyone is probably in their own respective bedrooms or living areas. This can be a great opportunity for an icebreaker. Give a virtual tour of the room you're calling from or at least point out something fascinating or unique you might have in your room. Whether it's a poster behind you, a souvenir from another country, or that stuffed teddy bear you've had since you were 2 years old, it can put you at ease to share something about your space with others. 19 Social Distancing Bingo
If you've seen the
Instagram social distancing Bingo going around, you can set yourself up for another great icebreaker. No, you don't have to break out a Bingo board, but you can assess who did what in 2020 by having people raise their hands. Has anyone else slept in past noon? Baked for fun? Binged an entire season in a day? Bingo! 20 Your Go-To Secret Snack
Is there a snack that you've been munching on everyday during remote work? If there is, poll the video chat to see who else may have one. You might as well get some inspiration for snacks.
21 What TikToks Have You Made?
A lot of people downloaded
TikTok or took on some of the challenges over the last year. If this is something you'e done and think others have done as well, bring it up as an icebreaker. Maybe there are TikToks that your coworkers haven't done yet but totally want to try. 22 Plan Another Virtual Happy Hour
You may be sick of planning another virtual happy hour, but when the world opens up, chances are, you may miss celebrating the end of the day with your drink of choice in pajama bottoms. So, while you’re celebrating this one, plan your next!
23 The Most Epic Zoom Fail
Chances are, after over a year in self isolation and hundreds of Zoom calls later, you and your coworker have probably had a
“Zoom Fail.” Did your dog pop up on the screen? Did your hubby say something kind of hilarious while you were on-camera? This one will get your coworkers and you laughing. 24 First Restaurant Plans
Ahhhh — nothing sounds better than
being served at a restaurant and absolutely not cooking at home. Chat about your own personal favorites, your coworker's favorites, and maybe you can get a bucket list going. 25 Pet Show & Tell AleksandarGeorgiev/E+/Getty Images
They’ve barked and meowed on camera at probably some of the worst times, but they’re your little fur babies, so you still love ‘em! Have everyone on Zoom with a pet show their animals off on camera for a great Zoom icebreaker. Warning: this may be too adorable for some of the people on Zoom.
26 Favorite Thing About Lockdown
OK sure, the situation for many has been less than ideal. But this past year has made everyone adapt. Chances are, there may
actually be one thing that you Zoom friends liked about the lockdown. Challenge them: they’re not allowed to say “sweatpants!” 27 Plan A Theme Day
If your happy hours are running a little stale, how about you pick a day of the week where everyone has to adhere to a theme? Make a schedule and set some rules. My suggestion? Pop-culture references are always a winner.
28 Take A Personality Quiz
Have you long wondered
what Harry Potter house Sally from accounting is in? Or maybe you want to know your bosses Love Language so you can work out how to earn your way to a top review. Ask people to take the quiz while on Zoom, or take it in advance and share the results together. It can be very revealing. 29 Give Everyone The Time Off
The greatest gift you can give? The gift of a Zoom-free hour when you’re not expecting it. In fact, it might be the happiest hour of all.
Get Even More From Bustle — Sign Up For The Newsletter
From hair trends to relationship advice, our daily newsletter has everything you need to sound like a person who’s on TikTok, even if you aren’t.
Subscribe to our newsletter >
This article was originally published on
April 8, 2020