With social distancing guidelines in full effect, all of your favorite social activities may have shifted to online. This includes movie nights, romantic dinners, and even happy hours. And while for some people, this may have taken away some of the anxieties that IRL interactions cause, for others, it's done the opposite. If you're someone who dreads trying to make conversations in virtual social settings like Zoom happy hours, some big icebreakers could really help. Just remember that everyone is collectively dealing with the stresses of the coronavirus pandemic, and that you're probably not the only one who's feeling a little nervous.
Icebreakers are a great way to start conversations and get yourself and everyone else comfortable. Though social distancing has been going on for a while now, people may still not be used to having interactions solely through virtual settings. It can feel a little awkward talking to coworkers from your bedroom. This is where icebreakers can come in and eliminate any discomfort. You'll get to relax a bit all while learning a little more about the people you're working with.
Here are a few icebreakers you can use in your next Zoom happy hour to make everyone (including yourself) feel a little more at ease.
1. Check Ins
Because everyone is dealing with the anxieties and stresses that coronavirus may be causing, 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 dealing with social distancing and even ask for or offer advice on how to keep busy and stay calm while this plays out.
2. Virtual Room Tours
The cool thing about having a virtual happy hour 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 two, it can put you at ease to share something about your space with others.
3. 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 a super easy environment to relax in.
4. 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 whose done what activity on the board by having people raise their hands. Has anyone else slept in past noon? Baked for fun? Binged an entire season in a day? Bingo!
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 Series You're Currently Binging
Admit it, we're all binging a Netflix series right now. (I'm on my fifth rewatch of New Girl). 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.
7. Favorite 'Tiger King' Character
Speaking of Netflix, Tiger King 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 explode into debate and intrigue. You'll get to discuss one of the best shows to come out of Netflix all while learning about everyone's point of views.
8. First Trip Once All Of This Is Over
A great icebreaker that can get everyone in a slightly happier mood is asking everyone what they want their first trip to be once everything returns to normal in regard to the pandemic. 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. How Many People You're Quarantining With
If you're like me, you have a huge family you're quarantining with (eight!). This could be a really fun fact to share with coworkers during a Zoom happy hour. Share who you're quarantining with, what it's been like, and how you've been handling it.
12. Good Books You're Reading
Aside from binging on 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, what literature they like, and also topic they're interested in.
13. Habits You've Picked Up In Quarantine
With so much time on your hands, it's likely that you've picked up a fun, quirky, or even educational habit. 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.
14. Bets On When Quarantine Will End
I've been debating with my friends since quarantine started about how long it will last. Because the news is always changing, it's super hard to tell. Start a friendly wager or just poll the room to see when people think quarantines will be over.
15. Things You've Baked
People have been taking up baking in quarantine. If this includes you, it could be a fun icebreaker to talk about what you've been baking and what everyone else has been baking. If something sounds good, you can even ask for a recipe.
16. Your Go-To Lounge Wear
While my 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.
17. New Music You've Discovered
You've probably come across some new music while in quarantine. 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. Pet Peeves You've Discovered In Quarantine
It can be super stressful to be quarantined with someone for so long. It can even make you realize you have some pet peeves you never thought about before. Do you hate people who chew loudly? Talk about it to break the ice.
19. 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.
20. Your Go-To Quarantine Snack
Is there a snack that you've been munching on everyday of quarantine? If there is, poll the video chat to see who else may have one. Everyone has probably been eating more than usual in quarantine so you might as well get some inspiration for snacks.
21. What TikToks Have You Made?
A lot of people are taking part in TikTok challenges or just creating TikTok accounts of their own. 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.