Icebreakers: Friend or Foe?

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Icebreakers, those quick and simple games and activities designed to help people get to know each other better, have long been a staple of corporate workplaces. They are intended to make people feel more comfortable with each other, build camaraderie and create a sense of community among employees. (Because let’s be honest- foosball tables just don’t quite do the trick!)

But do icebreakers actually work, especially in today's world of remote work and virtual meetings?

How Do Icebreakers Make People Feel?

These games can often be a source of discomfort for many employees. Some people may feel that they are too silly or juvenile, while others may feel self-conscious about participating in front of their coworkers. We all know that anxious feeling that takes you back to elementary school nervously scrambling to think of “two truths and a lie”…

However, icebreakers can also be a source of fun and enjoyment for many employees. They can help to break down barriers and make people feel more relaxed and comfortable with each other. They can also be a way to bring a sense of humor and levity to the workplace, which can help to reduce stress and increase overall job satisfaction. 

How Effective Are Icebreakers?

Despite their potential drawbacks, these activities can be an effective tool for building stronger relationships among employees

Data by BetterUp found that employees who have strong relationships with their colleagues are more likely to feel engaged in their work, and less likely to look for employment opportunities elsewhere, resulting in a 56% increase in overall job performance. This suggests that icebreakers can have a positive impact on employee retention and overall job satisfaction.

However, when it comes to working remotely, icebreaker activities can often result in some awkward Zoom calls.

After all, no one likes a silent Zoom! In order to reduce awkward tension, try creating an icebreaker that others can prepare for. 

Exchanging personal user manuals before a meeting can be a great way to get the ball rolling!

At LLUNA, we often “break the ice” at meetings by asking everyone to share their current work/life mindset. This is a great way to check in with each other without having to come up with answers on the fly, as we already know our answers from updating our personal user manuals! These manuals also tend to help spark up more organic conversation rather than force fun facts.

So, what do you think? Are you a fan of icebreaker games? Would your team benefit from using personal user manuals when it comes to “breaking the ice”?

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