Getting to know your co-workers? Try these 3 icebreakers
Published: June 10, 2016
Author: Ashley Mo
Getting to know your coworkers at a big agency can be tough when everyone works on different teams and in different offices. When I first joined 3Q’s Chicago office back in July, I didn’t know anyone, so I was determined to change that.
Using my knowledge of icebreakers and community-building activities from my days as a college RA, I started running a few in-office activities. Here are three icebreakers that turned out to be pretty successful.
Even if you’ve been working with the same people for a while, there’s often a lot you still don’t about each other. Guess Who is a great way to embrace the skills and experiences that make everyone in your office unique. Each week you post three facts about one person and then let everyone guess who it is. This isn’t as easy as it sounds, especially with facts like “My friends often tell me I’m stubborn” and “I was a child model”.
Since starting Guess Who, we’ve made a few changes to make the game even more interactive. At the beginning of the week, we post a poll for people to submit their guesses. Using this information, we create a chart of everyone’s guesses (which is sometimes hilariously wrong). I also collect baby photos from the mystery person for the big reveal, which adds more entertainment value.
Do It Yourself: Send out a survey asking everyone to contribute three facts about themselves. Each week, post the facts somewhere visible, e.g. by the water cooler, in a Slack channel, or on the office bulletin board. At the end of the week, reveal who it is via a presentation during an all-hands meeting or post a picture of the mystery person.
Dip Day Competition
Two things you can bet on in any office: food brings people together, and everyone loves a good competition. Food competitions are the best of both worlds. Having a theme like dips gives people an opportunity to get creative. (Other ideas worth trying: chili cook-off, desserts, finger food.)
Not everyone will bring something in, so a good way to keep people involved is giving them a chance to vote for their favorites. Get creative with the prize, e.g. lunch with the CEO, VIP parking spot, or company swag.
Do It Yourself: Send out a Google Doc for people to fill out what they’re bringing so you don’t end up with seven 7-layer dips. Buy tortilla chips, pretzels, veggies, and any other ingredients that can be communal. If there will be prizes, make sure everyone knows what the prizes are beforehand and how voting will work. Send reminders the week before and the day before, so everyone remembers to go the grocery store.
Sometimes the games you play on the first day of 5th grade can still be fun as an adult. For this icebreaker, we created “bingo” boards with different facts that you had to get other people to sign. It’s an easy way to learn what your coworkers like to eat, who knows how to salsa dance, who comes from a big family, and more.
Do It Yourself: Make a list of different facts and experiences you think might apply to a few people in your office. Don’t be afraid to make it personal! Our bingo board was Chicago-themed, so we included facts like Fan of the White Sox, Attended a Second City show, and Walks to Work. Create personalized bingo boards and print them out beforehand.
Have you tried icebreakers similar to these before? Let us know in the comments what activities have been popular in your office.