Remote working has increased in popularity over recent years as technology evolves, but this form of work presents its own set of complexities. One challenge is building team trust and fostering acceptance in virtual workplaces.
To combat this issue, many employers are turning to virtual diversity and inclusion icebreakers to promote an inclusive and equitable environment among their remote teams.
It includes discussing cultural differences and learning about each other’s personal lives outside work. These activities can provide a space for employees to connect and build lasting relationships with their coworkers.
This post lists seven activities that your remote team can do together to break the ice and create a supportive working atmosphere.
Listed Below Are 7 Virtual Diversity and Inclusion Icebreakers
When it comes to creating a safe, inclusive, and productive virtual working environment, diversity activities and icebreakers are essential tools. Not only do they help build connections between team members in remote settings, but they can also highlight the importance of acceptance and belonging in the workplace.
From trivia games that foster friendly competition to powerful discussions around cultural differences and similarities, there are countless ways to bring more diversity into your virtual teams. Here are seven valuable activities that you can use with your remote staff to advance your business plan:
No 01: Introduce Yourself Around the “Table”
When introducing yourself to your virtual team, there are a few ways to go about it. One way is by having each person introduce themselves in an engaging, interactive way.
This can be done by creating a game of two truths and a lie, where each person presents three statements about themselves, and then the group has to guess which one is not true.
The process is a great way to get to know your teammates better and helps them learn something new about you. Another way to introduce yourself is by sharing a fun fact or something unique about yourself.
No 02: “Cultural Empathy” Discussion
For cultural empathy in virtual teams, everyone needs to have an open and honest dialogue about different cultures and backgrounds. For this discussion to be successful, everyone needs to feel comfortable expressing their thoughts openly without judgment from others on the team.
One activity that can help facilitate this type of discussion is called “cultural mapping” where team members map out important facts that they think characterize their culture or background.
This activity helps create an understanding of different cultures while also promoting empathy toward one another’s differences.
No 03: Ask Me Anything (AMA)
An AMA session with your virtual team is an excellent way for people on the team to become more familiar with each other and learn more about their colleagues’ personal lives and interests.
To start off an AMA session, one member of the team should pose questions to their fellow teammates on topics such as hobbies, life experiences, career goals etc., so that everyone has an opportunity to share more about themselves with the group.
After each individual has been asked questions, they can then ask questions back, allowing for some interesting conversations between members.
No 04: Virtual Trivia Night
Trivia night is always a great way for teams who work remotely to come together both virtually and socially. To host a trivia night, virtually all you need is a video conferencing platform like Zoom or Skype and some trivia questions related to topics that interest your groups, such as history, geography or sports etc.
The trivia night can be divided into rounds so that each participant either works alone or collaborates with other teammates, depending on how much social interaction they want during the game.
No 05: Coffee Mornings
This thing is an excellent diversity icebreaker activity among remote workers as they provide an opportunity for people from different parts of the world who don’t usually get face-to-face time together to connect over coffee (or tea).
During these coffee mornings, all members of the virtual team should take turns introducing themselves briefly, like at any ‘normal’ meeting – explain their role within the company/project, what exactly they do etc.
It would also be beneficial if during these sessions, people have time to discuss non-work topics such as music, books etc., and so that those attending can get better acquainted with each other in addition to sharing work-related insight.
No 06: “Happy Hour” Fridays
Having happy hour on Fridays allows remote teams to spend some time together virtually while enjoying a few drinks. These happy hour sessions could include any number of activities, such as playing games (like charades), mini-pub quizzes, or simply having conversations about current events happening around the world.
These activities will help strengthen team members’ relationships while providing them with valuable insight into functioning within multicultural environments.
No 07: Diversity in Action Exercise
The diversity in action exercise encourages individuals working remotely to come up with creative solutions based on diverse perspectives when presented with various types of problems or scenarios given by facilitators/hosts during online workshops or meetings.
This could include coming up with tasks such as creating mock marketing campaigns featuring characters from different backgrounds/ethnicities/cultures etc.
In this exercise, participants are challenged to think outside the box to identify solutions beyond what may initially come to mind, eliminating potential biases when dealing with diversity & inclusion issues in workplace settings.
Here are some other exciting diversity activities and icebreakers that can benefit your remote team:
#1. Virtual Scavenger Hunt
Assign each team member to go on a virtual scavenger hunt for the most creative or interesting item in their home or workspace. This activity is great for promoting creativity while also encouraging people to think outside the box. It’s also an excellent way to get to know each other’s workspaces better.
#2. Virtual Team Building Exercises
Introduce various group activities that involve discussion-based tasks like forming problem-solving strategies or discussing successful strategies employed by diverse organizations. These activities will help team members understand how different perspectives can lead to positive outcomes when working collaboratively towards common goals.
#3. Remote Mentoring Programs
Establish mentor relationships between experienced staff members from diverse backgrounds with those who are new or need guidance on specific issues related to their work/career development path.
This type of mentorship program is invaluable for guiding while fostering community among employees who would otherwise not interact with each other due to physical distance or lack of knowledge about one another’s cultures/backgrounds/experiences (and vice versa).
#4. Group Sharing Sessions
Create sessions where team members talk about their experiences with racism, discrimination, sexism etc., using storytelling techniques like “the 5 whys,” which helps explore the root causes of issues that we face every day in our workplaces (elevators become uncomfortable conversations).
This kind of dialogue is key for building understanding amongst teams in remote settings as well as helping individuals learn more about themselves and each other through shared stories of lived experiences.
What Are Some Fun Ways to Start a Virtual Meeting?
1) One fun way to start a virtual team meeting is by having everyone introduce their pets. Everyone can take a few minutes to share the species of the pet, its name, and some interesting stories or facts about it.
This icebreaker activity can allow everyone to get to know each other better while also providing a bit of comic relief and lightheartedness.
2) Another great way to begin a virtual team meeting is with an interactive game. This could involve something straightforward like asking everyone to contribute their favorite recipes or trivia questions based on each person’s interests or even more creative activities such as drawing competitions or guessing games using clues about another team member.
These games will help to engage everyone in the meeting and create a sense of camaraderie between members.
3) You can also use this time to get creative with shared activities that foster connection between team members.
For example, you could have everyone join together for a virtual cooking class, play collaborative online video games, or host virtual escape rooms where teams must work together and solves puzzles to “escape” within a certain amount of time.
Not only do these types of group activities encourage collaboration and communication skills, but they can also be fun and provide a much-needed break from the day-to-day tasks of work routines.
4) If you prefer more traditional icebreakers, you can utilize tools like Zoom’s breakout room feature, which allows participants to be separated into smaller groups so they can participate in conversation starters such as “two truths and one lie” or “funny fact sharing”.
These activities are great for allowing people the chance to get familiar with others on the team while playing off one another’s responses for even more lively conversations.
No matter how you choose to kick off your next virtual team meeting, it’s vital that everyone feels engaged and comfortable enough with one another, as this helps lay down the foundation for good working relationships now and in future meetings ahead.
How Do You Celebrate Diversity in a Virtual Workplace?
In a virtual workplace, celebrating diversity is essential for creating an inclusive environment and fostering productive collaboration.
- A great way to start is by introducing inclusive icebreaker activities during the onboarding process that encourages team members to get to know each other on a deeper level, beyond surface details.
- Another way to celebrate diversity in a virtual workplace setting is by allowing employees to learn more about different cultures and nationalities. Providing access to language classes or other cultural classes would also help create an environment of inclusion where everyone feels comfortable speaking their own language or learning something new about another culture.
- Having inclusive policies in place at your workplace can also help celebrate diversity virtually. Ensure that all employees are fairly compensated regardless of their gender identity, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, disability status, etc.
- Provide adequate training on anti-discrimination practices so that everyone understands what is expected of them when engaging in online conversations with team members from varied backgrounds.
- Finally, celebrating diversity virtually should extend beyond just recognizing differences but also recognizing commonalities among team members, such as shared interests or goals. Team members will feel accepted and appreciated for who they are and build a sense of camaraderie, regardless of how different they may be.
Taking steps such as these will ensure that diversity remains not only celebrated within your virtual workplace but actively pursued so everyone has equal opportunities for success regardless of any differences among them.
How Do I Spice Up My Virtual Team Meetings?
When it comes to keeping your virtual team meetings exciting and engaging, it’s essential to mix up the agenda with activities and icebreakers that will get everyone involved.
Meetings Should Be Short
To spice up virtual team meetings, it is essential to keep them short and to the point. One way to do this is by using timers or mini-breaks throughout the meeting. For each mini-break, have the team members take a few moments to discuss a topic related to the current topic, or just have them chat about something fun or interesting they’ve encountered lately.
Listen and Talk At the Same Time
To ensure an equal balance between talking and listening during virtual team meetings, try implementing a “listen first” rule. At the start of each meeting, have everyone pause for one minute and simply listen to what other people are saying without speaking.
This helps give everyone a chance to share their thoughts without interruption, which can be especially helpful for introverted members of the team who might not feel comfortable speaking up in larger group settings.
Make It More Participatory
Virtual team meetings can also be spiced up by adding participatory elements such as polls or quiz questions related to the topic. This can help engage even those who may not always contribute much during virtual meetings since these activities can be fun and interactive while still being relevant to what you’re discussing.
And if you plan ahead you can create custom activities specifically tailored for your team that will be sure to get everyone involved and engaged in the overall conversation.
Use Visual Aids
To ensure all members of your virtual teams stay focused during each meeting, try incorporating visuals such as info graphics or video clips highlighting key points from your discussion topics.
You can keep everyone on track throughout the meeting by including an agenda slide at the beginning so that everyone has structure while still allowing some creative freedom with visuals that could keep people more invested than just texting or talking on a page.
Don’t Forget To Socialize
Leaving time at the end of every virtual team meeting for socializing is essential in keeping morale high despite being remote from one another due to COVID-19 restrictions or other work circumstances.
This doesn’t have to be anything too elaborate; just allow time after discussions wrap up where people can share stories from their week or chat about hobbies outside of work.
Playing Online Team-building Games
One more way to spice up virtual team meetings is to play online team-building games. These activities can be a great way to break the ice, help everyone get to know each other better, and foster collaboration in a fun and engaging way.
There are variously free or low-cost online games designed specifically for team building. Some of the most popular include charades, trivia contests, virtual scavenger hunts, online escape rooms, virtual art projects, and more.
When playing these games with your team, it’s important to ensure everyone is engaged and having fun. To do this, create teams with equal numbers of people who have similar interests or skills so that everyone can contribute equally.
Challenges for Remote Teams
Another great way to add some spice to your virtual meetings is by presenting challenges for remote teams. This could be anything from creating creative solutions to a real-world problem or developing innovative ideas for streamlining processes within your company.
Presenting challenging tasks allows everyone to think outside the box and develop creative solutions together as a team. You can also use these challenges as an opportunity for team members not usually in decision-making roles to take the lead and showcase their skills and experience.
How Diversity Activities and Icebreakers Can Enhance Virtual Team Meetings?
Diversity activities and icebreakers are an essential part of creating a positive and productive virtual team atmosphere. Not only do they promote better communication, but they can also provide opportunities for teams to build trust, foster collaboration, and work together more effectively.
Therefore, considering how meaningful strong relationships are within any professional environment, it would definitely be worth it to try out some diversity activities while hosting remote meetings with your team.
Using the tips above can help you create meaningful and engaging virtual team meetings that will help everyone feel connected, productive, and motivated. By participating in these activities, you’ll be helping to build a more substantial, more inclusive workplace.