By Ashley Snodgrass, Executive Account Manager
For so many employees, the thought of coming back to the office evokes a mixture of thoughts of excitement and anxiety. If you’ve been working from home for the past year, can you remember what it is like to be around other people regularly? Work has continued throughout the pandemic, but what about the social aspect of the workplace? In the beginning, many companies, including RISQ, jumped onto the ideas of virtual happy hours or other Zoom events, to try to keep the team spirit of comradery alive.
As you make plans for returning to work and normalizing the office again, consider integrating icebreakers into team meetings. For some employees, being isolated for such a long period of time brings a new sense of social anxiety to the workplace. Perhaps at the next staff meeting, start with a quick icebreaker to get ideas flowing and to help employees get reacquainted with each other.
I should clarify what I mean by the term icebreaker. If you’ve ever been to summer camp as a kid or a new age work conference as an adult, you may be off put by this term which can conjure up memories of embarrassing events, games that push physical boundaries, or discussions crafted to elicit an emotional response. In a professional setting, the best icebreakers are short and allow employees to determine how much or how little to share with the group. Keep it light, keep it professional, and let employees decide the level of participation with which they are most comfortable.
One way that RISQ has included icebreakers into our culture is with new employees. In the Before Times, we’d bring in bagels for a quick breakfast and icebreaker session in the morning. There’s nothing quite like getting to know your new coworkers by learning their name, job title, and what skills they bring to the team in the event of a Zombie Apocalypse.
This post was inspired by a master list of Ice Breakers I came across recently, from The Art of Noticing. I think the toughest part of trying to facilitate some type of Ice Breaker activity is coming up with something thought provoking, but lighthearted, to talk about. I’ve saved this resource to reference for the future, and I hope you find it helpful as well.