Team Building with Escape Rooms
Actively Engaged Employees are critical for positive business outcomes.
Teams are becoming more diverse now more than ever. It’s always important to keep team cohesion high as new members join or leave and one of the best ways to keep highly talented people on your team is through engagement. Engaged employees make up for happier teams, and happier teams lead to more positive outcomes for businesses.
According to Gallup, businesses are reporting higher levels of team engagement than ever before which is leading to a new revolution of making the workplace more fun. On the flip side of a nationwide high “active engagement” of 34% of employees, there is a record of 16% that are “actively disengaged”. The difference between engaged and disengaged is staggering when looked at a company-wide scale. Engaged employees continually put higher effort into their work and are more willing to be a team player when times are hard. Disengaged staff are more likely to put in minimum effort and clock off as soon as possible, these are also typically the people that will leave their team for slightly better offerings.
Being an engaged employee has a variety of benefits for organizations, but how to foster an environment to encourage employee engagement is both difficult and a mouthful! SHRM has a great article on developing and sustaining Employee Engagement that management and HR leaders should take a look at. In their conclusions, SHRM claims that highly engaged employees could significantly increase employee retention through productivity and overall loyalty.
Team building activities are important for fostering Actively Engaged Employees
There are a number of factors that drive employee engagement from the organizational and management levels. The key idea here is that happier employees lead to better team performance.
By using appropriate team building games you can expect to see improvements in individual moral and overall team cohesion. It’s a spectacular sight to see a new team member experience their first off-site with their new team and actively participate with each other. Not only that but individuals get to enjoy company-sponsored events and feel appreciated which leads to even further engagement.
Escape Rooms for team-building is a match made in heaven!
Escape Rooms team-building events could be some of the best ways of actively engaging your team. In these 60 minute adventures your team gets to reinforce skills essential for every business, all the while building trust with each other and having fun doing it!
If you have never played an escape game before, check out another article we wrote about what exactly are escape rooms.
Using an escape room for your next off-site is a unique way to focus on:
1. Critical Thinking
Thinking outside the box is useful for organizations that need individuals with rapid-fire problem solving skills. ERs always test your ability to decipher cryptic information and apply it in new and exciting ways
ERs are built to not be solvable by just one person. This means that teams have to talk through their problems and offer any information they have to each other if they want to win.
While inside the room there will be a variety of information and it might not be clear what the best direction or next step is. Oftentimes we see individuals that don’t have an active leadership role in the company shine by offering guidance to others.
Typical office dynamics are not at play here. The manager of a firm may not have the slightest clue what the next step is, where the new hire might have a brilliant idea on how to solve the next puzzle.
4. Time Management
Managing your time in an escape room is critical. There have been so many times where players lose track of time and find out they only have 10 minutes left! Team that focus on managing the clock typically have a higher success rate.
Hesitations and myths about escape rooms
Escape rooms are still a young industry and most people have never played one before. Since this is a much newer form of team building than drinks at a bar or bowling there is an understandable hesitation to trying out something so new.
We recently wrote an article asking if Escape Rooms are scary. Here are some rapid-fire FAQs:
- Am I locked in a room?
The vast majority of American escape rooms do not physically lock you in a room. Most oftentimes the goal is to not actually escape the room but to achieve a goal like steal the diamond from a mob-run casino. Check with the business about whether they lock their doors.
2. Is it scary?
This depends on what themes they offer. If they have “Return of Charles Manson” it will probably be scary. If there is an Alice in Wonderland or nuclear submarine theme you will probably be in the clear! Always ask about what kind of themes their rooms have before booking to make sure your team plays something everyone can enjoy.
3. What if someone is claustrophobic?
Most escapes are the same size as a normal office or bedroom. We have had a number of players that cautiously ask if this activity is right for them. Most of that hesitation goes away when they enter the room and see how large it is. We have even offered to keep the exit door propped open!
4. Are escape room dangerous?
No. The point of escape rooms is not to put people in danger.
Know there are different ways of escaping with your team!
Virtual Escape Rooms
Organizations that are still meeting virtually will be delighted to know that virtual escape rooms are now a thing! Using this website you can browse escape rooms from around the world and find the perfect room for your team. Now these games are not necessarily the same as an in-person experience event, but are a great solution for virtual team building. Expect a lower cost than a traditional room and something more convenient since there is no need to coordinate transportation.
Play-At-Office Escape Rooms
Escape Crates are a great solution for teams that can’t take more than an hour away from the office. As long as you have a conference room or breakroom with enough space for everyone to gather around you can get a similar escape room experience only delivered! Check with your local escape room to see if they offer an equivalent service.
You may want for something a little more than just escape room fun. Many businesses will offer an interactive workshop that dissects what exactly happened in the escape room. We like to make our workshops be player-led with discussions as to what went right (and wrong) in the escape room session, and how everything relates back to the workplace! You can learn more on this page.
Other ways to spice up the escape room experience for team bonding:
Splitting up the team
Escape rooms will have a capacity of up to 6-8 players at a time for each room. If your team is larger than 8 you may need to split up and play two themes. Playing two rooms means that each team will get a different experience and new takeaways that they can share with each other. Purposefully choosing escape room team composition can lead to interesting insights as to new team dynamics you wouldn’t normally see in the workplace.
Competing for the best time in the room
If you have competitive staff you may want to encourage some healthy competition between teams by encouraging them to get out faster!
Alternatively, the team that uses the least amount of clues
This strategy can still lead to higher engagement but in a different way. Instead of getting out as fast as you can, get out with as little help from the staff as possible. It’s an interesting take and focuses even more on the critical thinking skills featured in escape rooms.
Implement new leadership dynamics
Encouraging someone on your team to take the lead in the room before playing can lead to new takeaways. As long as no one is an escape room enthusiasts, everyone will have roughly equal-footing when they play the game. Even if they have played a few rooms before, you can never know exactly what kinds of puzzles or riddles will be inside the room. Designating someone that isn’t normally in a leadership role will lead to new dynamics for your org!
Observe your team while they play!
Ask ahead of time and the escape room business may let you watch your teams play. The staff there will let you know the next steps your team will need, and give some insight to your team's overall performance. This is a totally unique and fun experience which you should take if it's an option!
Escape Room Team building
Escape Rooms are uniquely perfect to host your next team building activity. They will lead to much more interesting ways of getting team bonding and higher degrees of actively engaged staff. Visit your local escape rooms website to see if they would be a good fit for your teams next off-site adventure!