Whether it’s with a group of co-workers, a sports team or a volunteer organization, team building activities can provide a significant boost to the productivity, effectiveness and satisfaction of your group. Escape rooms, which have surged in popularity over the past several years, are an ideal destination for team-building efforts due to the mix of fun, challenge and cooperation they inspire. Read on to learn more about how your group can benefit from an escape room outing for team building.
Get to know your teammates
An escape room is a perfect place to get up close and personal with the people you work with, especially those you rarely interact with beyond a smile and a nod in the hallway. With everyone focused on achieving a common goal—solving the puzzle—there’s no time to let shyness or awkwardness get in the way of talking to each other. Every single team member’s participation is essential to escape room success, so you can’t avoid people you don’t know well. Challenging team-building activities also have a way of bringing people out of their shell, so you may discover that seemingly shy Barb from Accounting has a fantastic sense of humor or that Brian the CFO has a nearly encyclopedic knowledge of 20th-century jazz.
Discover strengths and weaknesses
By nature, team-building activities are designed to reveal strengths and weaknesses in ourselves as well as others. Working together to solve an escape room provides a low-stakes crucible in which those traits are brought to the fore. Natural leaders may emerge, while other team members do better taking direction to pursue a specific task. You might discover that your group’s ability to communicate is lacking, giving you invaluable insight for improving the team’s performance back at the office. One team member might excel at spotting small but significant details, while another is best suited for managing the big picture. Everyone brings a unique mix of abilities and liabilities to the table, and escape rooms can help you learn to blend them effectively for a successful outcome.
Improve your communication
Escape room veterans and game guides agree that good communication is the most important predictor of success. If everyone on your team works independently for most of the game, you’ll never figure out how to put the pieces together to solve the puzzle. The key is communicating early and often: let your teammates know what you’ve found to prevent duplicate efforts; share your insights about clues and get feedback from your fellow gamers about what direction to head next. These communication skills translate directly to the workplace, whether you’re working together on a major presentation for a client or developing strategic goals for the year ahead.
Establish trust via team building
Escape rooms provide a low-risk environment for building trust with your teammates. If you allow yourself to depend on others to help you piece together clues and still come up short, the consequences are trivial—and chances are, your colleagues will come through for you when given the chance, especially when the mutual success of the group depends on it. Taking a leap of faith in the escape room may make it easier to do the same thing in the boardroom, setting the stage for even greater achievements.
Learn to handle success and failure together
Escape rooms make it clear that when you’re working with a team, everyone rises and falls together. No one gets out of the room alone—it’s either everyone or no one. In highly competitive workplaces, we are too often conditioned to look out for ourselves at the expense of the group. Ironically, this mindset can be just as detrimental at the office as it is in an escape room. The fast-paced challenge of the escape room forces team members to collaborate, communicate and stay focused on the communal goal. If you succeed in escaping, you get to celebrate together; if you fail to complete the challenge, the responsibility is also shared.
Make memories while team building
Most importantly, team-building activities are designed to be an opportunity to get out of the office, shed stress and have fun. Don’t take the game—or yourself—too seriously. Take time to laugh, acknowledge your colleagues’ strengths and enjoy the mental and emotional stimulation the escape room provides. This shared positive experience will build feelings of goodwill among your teammates that can help you handle future workplace challenges with more grace, patience and professionalism.