TLDR; escape rooms are a thrilling, memorable activity that pits the entire team against a shared challenge.
While searching for innovative and memorable team building activities, you’ve almost certainly heard claims like…
“Escape rooms are Grade A AWESOME for team building”, or
“We did an escape room for our last team bonding event…and we’re planning on doing another escape room for the next one”
But before you join the bandwagon, you might be wondering…
Gif via giphy.
“Are escape rooms really that good for an office team building event?”
“How can something based on Can you escape the serial killer’s lair in time? (a typical escape room theme) be a good fit for a corporate event?”
As a venue for multiple successful team bonding events, we hear questions and objections like these all the time. Many of these concerns stem from myths about team building that we often address.
Which is why we sat down to list out for you…
15 reasons that make escape rooms an absolutely kick-ass team building activity
Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay.
Based on our own experience playing escape rooms, hosting group events, and receiving feedback from players, here’s the one-line explanation:
Escape rooms are a great team-building activity as they entice every single participant into putting their hearts into achieving a shared goal - finding the way out within 60 minutes. Their unique appeal for corporate events lies in their immersive nature and adaptability for various event sizes and objectives.
Now let’s break that down and explore 15 reasons why escape room games make for amazing team building activities.
They move people out of the office.
They’re a thrilling experience.
They encourage good time management.
They can also teach task management.
They build on-the-spot problem-solving capacity.
They encourage firm decision-making.
They bring out strengths and weaknesses.
They build team spirit.
They build trust.
They identify natural leaders.
They give you the drive to overcome challenges, especially when you're participating in some of the best team-building activities in and around The Loop.
You can choose from a variety of themes.
They’re inclusive, including for teenagers in Chicago. Inclusive…as in you require very little specialized knowledge and very few specialized skills to take part in an escape room game.
They’re very convenient!
They move people out of the office
Image by Pexels from Pixabay.
A change of scenery does a world of good, and there are numerous reasons why you should have team events away from the workplace.
At its best, the office is a place that you attend daily…and in a lot of cases it’s the place where at some point or another team members have had disagreements and squabbles.
A different setting - especially one that’s set up to resemble a thrilling storyline (like a military bunker) will prove an effective incentive at building camaraderie amongst team members.
(Of course, if you’d rather have the event at your workplace, Fox in a Box Chicago can bring the event to you!)
They’re a thrilling experience
An escape room team building event is not just a change of scenery; it’s a thrilling exercise that will provoke team members into actively taking part.
That military bunker escape room I referred to just now?
The objective of the game is to prevent a catastrophic world war by stopping a deadly missile strike. All within 60 minutes.
Isn’t that something that your team would prefer over “inspirational speeches” or “know your teammates” sessions? You tell me.
They encourage good time management
Image by Nile from Pixabay.
Like I said, the bunker escape room needs players to avert the missile strike within 60 minutes. Another of our escape rooms requires players to break out of a maximum security prison, within 60 minutes.
The time limit - finish your escape game within 60 minutes - is an intrinsic part of an escape room experience, which encourages players to master time management.
Players will have to consider aspects like…
How can they save time on finding clues?
How much time should a player spend on a puzzle or a clue before calling for help from the others?
All of which improve their time management skills.
They can also teach task management
Can a particularly tricky puzzle be broken down into components that different team members can tackle?
When there’s a choice, which task should be tackled first?
If there’s a mechanical or a physical aspect to a task, how best can it be handled to give team members the visual, auditory and other clues they need to do it?
Escape room games are designed to frequently confront teams with such questions.
And I think you can see where I’m going with this.
When there’s a complex project to be completed, particularly within a deadline, effective task management becomes an indispensable workplace skill.
They build on-the-spot problem solving capacity
Unlike a test, an escape room isn’t something you can prepare for.
Whatever you do, from spotting a difficult-to-spot clue, to innovating a quirky solution to a puzzle, has to be done on the spot.
And that’s how escape rooms build capacity for on-the-spot problem solving, which can come in very useful in an office environment.
They encourage firm decision making
Gif via giphy.
Think about this question:
How much time should a player spend on a puzzle before calling for help from the others?
It’s calling for the player to make a decision.
If different people are tackling different puzzles or clues, a player might feel awkward asking for help from the others.
However, in the interests of helping the team move forward, he or she would have to take a decision on asking for help, or risk losing time.
This is just one scenario wherein an escape room game can encourage firm decision making.
They bring out strengths and weaknesses
We’ve been talking about different members of the team tackling different tasks in an escape room.
This can bring out some of the strengths and weaknesses of the various team members.
Someone that doesn’t usually make their mark in workplace discussions might end up solving the toughest puzzle.
The person you considered to have a knack for keeping track of stuff and keeping everyone on their toes might end up crumbling under pressure.
These can give you insight into team dynamics, helping you allocate work and responsibilities better.
They build team spirit
Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay.
The way we see it, “team spirit” isn’t just about working together.
It’s about camaraderie. It’s about empathy. It’s about having a sense of belonging.
Someone’s crumbling under the pressure? Actively encourage them.
Someone can’t keep up with clues and stuff? Ask them to keep track of the time and shout warnings at regular intervals.
In an escape room, there’s a role for everybody, and every player is valued. That’s how good team bonding takes place.
They build trust
Trust falls will only take you so far in building trust amongst team members.
Exposing the team to an uncertain environment like an escape room will let them see for themselves to what extent they have each other’s backs in a crunch situation…and teach them the value of having that trust.
They identify natural leaders
Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay.
The way an escape room works is that you’re given your mission briefing by the game master, and led into the room.
And then the clock starts ticking, and you’re on your own. For those new to this, there are a few things you should know before playing an escape room.
There’s no signpost saying “Start Here”, or “Do This To Start”. A highly uncertain situation.
This is where, driven by the excitement of the mission, natural leaders will emerge, taking charge and deciding how to proceed.
They encourage free communication among players
Clear and constant communication can help team members be on the same page, avoid going down rabbit holes, and duplicating work.
But in the workplace, where it’s mostly tasks and deadlines you’re talking about, communication amongst team members might start to weaken.
On the other hand, faced with finding their way out within 60 minutes, team members will start communicating on their own in an escape room.
No idea is too ridiculous to keep to oneself. No concern is misplaced. The urgency breaks down barriers and drives free communication.
They give you the drive to overcome challenges
Gif via giphy.
The exciting nature of the activity, the feeling of your team depending on you, and the reality of the clock ticking down can be great motivators to overcome whatever challenges an individual player might be facing.
Going from “this is tricky; can I do it?” to “I HAVE to do this, else we’ll get stuck” is no mean achievement, and will go a long way towards building your team to overcoming stumbling blocks and getting things done.
You can choose from a variety of themes
Here at Fox in a Box Chicago, you have four on-site escape rooms, plus a fifth portable game that's available on request. And you can also send our adventures as a gift to your employees.
And when we say five escape rooms, we don’t mean five copies (or near-copies) of the same game, just with different names.
One of our games is set in a bank, and requires you to conduct a heist.
Another is set in a lair in which you match wits with a serial killer.
A third is set in a maximum security prison that you need to break out of. And so on.
As you can see, the themes are highly diverse, and chosen to appeal to different people. And to deepen the experience you can set a fitting team name.
Inclusive…as in you require very little specialized knowledge and very few specialized skills to take part in an escape room game.
Sure, it might help if you know some Roman numerals, and your hand-eye coordination is good, but that’s about it.
Almost anybody can take part!
They’re very convenient!
Image by Click on, consider. Thank you! from Pixabay.
If you do everything by yourself, organizing a team building event can rapidly spin out of control.
You have to book the venue, list out events, arrange for food and drinks, and on and on.
Whereas, with an escape room team building event, all you have to do is make a team building event booking, and then the escape room does the rest!
For example, our Chicago team building event entitles you to:
An awesome activity for up to a hundred people.
You can travel to our Dearborn Galleria location or we can travel to your site.
Food and drink packages including appetizers, open bar , and so on.
A comprehensive partial retreat that we’ll put together, working with an organizational psychologist.
All-inclusive, simple pricing.
All of that - on us.
All you gotta do is make the booking.
They help alleviate stress
Engaging in an escape room is not just about solving puzzles; it's a unique approach to stress management.
Participants momentarily leave behind daily pressures, immersing themselves in a captivating narrative.
This brief detachment offers a mental respite, allowing players to reset. The adrenaline rush, combined with the joy of problem-solving, acts as a stress buster.
Shared laughter and camaraderie in tackling challenges head-on further enhance the stress-relieving benefits, making escape rooms a therapeutic experience.
15 reasons escape rooms are awesome for team building - a final word
Gif via giphy.
Here’s the Cliff Notes version:
Escape room games are thrilling and memorable activities that incite every single player into taking part wholeheartedly.
And they are designed in such a way that they challenge the participants to unleash their full effort in a variety of skills like collaboration, time management, decision taking, and so on.
Moreover, the thrilling and countdown (as in time limit) aspects of escape games force players to break through personal inhibitions and barriers in the interest of the team.
And, they’re convenient to set up.
So, if you’re looking to host a team event, you know where to look! We're among the top team-building options in Chicago.
Finally, if you found this post useful, and you want more such content on teamwork, life skills, escape rooms, life in Chicago and so on, make sure you check out our blog from time to time!
Featured image by Werner Heiber from Pixabay.