How Escape Rooms Can Help Create Stronger Remote Teams

Two players in The Heist Art Gallery
Posted: Thursday, Aug 20 2020

Today, a lot of teams are working remotely that never planned on doing so. It’s an adjustment we’re all trying to get used to, and to be fair it’s helping some companies to survive decidedly bizarre circumstances. However, it can still make it tough for team members to truly feel united. Naturally, one way to address this problem is to conduct team-building activities — and we think virtual escape rooms are some of the best places to do so.

To expand on that point, here are a few ways in which escape rooms can help to build stronger remote teams.

Escape Rooms Build Trust

As you probably know, it can take a while to warm up to other employees even in normal times. Even if you’re friendly with your co-workers, you probably have a tendency to trust and rely only on yourself when it comes to work responsibility (don’t worry, we all do). It’s important for teams to overcome these tendencies and develop trust though, and this is even truer where remote work is concerned. With employees working in relative isolation, trust will be harder to come by naturally.

Ultimately though, this may be the best reason to encourage a safe escape room experience for remote workers, at least if they live near each other. As our post on the ‘Top 6 Reasons to Team Build at the Escape Game’ pointed out, these activities build trust in a pretty effective way. Ordinary trust-building gimmicks (like trust falls) are really somewhat shallow. But in an escape room, coworkers can actually see how dependable, clever, and hard working their teammates are. If you can’t solve the riddle on the back of the creepy old book, but your co-worker can, you’ll gain trust! If you figure out why the clock is showing a particular time, everyone will remember your cleverness. Maybe we’re stretching things a bit, but there is something to these ideas.

They’re Affordable

An overview of team-building effectiveness by the Harvard Business Review in 2018 suggested that they usually aren’t worth what they cost (shocking, we know). The piece referenced some very expensive team-building activities (such as trips abroad), and then cited research indicating that other methods can be more effective. Basically, the argument was that incentivizing team accomplishment (as opposed to individual achievement) is what makes teams work — not forced group activity.

This is an interesting point, but in a roundabout way it also makes the case for an experience like an escape room. This is a very cheap team-building activity for most companies — and one that actually does incentivize team members to work together. All the more reason to give it a shot with your remote team.

Teams Will Work on Change Management

For a team thrust unexpectedly into remote-work conditions, effectively managing change is arguably the most important thing to focus on. And while this may seem unique to our times, it’s actually considered a key aspect of modern business leadership in general. In a Maryville University run-down for people pursuing an online bachelors in organizational leadership, studying change management is framed as a necessary component of leadership and adaptability. It’s a topic of importance for those who hope to be effective change agents in business.

And what better activity could there be to learn how to manage change than an escape room? Within these game-like attractions, teams are constantly presented with new challenges and changing circumstances. Adapting on the fly is part of the process, and it can train people — together, as a team — to learn to handle change.

Bonds Are Formed

Last but not least, an escape room can also result in a genuine bond between teammates, as opposed to a semi-forced, collaborative workplace relationship. The Escape Game founder Jonathan Murrell was quoted by Small Business Trends as saying that “relationships are made and bonds are formed” in these rooms. And if you’ve tried one, we’re betting you’ll agree. Simply put, a regular, in-office team-building experience tends to feel at least somewhat like an obligation (or like something The Office character Michael Scott would make you do). But a team escape room outlet, particularly now when workers are so isolated, can be fun, and can turn coworkers into friends.

That should only make collaboration that much easier.

Contributed by Paulina Leonard
Solely for