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Team-Building: Escaping The Zombies Beats Escaping the Same Old Activities
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Team-Building: Escaping The Zombies Beats Escaping the Same Old Activities - Executive Leadership Articles

Team-Building: Escaping The Zombies Beats Escaping the Same Old Activities

Executive Leadership Articles

Team-Building: Escaping The Zombies Beats Escaping the Same Old Activities

Many people see their jobs as a kind of prison from which there is no escape, but in cities across the country, employers are taking this view literally: “escape rooms” are the rage among Friday night Yelpers kicking off their weekends as well as companies looking for a team-building activity that doesn’t involve trust falls or zip lines.

Working together in groups ranging in size from two to ten, solvers work against the clock, exploring their locked rooms for clues which may take the form of puzzles whose solutions might be clues to the next puzzle. Each correct answer leads the group closer to an escape, often a physical key opening an actual locked door. As a way to enhance the experience, most escape rooms are part of an immersive story, such as being trapped in the dungeon of an evil king, or a bank vault loaded with explosives.

While most escape rooms intend strictly to entertain, many offer themselves specifically as team-building activities, with counselors observing group dynamics and offering suggestions at the conclusion of the exercise. There is always a group photo at the end, with solvers holding up signs saying “We did it!” or “Almost, but the clock beat us!” Additionally, some escape rooms ask teams to vote on most valuable players, who get to hold the MVP sign in the group picture. With a price tag of between $10 and $25 per participant, the cost is comparable to a ropes course and much less expensive than many motivational speakers.

The big question, as it should be with any company-sponsored team-building activity, is whether or not the practice of collaborating under the pressure of an imagined scenario where zombies are about to wake up in a locked room translates into real-life, positive, collaborative interactions at work. Many of the issues obstructing good teamwork in the office are completely absent in these imaginary activities—without office politics, real-world stakes, maneuvers for the boss’s favor, or differences in working styles, we usually have no problem cooperating.

However lacking the evidence may be for skill development, there is still the difficult-to-quantify benefit of goodwill and camaraderie to consider. Your employees’ good feelings about each other go a long way toward leaping over (or at least tolerating) the speed bumps that can hinder teamwork. Just as a shared meal can foster positive feelings among co-workers, so can a morning of directed, fun interaction on the company’s dime.

Escape rooms are exploding in popularity, with more than 700 rooms in the United States, and more added all the time. A search on Yelp is a good place to begin, but there are several websites evaluating and keeping track of escape rooms around the world. EscapeReviewer.com and EscapeRoomDirectory.com might have additional info specific to the phenomenon. You’ll want to find a location nobody on your team has tried yet, because once a person has solved a room, it’s spoiled for future attempts by that person. You may want to consult with some of your socially hip team members; they’ve certainly heard something about the rooms if they haven’t participated yet themselves. And don’t be afraid to join in. When those zombies awaken, you’ll want to see who on your team is best equipped to handle them!

 

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Team-Building: Escaping The Zombies Beats Escaping the Same Old Activities - Executive Leadership Articles

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