Room Escape: A Novel Approach to Team Building

In recent years, events known as “Room Escapes” have exploded in popularity, not only as entertainment but also as effective team building events.

Over the last decade, room escape events have seen a huge increase in popularity, with dedicated locations and organizers popping up around the world. A combination of physical adventure and mental challenges, participants are locked in a room and given a timeframe. They then must use elements within the carefully constructed environment to sequentially find clues and solve puzzles which ultimately lead to the participants’ “escape.”  

Room Escape events were originally inspired by  “escape the room” style video games, where the player must explore his or her surroundings in order to escape a given situation (more).  Some of the first escape rooms were sprouted up independently among developers from Silicon Valley and gaming enthusiasts in Japan and Singapore.  As such, they still retain a loose association with gaming and tech circles. While there’s often an emphasis on logical reasoning, today’s escape room events have expanded to a wider audience and proven to have a broad appeal.

Any number of objects can be incorporated into a Room Escape

Examples of room escape elements include period settings, lockboxes, hidden physical clues, codes and decryption keys, trivia, and much more. Often the event will be tailored to an overarching theme. With their increased appeal, event organizers are now incorporating any number of new elements.

As inherently collaborative exercises, companies generally find Room Escapes to be ideal team building activities, tailoring them to be not only fun but also great exercises in practical skill sets including time management, cooperation and delegation. Moreover, they find room escapes foster the camaraderie that’s an important ingredient of any team building exercise.  

Room escapes are ideally suited for smaller groups, as a confined space is one of the key psychological elements.  However, some organizers have taken the concept further, customizing it to virtually any location and group size. 

From a management perspective, Room Escapes are an opportunity witness natural group dynamics and leadership roles emerge in an out-of-the-box (ouch) setting. “Taking teams out of their day-to-day roles is a key element of team building,” according to Warren Press, VP of Feet First Events. “If activities don’t allow you to shed some of the assumed roles and routines of the office, groups miss out on the chance to really forge new relationships and group dynamics.” The variety of challenges that are incorporated into room escapes means that success won’t simply be a matter of one leader driving a team to success, but rather a series of opportunities for individuals to demonstrate creative, sometimes unconventional thinking.

From an employee’s perspective they’re an opportunity for everyone to display their strengths and weaknesses in the face of unique challenges that appeal to their strengths. Furthermore, if done right, they foster a sense of trust and teamwork among coworkers; a fundamental piece of any team building event or process.

From a practical standpoint, Room Escapes accommodate diverse groups of employees. There’s no real barrier to participation as they’re not physically demanding.

Last but not least, the dramatic growth in popularity of Room Escapes over the past few years is a testament to the fact that Room Escapes are genuinely fun to participate in. With some employees (and management) being a bit wary of team building’s appeal, the ability to genuinely engage participants is a huge positive.

Ultimately, this last is why Press considers it a great event, “Every time a puzzle is solved revealing a code that opens a lockbox, people cheer and high five each other as though they had just won a race at the track! These are the moments when you can actually watch a team come closer as individuals get involved with challenges and become invested in the outcome as a group.”

Article by Feet First Events

About Feet First Events:

Feet First Events has established itself as the leading facilitator of team building events for many of California’s top companies. With their roots in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, and San Diego, they now have offices throughout the country. Their focus is on fun, creative team building events, which includes Escape Room Team Building.