If you’re a manager at an office, you have objectives to keep your team engaged and productive. All work and no play not only makes Jack a dull person but also lowers productivity and morale. Employees need to not just work together but also play together. Studies continually show that employee teams who bond as friends outperform groups that merely come to the office to get the job done.
Savvy managers know that taking time away from work responsibilities doesn’t ruin productivity, it actually enhances it. Human beings need to recharge, and taking breaks provides resets for brains and bodies so they can get back to the work challenges. To optimize a work team’s performance, as both individuals and as a team, managers need to get them working together as a team. They also need to help team members get to know each other, care about each other, and trust each other.
If you’re an office employee, you may dread company team-building activities. After all, poorly executed plans can backfire, leaving employees resisting the corporate team building activities rather than looking forward to them and fully engaging. If you are still using trust-falls and other summer camp activities with your employees, or your attempts at building trust have backfired like a scene from The Office, then you probably need some fresh team outing ideas. Trapped Puzzle Rooms is here to help.
Physical activities can be great, as time outside or exercising together helps both teamwork and health. But physical team building activities can leave some employees behind. Food outings can also be fun, but what about your employees who have restricted diets or do not drink alcohol? You want your team-building activities to be accessible and inclusive, while also being fun and morale-boosting.
A terrific team outing idea that is accessible to all employees boosts problem-solving and is fun for all participants is a puzzle room, also known as an escape room. These activities are held indoors, so they aren’t affected by the weather, either. They don’t involve food or drink, so everyone can participate, and you can also plan to meet up at a nearby bar or restaurant after to extend the camaraderie.
Benefits of Puzzle Rooms for Team Outings
Escape rooms are for small groups of 4-10 participants, making them perfect for an office-sized team. Additionally, multiple teams can be in different escape rooms simultaneously, for cooperative competition to see who finishes their room first.
Bonding Through Shared Goals
Groups of strangers who complete an escape room together end up bonding during the one-hour they are engaged with the puzzles and working together to beat the timer and complete the mission. Groups that already know each other, even just a little, bond together even more as a result of the experience. This is because escape rooms provide the groups with shared goals: they are all working together to find the clues, piece them together, and escape the room before time runs out.
Work teams also have shared goals: sales goals, QA measurements, and other key performance indicators. These goals don’t have to do with solving a crime, breaking out of prison, saving a kidnapped person, besting an evil wizard, or thwarting an evil monarch’s plans, but the premise is the same. Every single person on the team plays a role, and their contribution matters. When you put everyone’s contribution together, and all the pieces are combined, you meet the goals.
Reliance on One Another
Puzzle rooms cannot be solved alone. They are designed as collaborative activities. Most puzzle rooms can’t even be solved by two people in the one-hour time limit, no matter how savvy they are. Puzzle-rooms require collaboration among a group.
Some puzzles quite literally require two or more people to work together: a pulley system where one person can see what is happening and must tell another person which cord to raise or lower or a puzzle where one person must stand in one area, and a different person in another, touching objects simultaneously. There are some puzzles that you cannot solve without at least two people working together and communicating. You need your team members to get the job done.
There are other puzzles that a single person might be able to do, but solving it works better and faster if others are helping. Knowing that a co-worker is better at doing a combination lock or other fine-motor-skill activity under pressure means that you will seek them out to take care of a crucial role in the solution. You and the others on the team will be cheering them on and celebrating when the lock gives that satisfying click of opening.
Escape rooms are fantastic at helping groups of people realize that they need each other to get the job done and that each team member has a role in their success.
Company problems are complex. They contain a lot of moving parts and contingencies. Fixing one area of the issue has an iterative effect on other issues. To solve a larger and more complicated problem, people with varying talents, interests, and schedules must work together and realize the inter-connectedness of their respective areas. This is the definition of team synergy.
Puzzle rooms are designed to have complex and interrelated problems that must be solved. Some of them are sequential, and a specific aspect must be solved first, followed by a second step. Some are interconnected, with information from one problem informing another problem. Sometimes information that participants find isn’t useful at all (the dreaded red herring). And other information may be used more than once or in multiple ways. Often, information that looks unnecessary becomes key if analyzed in a new way, such as summing the numbers or reversing them.
By taking a team outing at a puzzle room such as Trapped Puzzle Rooms, you will build camaraderie, resilience, reliance on one another, and decisive problem-solving skills. These memories and knowledge stay with participants and benefit them when they return to the office.
Try Trapped for Your Next Team Outing
Trapped Puzzle Rooms has three locations in the Twin Cities area, with eight different escape experiences to try. You can find us in Uptown, in North Loop, and St. Paul. We also have a mobile escape room that we can bring to your business location. Don’t bore your employees with predictable team building activities or exclude some staff members with activities that may be inaccessible.
Take your employees on a team outing to a Trapped Puzzle Room. Give us a call, and we will get you scheduled right away!