This week we thought we’d take a look at team-building. Although plenty of people roll their eyes at the idea, we believe team-building is a crucial part of developing a successful team. Above all, we believe escape games are one of the best team building activities around!
An escape game is a live experience that usually lasts 60 minutes. A team is locked into a room and given a variety of clues, riddles, puzzles and challenges to solve and (hopefully) escape the room. There’s usually a big goal along the way, whether it be defusing a bomb or retrieving an antidote for a deadly poison! Their history can be traced to some early puzzle-based computer games such as Myst, and Crimson Room which use a similar concept.
“You can discover more about someone in an hour of play than a lifetime of conversation” Plato.
Escape games are a fantastic way of bringing your team together. They combine all the key elements of a successful team building event. Whether it be getting everyone out of the office for an hour or pushing your team to solve new challenges. In a live escape room, you’ll be able to see exactly how the team interact with each other. Similarly, you’ll see what your team’s skills are and where they shine. Here are just some of the ways escape games help get the most out of your team:
In an escape game, your team has a clear goal. Setting clear goals is an excellent way to get the most out of your team. For example, you have 1 hour to solve the puzzles and escape. At the same time, you might have to look through the clues and find the identity of a murderer. As a result, all of your team are on the same page and working towards a common outcome. This can be extremely powerful! Hopefully, by seeing the focus this can give a group, your team will take this back to your office and work on clear goal-setting.
“The most successful, memorable team-building events are ones that don’t feel like a day in the office”. Unless you’re a bomb squad or global adventurer escape games are something completely different to a day in the office. We take groups well out of their comfort zone and allow them to undertake a task that’s nothing like their day-to-day. By doing this, your colleagues become more engaged as you switch up their daily routines. Consequently, this helps you break down barriers in the group and bring your team together.
To make it out of an escape room (particularly in good time) your team will need to communicate. Whether it’s 2 people working closely on an individual puzzle or letting the whole team know that you’ve found a clue – keeping in contact with your team is crucial. According to the project management institute, project managers spend 90% of their time in some form of communication. Therefore, it’s critically important that these skills are developed and worked upon. Escape rooms help encourage effective communication whilst keeping your team engaged and enjoying themselves! Another benefit to developing strong communication skills is that companies who communicate effectively are also 4.5 x’s more likely to keep hold of their best employees.
An important part of developing a strong team is making sure everyone knows their role. This allows a team to leverage their specialisations and abilities and work efficiently. Similarly, one of the things that separates the best groups through our games is they assign clear team roles. These teams know who’s good at finding things, who’s good at piecing together simpler puzzles and who has a mind for the abstract. As a result, they play to their strengths and fly through the games. By taking this lesson back to the office, you’ll see an increase in efficiency and performance of your team!
With only one hour on the clock and potentially the whole of Newcastle to save, our escape games certainly pile on the pressure. This intensity can help you see what your team are truly made of! If things go down to the wire and you’re still solving with seconds to spare, you’ll see who keeps a cool head and who begins to panic! By finding this out in an escape game, and not when it matters, you can understand and develop your team without having an impact on your business.
Problem-solving is a skill that is required at all levels of a business or team. Escape rooms require a team to solve a variety of problems put forward to them by the game. By solving problems in this collaborative manner, teams will be able to sharpen their skills and maybe start to look at things differently. Employees generally enjoy problem-solving activities and are engaged by them. Furthermore, research has shown that sink your teeth into a problem can help create ownership of tasks.
If you like a bit of competition in the office we can set two teams up head to head and see who can escape first! This can add a bit more excitement to the day. Further, it can show you who shines under pressure and who’ll do anything to win. We even have scorecards which take you through what you did well and what you might need to work on. On top of this, competitive activities help encourage a results based outlook! So our escape game can really help get your team working for the same result.
Finally, the most important part of team building is making sure it’s fun! Happy employees are 31% more productive (HBR). Therefore, if you want to get the most out of your team it’s important to put a smile on their faces. We hope that by bringing your team together in a fun and engaging environment, you can help boost your team’s output and reach your company’s goals. One of the biggest comments we get about our rooms is how much fun they are and teams are often surprised about how much they enjoy the game.
If you’re not convinced, that’s OK. Here are 3 activities that you can do in your office to help bond your team, and improve their skills:
One of our favourite ways to bring our team together is through board game nights! The concept’s simple. Gather your team around, get some drinks in and play a board game or two. Which game? There are loads of different options here! A game like Pandemic is fantastic because you all have to work together! Hopefully, there’ll be fewer arguments if everyone’s on the same team! Something a bit more obscure could be Secret Hitler, a game which is based on lies and teamwork and will keep your team on its toes.
This is a quick activity that’s great fun and gets your team thinking and problem-solving. Give each team an egg, boiled or raw (if you’re looking for a real challenge), and a variety of items. They can only use the given items to protect their egg. Why do they need protecting? Well you’re going to drop them from a set height, and the winner is the team who’s egg stays intact! Some common materials here are toilet roll tubes, sponges and straws. A cool twist is that teams can also swap items with another group, adding negotiations to the proceedings.
Using a few padlocks and some handwritten clues you can easily make a fun and engaging escape game yourself! This option also allows you to make the answers things that relate to your business, so you can help your team learn key things or even with onboarding.
There are also some great venues for team building events around Newcastle and we’d certainly recommend taking a look at these:
Lane 7 has it all. You can bowl, play ping pong, mini-golf or even do karaoke! All with a bar, food and no kids after 7:00! If you want your team to have fun and let your hair down, then Lane 7 is one of the best places to be in Newcastle.
La Choclatrice is a brand new venue in Newcastle. It’s a chocolate making experience that lasts 2 hours for a team of up to 10 of you. It’s a great way of breaking the ice and having some relaxed time out of the office. On top of this, you’ll work on your attention detail and taking instructions from your wonderful teacher Zoe!
Go Karting is a team-building classic! Slip into a racing suit, strap into a go-kart and race around to see who’s the fastest. It’s a great way of competing within your group and always has some funny moments. Team-Sport in Newcastle is a fantastic venue. They offer a variety of different race types, which means you can get the most from the experience, and tailor the day to suit your needs.
If you’re interested in organising a team-building event with us then you can get in touch with our team by email or over the phone. Even if you just have a couple of questions we’ll be happy to help. You can also see a little more info about our team-building days here!
Whether you do decide to hold your corporate day with us or elsewhere, we hope you have a great time and that you see an improvement in your team.