Escaping for fun
My brother and I started this business for many different reasons but having fun at work was high up the list. Peter and I had done ‘grown up’ jobs for 25 years, him most recently as the MD of a Contact Centre business, me working all over the world leading Continuous Improvement projects. Now we wanted to put all that experience to good use while having a lot of fun along the way. Escape Rooms grabbed our attenton as it allowed us to do both, and last Monday we got to put that to the test and run our first Exciting Escapes Team Building event.
Over the years
I’ve been on a lot of team building events over the years. I’ve built rafts in the Lake District, sat on bean bags in Docklands, and climbed trees in the New Forest. I’ve taken on obstacle courses and driven cars around tracks all in the name of ‘Team Building’. I’ve talked about my greatest successes, my biggest fears, my childhood and the future all in the hope of forming stronger bonds with my peers. As i sit here now thinking about these events scattered throughout my career I’ve realised there are some common themes in the ones i believe were successful. They’re the ones where we relaxed a little, where we opened up a bit, where we learnt to rely on each other and where really talked. Also, they are the ones we had fun as a team, where we laughed, the ones where we built good shared experiences that we could refer back to time and again.
Escaping as a team
The first thing about an Escape Room is you are in it together. Literally. The door opens, you enter, it shuts behind you and that’s it – you are there standing together against whatever fiendish puzzles have been set. You all start from the same place – no one has any more knowledge of the room than you and so you only have what you find yourself or what someone tells you. Communication becomes key – if you don’t talk to each other, you fail. A good room has a variety of problems to solve – maybe some physical, some logical, some mathematical, some based on pictures. You start to find that some people in the team have skills you don’t and also that they begin to rely on you for things they find harder. A second opinion becomes vital – asking each other ‘What do you think?’. Leaders emerge, collaboration increases, all as the timer ticks down.
One in, all in
Of course, it can go the other way – as the time increases so to does the pressure. Voices become raised, actions become more rushed, tempers may even fray a little. The thing is, though, you are in the room together – you have one aligned objective and you can only succeed as a team. You have to call on each other for help, and begin to rely on each other. You celebrate successes, those of the individual and those as a team. I cant tell you how much i love it when a team beats a room with a few seconds to spare and then begin jumping around cheering. Its just brilliant!
What it’s all about
At the end of the day I come back to the fact that it has to be fun. For all the lessons learnt, bonds strengthened and shared experiences created, it must end with people smiling and saying they’ve enjoyed themselves. It’s been brilliant to hear – both on the day and in reviews online later – that every customer is feeling that’s the case here