182 days, 3015 games, 12846 customers, and an incalculable number of cups of tea later…
I have completed my first six months as the Branch Manager of Exciting Escapes,
I have been taking some time to reflect on what has been one of the
fastest, most jam-packed six months of my life… In this time, I have: graduated from
University, moved house, suffered a family loss, conquered my fear of helicopters (a strange
phobia, I know!), but above all, I have found my place in a growing, local business.
But what is it that you do?
This is a question I get asked frequently – by friends, family, and even customers!
Well, Exciting Escapes is not your standard work place. I don’t work in an office, we don’t even
have an office here! Instead, we have a control room. In our control room we monitor top secret missions
taken on by novice spies as they race against the clock to uncover a mystery and save the
country! So I suppose you could say that I am a spy. In fact, I would go as far as to call
myself Mission Co-ordinator… but I’ve been told Branch Manager is more appropriate. Honestly, the
truth is that we run an escape room business built around the theme of espionage; our rooms
contain puzzles, codes, mental and physical challenges, all of which are undertaken by
teams of people who seek thrill and adventure!
Do you like your job?
After racing around for an hour, one of the most frequent things that customers say to me at the end of their experience is “Gosh, you must love your job!” and my response is simple, “Yes!” – because I absolutely do!
There are many reasons that I love my job, so here’s a quick list of what makes working in an escape room the best!
1) Have you ever wanted to be a fly on the wall?
Because that’s exactly how I spend every day. For one hour, I have an exclusive, VIP invitation to see how people interact with their friends, family, partners. We see the eureka moments and the ‘well-that- wasn’t-so- clever’ moments, we hear the laughter… and the tantrums (that’s just the parents!), we are part of the inside jokes that teams develop and, at the end of the experience, we share in their exaltation when they win. The intimacy we have with our customers is something that I can’t imagine finding anywhere else.
So much goes on behind the scenes in an escape room business – and with hundreds of
people careering around our rooms each week it’s hardly surprising! But it’s thanks to this, that I have learnt so much about running a business and my team of sixteen staff, in only a short amount of time. I have nuanced existing customer service skills, and improved my DIY skills… and
by that I mean, I now have DIY skills (I’ll be putting up shelves and painting skirting boards
for years to come!)
3) Bring your trainers and old clothes to work days
It’s all hands on deck to keep things ship-shape at Exciting Escapes, and I quickly realised that trainers
at work were a must, and keeping a set of old clothes at work wouldn’t go a miss either! The
practical element of Exciting Escapes is awesome, because you never know what you might need to do – one day you might be painting a record shop in the 1980’s, and the next you could be fixing a chest of draws in the 1950’s!
4) Every day is different
The day-to- day maintenance is not the only thing that keeps each day feeling different. As
no two teams are the same, the ways in which each team tackle our puzzles are totally
unique to that team. Although I may have run a room hundreds of times, with each team
seeing it for the first time I am given a chance to see that room for the first time, all over
again… and I, for one, don’t think that I will ever be bored of adopting my spy-dentity and
assisting teams as they brave their missions!