The 2022 Guide to Corporate Event Escape Rooms

June 27, 2022 by Nate Martin

The escape room industry has taken America by storm. In 2015, there were 100 venues across the country – a number that has ballooned to over 2,200 in just five years. Escape rooms have long been well-loved destinations for birthday parties and weekend adventures. But, as many corporate managers are discovering, they also hold all the ingredients of a perfect team-building getaway. Corporate escape room events offer the chance for colleagues to hone problem-solving skills in a fun setting, collaborate in new ways, and get to know each other outside of the office. 


In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are looking to reconnect with friends, family, and colleagues. This trend is fueling further growth of the escape room industry. In-person escape rooms are bouncing back with stringent cleanliness standards. “Portable” escape room experiences can be brought to any workplace or event. And many remote or geographically dispersed teams are digging into virtual escape room team-building games


A corporate escape room event can be the perfect way to upgrade your team’s critical thinking skills, morale, trust, and cohesion. This article will cover how escape rooms can benefit your team and offer a few helpful tips for making the most of your experience. 


The escape room experience 

In an escape room, you and your team are locked in a room (or series of rooms) and must use your surroundings to solve a series of puzzles, find clues, and escape before time runs out. It might not be obvious which items in the room are relevant to your escape, which is part of the challenge! Depending on the setup, everyone will either move through the experience in steps, or the group will break up and solve multiple sections simultaneously.


The fun of escape rooms is due partly to their crazy themes and storylines. You could be tasked with breaking out of a vampire-infested medieval castle, defusing a bomb in a submarine, or escaping the dungeon of an evil underwater kingdom. Imaginations run wild in the field of escape room design, so you’re unlikely to encounter the same theme twice. 


While some escape rooms are designed for small groups of two to four people, others can accommodate groups of twenty or more. Their difficulty and complexity levels vary, but they are all designed to challenge team members to collaborate and put their puzzle-solving skills to the test. The clock starts ticking the moment you enter, so it’s important to work quickly and efficiently. This shared adrenaline rush makes for a great bonding experience, whether your group is close-knit or just getting acquainted.


Corporate events overhauled 

Corporate escape room events offer a host of benefits that go a step beyond the typical company soccer game or happy hour. They are a fun, challenging activity in which everyone can participate equally, regardless of their status in the workplace hierarchy. Escape rooms level the playing field: everyone interacts and works together. 


Most escape rooms feature a wide variety of puzzles and challenges that must be approached differently. This means everyone can find a chance to contribute ideas as well as learn from others’ problem-solving skills. There are no specialized skills required – just raw brain power and an open mind! 


You’ll find interesting how your group members take up unofficial roles throughout the challenge. Who steps up as a leader? Who asks the critical questions? Who helps keep everyone feeling energized and optimistic? And how does the team, as a whole, respond to an unfamiliar, high-pressure situation? Observing your teammates in this alternative environment can help you get a stronger sense of where their strengths lie, what drives them, and how they relate to others. If you’re a manager, this knowledge may help you tailor the way you lead, organize, and motivate your team afterwards.


Corporate escape room events are also a great way to boost trust and cohesion within a team. In an escape room, the challenge is collaborative, not competitive. Everyone has to rely on each other to beat the game in time. This creates camaraderie and support between employees that can carry over into the workplace. 


Last but not least, escape rooms are fun – plain and simple! Everyone will appreciate getting out of the office and into an interactive environment. And because the experience is so unique, players are more likely to remember it and retain what they learned. 


A new hybrid team building experience 

Although corporate escape rooms are a great way to spice up a team-building day or conference, what if you’re nowhere near an escape room venue? At Puzzle Break, we’ve drawn on years of industry-leading puzzle designing expertise to develop a solution: the portable escape room. This innovation makes it easier than ever before for corporate event planners to integrate escape rooms into the program. We bring the game to you – whether that means your office, offsite corporate location, conference venue, or company retreat. We create a setup that works with the number of participants and the space you have available. Go the murder mystery route with “A Hollywoodland Mystery,” or join forces to break a witch’s spell in “The Grimm Escape”. 


We also provide an on-site Game Master to set the scene and keep the energy flowing. Make sure you pay close attention to what they say, as they might drop helpful hints that only the keenest listeners in your group will catch! 


Virtual escape room adventures


More and more, work teams either include a mix of office-goers and remote workers or are entirely remote. Getting everyone together in the same place for any occasion may now be easier said than done. But that doesn’t mean you have to settle for Zoom drinks every week; in fact, finding ways for employees to engage in more immersive virtual office activities may be more important than ever. Enter the online corporate escape room, an ideal way to include everyone in an engaging team-building session.


At Puzzle Break, we offer five online escape room games, with themes ranging from “Monsterpelago” to “Disco Detectives”. Each game features specific Participant Focus Areas such as active collaboration, task delegation, working with ambiguity, and information analysis. As with in-person escape rooms, a Game Master is present during these virtual sessions to facilitate and keep everyone motivated. 


You can select the game that best suits your team’s development goals. It can also be scaled infinitely, and guests can join from anywhere in the world (or play huddled around a single screen, if they prefer). This makes it easy to involve your full team, from core members to part-time remote collaborators.


With so many games and no geographical limits, it’s easier than ever before to make in-person or virtual escape rooms a regular feature of your company’s team-building activities. By participating regularly, you can watch your team’s collaboration and problem-solving skills skyrocket over time.


Tips for a great game 


Improve your team’s corporate escape room adventure by trying out these tips before, during, and after the session: 

  • Before the event starts, talk with your team about what you hope everyone will take away from the experience. Make it clear this is not a competition or test, but rather a chance for everyone to deepen their working relationships in a fun setting. 
  • Work out a basic strategy before you start. Excitement can run high during the game, so giving everyone a framework can go a long way towards keeping heads level. 
  • Encourage everyone to communicate ideas and work together towards a common goal. Remember that new or shy members on your team might need some extra encouragement to speak up. On the other hand, outgoing or dominant team members may need the occasional gentle reminder to give others space. 
  • Keep your eyes and ears open! Some clues will be obvious, but others may be harder to catch. Anything you see in the room could play a role in your escape. If you get stuck, try retracing your steps and thinking about what you could have missed. 
  • As you work your way through the escape room, take time for quick check-ins with your team about what everyone is thinking and feeling. This is a great opportunity to build trust and understanding within the team. 
  • Take breaks as needed. They may cost you a bit of time, but you’ll be sharper and more productive. If you notice everyone is feeling stuck, take five minutes to regroup and come back with fresh ideas. 
  • Once you’ve escaped, debrief with your team about what went well and what didn’t. This will help everyone understand each other and figure out how to better work together in the future. For an outside perspective, ask your Game Master. He or she will be happy to share observations about your group’s working style. 

By keeping this advice in mind, you’ll ensure your team has an exciting time and comes out of the corporate escape room experience stronger than before. Good luck!

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