Remote and hybrid work isn’t going anywhere. Work-from-home positions tripled between 2019 and 2021, resulting in a 2023 workforce where 27% of Americans work remotely. Sixteen percent of U.S. companies are fully remote, and about three out of four use or plan to use a hybrid model, which includes some level of remote work.
Enter the virtual escape room. The virtual escape room can replace indoor and remote team building activities for distributed teams. Here are three benefits of giving one a shot, and how to get started for your next team building activity.
What Is a Virtual Escape Room?
Many people have tried an escape room in person. In this traditional typical escape room, you and your team solve a variety of fun puzzles to unlock a door in a certain amount of time. Virtual escape rooms work similarly except everyone can join the “room” from their own computers.
With a virtual escape room, all of your team members log into the session you’ve created and start solving puzzles together. Many virtual escape rooms don’t have time limits, so your team can work through the entire escape room for the activity. There are also a wide variety of themes and challenges you can choose from when picking a virtual escape room, so you can find one that suits your team’s interests — from Golden Girls to Hogwarts.
Benefits of Virtual Escape Rooms
One of the great things about virtual escape rooms is that there’s more than one great thing about virtual escape rooms! This one activity can provide your teams with multiple benefits at the same time.
Virtual escape rooms can be a great form of team building for distributed teams. Social isolation is one of the most common complaints from remote workers, who are not as able to naturally form bonds with co-workers through chance interactions. That social isolation can lead to decreased productivity and even a desire to leave the company. Nobody benefits from loneliness!
Virtual team building helps create bonds, increasing productivity, collaboration, and efficiency. The great news is that virtual escape rooms are a way to create a great bonding and team building experience. These virtual activities are a chance for your teams to get together and build a sense of camaraderie by working together toward a joint goal.
You have to be able to keep track of lots of information to successfully solve problems in a virtual escape room. Doing that can help improve your memory skills, something that can help you in nearly every aspect of work and life.
To escape the escape room, your team needs to work together. In fact, a lot of escape rooms are designed so you have to work with somebody else to succeed. That means virtual escape rooms are geared to help improve your team’s collaboration.
Escape rooms involve a lot of decisions and problems, which means you need to practice your decision-making skills to succeed. In the business world, there are a lot of decisions your team will need to make together. An escape room is a great low-pressure way to practice.
How to Get Started with Your Very Own Virtual Escape Room
Here’s how to make the most of a virtual escape room, including logistics tips that will help everything go off without a hitch.
- Before the Escape Room
First, you’ll need to pick an escape room. There are plenty of options, so you can find one that suits your team’s interests — from Golden Girls to Hogwarts!
Now it’s time to get the team excited. You can spread the word in your group email or chat, and schedule time on everyone’s calendars. This is a great time to let your team know why you’re holding this virtual escape room by explaining the benefits of getting to know each other in a new setting, and the perks of problem solving as a team.
Leading up to the event, make sure each team member has a stable internet connection and computer, phone, or tablet that can access the ‘room.’
- During the Escape Room
You can choose to moderate or fully participate in the escape room. In either case, encourage everyone to join the event 15 minutes early so everyone is ready for the Game Master (you) to explain the rules.
Encourage team members to work together to solve problems. If you notice one member less involved, get them excited to contribute. Especially when working with a newer group, during the escape room may also be a good time to get to know the team’s strengths — such as who is an analytical thinker and who’s a natural leader.
- After the Escape Room
Consider blocking out a chunk of time after the escape room for people to chat and celebrate after they’ve solved the puzzle! This is another opportunity for bonding and connection-building. You might even debrief and talk about what everyone learned. Sometimes, it’s just nice to have a few moments to be together before everyone logs off.
Support the Wellbeing of Your Entire Team
Team building is a way to help support your employees’ wellbeing. Consider that employees are 80% more likely to report having better emotional wellbeing when engaged in collaboration with their teams. And 83% of employees consider an employer that supports their wellbeing as important as their salary, so finding ways to focus on employee wellbeing is so important.
Gympass makes wellness programs available to all your employees, no matter where they are. This allows companies with distributed teams to support everyone’s wellbeing. Talk to a wellbeing specialist today to get started!
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The Gympass Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.