Can virtual team building be fun?
This year, we’re missing out on a lot of togetherness. No longer can we get the crew together and set out for a day of activities that bring us closer together – social distancing has made this a big no-no. One group activity that has been sweeping the nation in recent years is escape rooms. You know, the timed adventure where you’re locked in a room full of clues, and your team must work together to put the clues together, solve riddles, and find the key!
Unfortunately for teams all over the world, being locked in a room with a group of people apparently violates the rules of social distancing.
But, if there’s anything positive that we can say has come out of the problems 2020 has thrown at us, it’s that we are very good at learning how to adapt. So good, in fact, that companies were able to set up their employees to work remotely and we were able to create virtual escape rooms.
Virtual escape rooms have proved to be excellent tools for companies that are looking to strengthen the bonds between their employees. When teams of people are able to have fun and creative outlets that promote working together toward a common goal, they learn valuable skills that will translate well to their responsibilities at work. Virtual escape rooms allow your team to explore the world and get to know each other without ever leaving the comfort of your home or office.
What to Expect with A Virtual Escape Room Experience
Virtual escape rooms are a virtual reality-video game hybrid. All participants can play the game with their regular computer and video conferencing software – there is no special equipment needed for virtual escape rooms.
The games begin with an introduction from an expert staff member. They will give you the run-down of the situation at hand and why they so desperately need help from your team. Many escape rooms deal with solving some kind of mystery but there are a few out there that will have your team pull off an elaborate crime like a bank heist, for example.
Once your team has been briefed on what it is you’ll have to do, you will be introduced to your “field agent” – a person who is physically in the escape room and wearing a camera and microphone that allows your team to see and hear everything in the room. The expert will take direction from your team and execute the actions that everyone agrees upon to get you one step closer to escaping the room.
Escape rooms typically run either 60 or 90 minutes and there is a countdown on the wall in the room to let you know where you stand. To make sure your team is on track to finish within the allotted timeframe, you can ask your field agent for a time check at any point during the activity.
Although virtual escape rooms are made for groups, there may be a limit as to how many people can work in one room together. Before your team signs up for one of these remote team building exercises, make sure to check the capacity of the room you’re interested in.
It may seem like virtual escape rooms are all fun and games, but they are helping to solve a problem that teams all around the world are facing: the inability to physically come together and work as a team. In today’s Digital Era, not only are millions of people working remotely due to the coronavirus, but it’s entirely possible for companies to employ a person who works remotely from another state or country.
While the convenience of being able to work remotely is a huge plus, the downfall is the loss of face-to-face communication and opportunities for teambuilding – an essential component to creating high-performing teams.
The Importance of Teambuilding in the Workplace
There’s no denying that team building is essential in the workplace. In order to create an effective team, the members must first form bonds with one another. This is where team building exercises (like virtual escape rooms) come into play.
Team building exercises are meant to be fun and exciting ways for colleagues and co-workers to get to know each other’s personalities and problem-solving styles while simultaneously encouraging them to support one another’s success.
Through team building exercises, your team can reap the following benefits:
- A chance for networking and getting to know one another better – staff members that have genuine connections with one another are known to be more productive than those who don’t know each other well.
- Sharpened skills like communication, conflict resolution, planning, and problem-solving – team building exercises that have everyone working toward a common goal will have members sharpening their skillset without even realizing it.
- Increased team performance – teams that understand each other’s work style, strengths and weaknesses are able to perform better because they can anticipate each other’s role within the team.
- Healthy competition – when the stakes are raised, it can be surprising how well people learn to work together in order to win. This has the potential to translate well from team building to work.
- Celebration – all work and no play isn’t healthy for anyone. When teams are able to have some fun together, they are able to appreciate each other in a whole new way.
- Creative thinking – when people are put into situations that requires them to use creativity to solve problems, they effectively become better problem solvers in other situations as well. Additionally, people that are more comfortable with one another have the confidence to express their creativity.
Typically, this would be done in a group setting where everyone is locked together in a room and made to find clues, piece them together, and bust out of the room. But, if there’s one things that 2020 isn’t, it’s “typical.”
Because we live in this Digital Age that allows us to work together without physically being together, it’s more important than ever to utilize methods of building strong and effective teams that are able to participate in from anywhere in the world.
The Advantages of Virtual Escape Rooms Extend Beyond Remote Work
It’s safe to say that, eventually, everyone will return to their offices and resume business as usual. Or, as close to business as usual it can get after a global pandemic. Luckily, virtual escape rooms aren’t only for teams that are working and living separately from each other.
One of the major benefits to virtual team building is the fact that it doesn’t have to take up time out of everyone’s workday. Because it’s an activity that can be done right from the office, your team doesn’t have to worry about carpooling or wasting valuable company time commuting to and from the event. Simply block out an hour or two of time for the team building event, and everyone can get back to work or head home as soon as the remote team building exercise is complete.
In addition, virtual team building doesn’t require much movement which is a huge benefit to the teams that must return to work when the event is over and those who are physically limited. No one has to worry about getting dirty or having to “sit this one out.” It’s a team building option that is completely accessible for all, as long as everyone has a computer, video conferencing software, and a Wi-Fi connection.
Stay Safe and Healthy with Virtual Team Building
Even as we return to “normal” working conditions, it will be important to make sure all members of your team remain safe and healthy. Virtual team building provides teams with everything they need to have some fun together while remaining at a safe distance from one another.
Some team building exercises that are done in person have the potential to be dangerous in more ways than one. Not only does close proximity to other people raise the chances of spreading illness, but there is always the possibility of an accident occurring. Accidents are generally unavoidable, but with remote team building exercises, you are virtually eliminating any possibility for accidents and, therefore, lawsuits.
Virtual escape rooms also allow those who are home sick to still participate in the activity, which is a huge plus. Staying home to get better and avoid spreading sickness is always the best idea, but it can lead to huge disappointment when you’re left out of all the fun. Because virtual escape rooms can be done from anywhere, all someone that is home sick has to do is sign on and participate! Pajamas and tea are totally allowed in virtual escape rooms.