Let’s face it – when you are at work and you hear that your company has lined up team-building exercises for you and your coworkers, chances are, it’s been done way too many times before. Trust exercises? Been there, done that.

However there is a new trend that just might be a breath of fresh air for your next team-building activity.

Escape rooms are an alternative experience craze where teams must work together to solve multiple puzzles, riddles, and scenarios that require skill and logic. Complete all of the tasks under the allotted time, and you and your team just might make it out of the room.

In a way, being in an escape room is a different type of trust exercise. You must trust your team to simultaneously solve puzzles, and figure out the best people for each job. You cannot simply try to solve everything yourself – you probably cannot solve everything by yourself, and even if you did, there are too many things going on at the same time, so it would be in your best interest to work with your teammates in order to escape in time.

Although your coworkers may have a lot in common with you in terms of job skills, they may operate in ways that differ greatly to your own processes. That’s what makes a great team, not only in escape rooms, but also at the workplace.

This past Christmas, our company went to The Locked Room for our annual holiday activity. As soon as the door was shut, and the clock started, we immediately looked around the room for tasks that we needed to complete. We worked together to prioritize the tasks, and split up so we can accomplish more at the same time.

At one point, two of us found ourselves stuck solving one of the puzzles. What were we doing wrong? Every other way did not make sense to us. Someone else on our team took a look at the puzzle, and eventually a combination of fresh eyes and outside the box thinking led us to completing the task.

One of the puzzles involved a cipher of some sort that also needed more than one set of eyes (and more than one brain) to complete. With tasks like these, it helps to bounce ideas with someone else (again, that you trust), in order to solve it as quickly as possible.

In the end we were able to solve all of the puzzles and escape the room under the allotted time – and the sense of accomplishment that we all felt afterwards far exceeded our expectations. We knew that we all worked together to escape.

The Locked Room was a great experience for our team, and it could be for yours as well. They now have opened a new location in south Calgary, which also features a room big enough for a team of 12. Happy escaping!

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