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Improve Your Workplace Culture By Spending a Saturday Inside a Windowless Room

For an organization to thrive, there has to be a strong bond between employees. Workplace happy hours, company picnics, and even dance outings, which can burn as much as 400 calories in just 30 minutes, can all be fun and help coworkers bond. All of those activities can build positive relationships and improve workplace culture.

Even putting up some nice art pieces can help employees perform better. In fact, 94% of survey respondents believe that art makes their workplace more welcoming and that 61% agree it also stimulates creativity.

The typical manager spends 25 to 40% of his or her time dealing with workplace conflicts. That’s one to two days of every work week. Finding creative ways to limit or even prevent workplace conflict can really help an organization thrive. Recently, businesses across the United States have turned to a new popular activity to build stronger and more connected teams: escape rooms.

An escape room is a mental and physical adventure based game in which players solve a series of puzzles and riddles using hints, clues, and strategy to complete various objectives. According to The New York Times, the number of escape rooms grew from 22 in 2014 to more than 2,000 in 2018.

“We spend so much time in solitary screen-based worlds, so it is magical when people from a wide range of ages come together and solve a challenge,” said Scott Nicholson, a professor at Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario who teaches a course in designing and creating escape rooms.

On the surface, it might not sound like all that much fun. Paying a decent amount of money to get locked in a windowless room with your coworkers… probably not everyone’s idea for a great Saturday. But as long as each person is going in with a positive attitude, once the team gets going, it’ll be a lot of fun and actually lead to some positive breakthroughs.

“The market is still growing and we are definitely seeing new escape room businesses and new escape room games pop up all over the country,” added Lisa Spira, who maintains the Room Escape Artist blog database with her husband David.

In addition to improving your company’s culture, there are plenty of additional benefits of visiting an escape room:

  • Dopamine release — Each puzzle and riddle you solve during an escape room will spike the dopamine level in your brain. Dopamine is a naturally occurring neurotransmitter the brain releases to positively encourage beneficial actions. After each release of dopamine, you’ll be in a better mood, have heightened social skills, improved memory, and a sharper concentration.
  • Improved communication skills — Whether you escape the room or not, your communication skills will certainly be tested during these activities. You’ll have to effectively communicate in order to succeed, however, which will surely help your organization thrive, as well.
  • Create unique memories — After you leave an escape room, you’ll walk away knowing you and your team have achieved something. You’ll be able to reflect on the stressful aspects of the day as well as the good times throughout the experience. Hopefully, you’ll walk away with a feeling of accomplishment and some lifelong memories and relationships.

“We know that all consumers are gravitating toward social play,” added Ray Adler, a senior director of global marketing at Mattel. “People love to test themselves and do things together.”