Corporate groups looking to put their problem-solving skills to the test should check out the latest teambuilding trend for groups: escape rooms. Earlier this year, about 80 escape room locations existed in the U.S., and that number is expected to rise to more than 300 by year’s end, reported Newsweek. While some escape rooms simply encourage groups to solve puzzles, others have a scarier haunted-house-like angle—ideal for groups in need of a Halloween-related activity this holiday season.
The concept is simple. About 10 to 12 attendees are locked into a room and given typically about 60 minutes to solve clues and puzzles that will eventually point groups to a key that will set them free. Everything from word puzzles to solving number problems to having to use binoculars to find a clue on a restaurant sign down the block are mixed in with blacklights, secret passages and trapdoors for a truly mind-boggling experience.
The Great Escape Room, with locations in Michigan, New York, Florida and Washington, D.C., offers a Sherlock Holmes theme. Attendees are put in The Library and must use deductive reasoning to see how Holmes’ collection of items from around the world work together to serve a purpose. In the Gameroom, attendees will need to uncover a hidden object to help Holmes in his battle against the infamous Professor Moriarty. Large groups up to 65 can solve two rooms together or compete in a timed competition. Even larger groups (a minimum of 50) can request that The Great Escape Room staff create a customized, puzzle-solving event at an off-site location.
Room Escape Adventures adds an element of fear to the mix at its nine locations across the U.S. Attendees will work together not only to escape from a room, but to also avoid being “eaten by a zombie” when the allotted time is up. Every five minutes, a buzzer goes off and Dr. Oxy (the zombie) is released another foot. By the end of the show, he is able to reach the door and eat every member of the team, says Marty Lee Parker, owner of the company.
“Before the show starts, we go over what human resources you will need during the show and tips on how to work together,” says Parker. “Knowing this before you enter is key as you then realize that you will need to critically think, creatively think, communicate, listen, strategize, distract, fail, never give up, lead, follow and show consistent perseverance in your attempt at escaping.”
At the end of each show, the group will participate in a curtain call in which the staff will analyze how the group did based on communications and specific decisions the group made. They’ll give advice on how the group could have escaped sooner or even give positive feedback to why the group escaped quickly. Either set of advice can be beneficial for attendees to take back and use in the office.