Teamwork. Many people may hear this term and just think of working together. However, teamwork goes well beyond this, especially for an escape game. What exactly does teamwork entail? After watching countless teams play our escape game whether for team building or for fun, this is what we’ve come up with:
1) Sharing ideas
The best teamwork requires players to show or say their ideas out to the others. Sometimes it may be hard to share your ideas if you’re worried that it may be dumb but often times, the “dumb” ideas can provide a new insight. In fact, many companies that want to promote creative thinking in their staff provide opportunities for this sharing to exist, whether its staff lounges, recreational rooms, or even the physical design of their workspace. For example, at Bell Labs, they purposely designed their space to have an extremely long hallway connecting the various rooms. It would be nearly impossibly not to have at least one conversation with someone else while getting from one place to another. In an escape game, if you’re not sharing your ideas, it’ll be hard for others to know what you found or to have a new idea. Escape games require players to use the facts within the space, so by being vocal, you’re reminding others of facts that may not have been used and may be important in the advancement of the game.
2) Acting upon ideas
Upon hearing ideas, it is important to think how to act upon them. Are the ideas really that absurd? Are there any usable parts of the idea that we could try and it wouldn’t cause irreparable damages or be too costly on time? Most teams stop at the sharing part and fail to conduct the action step, maybe because they think it isn’t a good idea, or they weren’t listening to begin with. It is important to actually try certain ideas, otherwise the ideas will just remain ideas without the action component of making it happen. Many times, players in our escape game may say a good idea, but then fail to apply it. They continue in the game, not furthering their escape, because they may have dismissed it or were unsure how to actually apply it.
3) Division of labor
Sometimes the task at hand may require the team to split up to improve efficiency. Not all tasks are optimal with more teammates. With too many ideas, it would be hard to actually act upon them unless you reduce the amount of people giving ideas and increase the amount of people actually acting on it. Escape games require the division of labor if players want to maximize their speed and get the fastest escape time. While some sectors of the game may require players to regroup and rethink, other parts of the escape game require players to really split up, find the different items and clues, and then regroup to analyze it.
At the end of the day, sometimes we forget that we’re working with other human beings. We may sometimes get caught up in the stress that we’re dealing with or the issues we’re encountering to remember that the others that we work with may be experiencing similar things but we’re just not aware of it since we’re so focused on our own lives. The best teamwork also includes the consideration of other’s feelings. Empathy is what makes us human and is the difference between a friendly atmosphere and a toxic one. Escape games build this trust through sharing a similar experience for all the players within.