It’s no secret that a motivated, coordinated team gets more done than a highly individuated one. A business is, at its heart, a team activity.
In the past, when managers took inspiration from Darwin, they emphasized competition within the workplace.
The theory was the more the staff resented each other, the harder they would work to prove they were better employees at work.
This was way back when doctors were prescribing cigarettes and a good stiff drink as remedies for stress, and you’ll have some idea of how that management theory worked out (it did not work well at all). So today, managers work to foster team spirit and cooperation. The theory goes that with “inspirational leadership,” one can bring together a “real” team. The problem is that there’s a distinct difference between these theoretical teams and the people that work in offices in the real world.
On one hand, we see a well-oiled machine made up of dedicated professionals.
On the other hand, we see a group of people, each trying to get through their own busy workload as quickly as possible.
These people may happen to work under the same roof, but nobody could describe them of being a tightly bonded team.
And so we get team building exercises.
The idea is that, by getting the team involved in some kind of a rugged outdoor experience, you can force them to work together and realize that it is possible.
Sometimes the activities are fun. But do they work? Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. It really depends on the activity.
Where Team Building Goes Wrong..
A surprisingly large number of employees hate team building. If you mention it, you’ll see reactions ranging from eye-rolling to full-blown panic attacks. There’s a reason for this – past experience with bad team building exercises.
Here are a couple reasons why employees dread team building activities:
- The exercise does not relate to the problems they face in their real work.
- It’s too demanding or scary – we’re not all extreme sports enthusiasts!
- Too much physical contact (especially with games like “Human Knot”)
- Weather related – the humid weather in Singapore may put off some participants and let’s be honest, no one enjoys rubbing sticky shoulders.
Qualities of an Ideal Team Building Activity in Singapore
An ideal team building activity should:
- Confront your team with a real challenge that requires teamwork to solve
- Be fun and rewarding
- Exercise and improve skills that will be used at work – e.g. problem solving and communication
- Be suitable for everyone, not just the extremely fit or those with special skills
- Preferably held indoors
Team members shouldn’t be made to suffer discomfort, exhaustion or peril. Assault, fitness courses are an effective tool for training hardened soldiers to face the horrors of war. But they’re not so good at helping senior accountants become better employees or team players.
Why You Should Lock Your Employees Together in a Room
Real-life room escape experiences are a special type of physical adventure game (no special skills required) that puts a team of people together in a closed environment and gets them to solve puzzles in order to successfully escape. The team has to solve the puzzles within a time limit, which means that if they want to win, they must work together.
The different puzzles require a combination of different skills, such as analytical thought, observation, timing, and creative thinking. This means that everyone will have something to contribute, regardless of age or work experience level.
If the concept of escape rooms are entirely new to you, check out the blog entry “My experience escaping an escape room” – Sal, HardwareZone.com.sg.
The people playing the game are part of the story. They may be paranormal investigators, moving forward to discover the unknown. Or maybe they are prisoners, working together to escape. Whatever the situation, the setting and experience creates a narrative context that draws the players in and creates strong engagement; allowing participants to forge strong bonds through play.
The skills that participants will exercise in an escape challenge translate well to their everyday tasks and challenges.
Working together to solve a problem against a deadline (in this case, to a successful escape), however, does. Communicating clearly and breaking down a problem into a series of tasks that everyone can work on, is almost the definition of collaboration in the workplace.
There’s a lot to be said for training your employees to work together more effectively as a team. On the other hand, it’s all too easy to make the situation worse by forcing staff to participate in an activity that isn’t relevant or is too tough. It’s important to find a fun activity that’s suitable for the whole team.
Our escape rooms fit that description perfectly.
Contact us today to team build at LOST SG!