Loneliness is the biggest challenge remote workers face. That’s why it’s important for remote companies to host online team-building events that everyone can join via Zoom or Microsoft Teams. And while these require a bit more creativity to come up with than offline events, there are plenty of activities to choose from. Even a monthly chat about what everyone has been doing helps fight loneliness. But to make things more interesting, we suggest playing games like Two Truths and a Lie, War of the Wizards (live RPG), team quizzes, or hosting an online happy hour. A virtual escape room is also an excellent option, as it gets team members working together to solve puzzles and riddles, improving teamwork and coworkers’ relationships.
Types of Virtual Escape Rooms
From ready-made to DIY, there’s plenty of virtual escape rooms out there. The one that will work best for you depends on your objective and budget. After 2020, many escape room companies moved their games online to meet the increased need for virtual team gatherings. So, you can find lots of professional escape rooms featuring different themes that go from being lost in ancient Egypt to Saw-inspired games. These paid solutions are the most straightforward to set up, as the company provides the escape room and explains how everything works. In some cases, they even have their own online platforms for players to log into.
Next, you have free escape rooms. Of course, these aren’t as professional, but they might be the perfect solution for small companies with tighter budgets. Most of them are text-based and created on Google Forms. When playing, we suggest having someone as the designated reader to make the game go more smoothly. The themes are quite random – going from the Disney World to Hogwarts-inspired escape rooms – but it’s easy to find the best ones with a quick search.
Finally, you can always create your own escape room. This can be a bit more time-consuming, but it allows you to set your desired time limit and create a more personalized experience. For example, in the last virtual escape room we created at clovio, we had puzzles featuring all our team members and rooms dedicated to each of our media brands. Plus, everyone is going to have a good laugh when they see their face photoshopped on funny pictures. Google Forms is a great tool to design your own escape room at zero cost as it allows you to add questions with only one correct answer, but you can also use PowerPoint for a more dynamic experience. When it comes to creating the visual elements of your escape room, we recommend using Canva since it offers a great graphic design platform for free.
Hosting Your Virtual Escape Room
Hosting a virtual escape room is a lot of fun (and work). But if you use technology to your advantage, it gets much simpler. Imagine the chaos of having ten people trying to answer a puzzle simultaneously. It’s far better to create smaller groups of up to five players and allocate them to different breakout rooms. In this case, each group navigates the escape room separately, and those who finish first win. Alternatively, you can use a scoring system where the team that answers the highest number of puzzles correctly wins.
We also recommend appointing a captain for each team. While coworkers may discuss the puzzle solution as they please, it becomes a bit confusing when all of them try to answer at once. With a team captain, the host only needs to consider answers coming from one person. Plus, the ‘hands up’ feature found in most web conferencing software is also perfect for knowing when the team is ready to provide a final answer.
Finally, rewarding the teams with a customized, personalized escape room certificate is the perfect memento of the team-building activity, especially if you include pictures of everyone. It’s like the group photo teams always take when they get together in a company offline event. The most important part is that everyone has fun – just because everyone works from home, it doesn’t mean they can’t virtually meet up and have a good time.