With offices finally reopening, managers are starting to notice an unexpected quarantine side-effect: all their employees hate each other.
They aren’t terrible people (or if they are, no more so than before the quarantine) but one year of isolation is hell on social skills. Social skills are a muscle, they grow or atrophy. It’s like trying to get back to bench pressing 300 pounds after a year in a coma. You need to start with smaller weights. But what is the social skills version of getting back into weightlifting? Escape Rooms.
As a Game Master at Hourglass Escapes in Seattle, I am stunned by how much teamwork improves after just one hour of trying to break into the Mad Pharaoh’s sarcophagus, or unlock the Banshee Buccaneer’s treasure chests.
Nobody can solve all the puzzles by themselves. Everybody has to work together because everybody spots things nobody else can see. The only way to avoid being trapped beneath the waves forever on the Ghostly Galleon, or rescue Dr. Carter from an Egyptian tomb is teamwork.
Having a coworker instantly solve something which you struggled with for fifteen minutes is a great reminder of why we all started working together in groups in the first place.
Even if you don’t solve the puzzles, at the very least Hourglass Escapes has a no cellphones policy. Spending one hour in a room with no twitter, texting, Facebook, or Instagram is in itself a good cure for a toxic work environment.