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As a avid board gamer, I find that escape rooms are the ultimate game, it has puzzles to solve, is highly social, and it’s in real life!

If you are not familiar with escape rooms, they are live action games where participants are "locked" into a room and they must find clues to solve puzzles and escape. Usually the rooms are themed, for example: solving a murder inside of a moving train, or finding who is a spy during the cold war. 

After playing in many escape rooms, I found that playing them has taught me many valuable lessons that can be used to unlock work challenges.


#1 - Good communication: 
 Good communication is vital to escape rooms, and also at work. It's important to tell your team the clues that you have found, and you can't hoard information, as that piece of information or clue that you have found might be what is necessary to solve a puzzle. Just as it is at work, where it’s important to have a sharing mindset. It’s not about getting ahead as an individual but as a team.


#2 - Diversity: 
 Recently, there has been a lot of talk about the role of diversity, and the truth is, people with different life paths than you can bring different solutions to the table. One time in a game we couldn’t solve a puzzle because no one could understand morse code, but having someone from a different age in the group who was familiar with morse code was able to help us solve that puzzle. (Sorry if you read this, you are not older, but wiser!)


In the book Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World, Steve Johnson said, "individuals have better ideas if they're connected to rich, diverse networks of other individuals. If you put yourself in an environment with lots of different perspectives, you yourself are going to have better, sharper, more original ideas. It's not that the network is smart.”


#3 - Playfulness:  
Creative breakthroughs happen when we have a playful mindset. Having that childlike wonder to try new things and new angles might be what is necessary to solve a puzzle. Grace Hopper, an early computer programmer said about the matter, "Humans are allergic to change. They love to say, "We've always done it this way." I try to fight that. That's why I have a clock on my wall that runs counter-clockwise." Playfulness give us the freedom to use different tools and allows us to find different approaches to solve a puzzle.


#4 - Knowing your strength and weakness:
 Being aware of our strength and weakness is very vital in the workplace as it gives us the ability to get better in our areas of opportunities, and having our strength available for the team to rest on. In an escape room, I knew I was not going to spend time trying to figure out a math equation puzzle, but starting on a puzzle that required finding patterns.


#5 - Having fun: 
 It’s important to have fun at work. if you’re not having fun then you are doing it wrong. By having fun, you create a relaxed atmosphere that can increase the team performance. This is of super importance in an escape room, as when the clock is ticking, and there is less than 5 minutes left on the clock, it’s important to laugh and have a good time. The same goes for a task that needs to be done at work. It’s important to be able to release steam at work. Author Dave Hemsath of "301 Ways to Have Fun At Work" said, "The most successful organizations add a healthy dose of play into their daily or weekly routines. In fact, research has shown that when people actually enjoy their jobs they're more creative, more productive, and more committed to doing their job well.”


I hope this blog post gives you incentive to try an escape room, and if you have already played, try bringing these lessons of the escape room into your workplace!