Escape rooms are an increasingly popular choice for teambuilding events. At Pier Pressure, we see companies bringing teams to us time and time again because they see such positive results from the experience. As escape rooms are activities people do for fun anyway, it makes sense that work teams enjoy them too but there is more to it than that. Playing escape rooms together leaves staff feeling good about themselves and more connected to their teammates which has the benefits of increasing confidence, self-esteem, performance on cognitive tasks and engagement in healthy and pro-social behaviours. It also lowers their physiological stress response and biased processing of negative information. The question we put to our creative director (who has a PhD in positive social psychology), Dr Philly Harris, was how do escape rooms do this.

That Sense of Achievement

Nothing quite beats that feeling of finding out you’re good at something, especially when it’s something unexpected. Escape rooms give people that feeling of ‘Yes! I did it!’ over and over again so they tap into that essential human need for achievement to validate their self-worth and self-esteem. We hear so many people walking into our escape rooms saying things like ‘I’m going to be terrible at this’ and generally putting themselves down but then getting incredibly excited when they solve something and find out they are good at it after all. Because escape rooms like ours are full of lots of little puzzles and things to find as well as the overall goal or larger puzzles, it means the teams and individuals get to experience that feeling of achievement repeatedly during the game which means they receive lots of self-esteem boosts and leave with a real feel-good factor about themselves.

Everyone Has a Moment to Shine

Making our puzzles as varied as possible is something we put a lot of time and effort into. This is because everyone’s mind works differently and people have different strengths so, in playing our escape rooms, everyone has a chance to find something they’re good at. Even something as simple as spotting a hidden key or finding an important clue can give individuals a sense of achievement so they feel they’ve contributed to the team effort. We design our puzzles so that people with all different strengths, whether that’s in numbers, words, colours, shapes, logic or even humour, can find something they’re good at and feel good about.

Working Together

Bringing teams together is, clearly, what team building is all about so our rooms are designed to help facilitate that. Philly and her team have designed some puzzles that simply cannot be completed unless people work together. The overall objective of the room (which is never to simply ‘escape the room’ as the name ‘escape room’ suggests) is a team effort too so even if people are working on separate puzzles, they are doing it to achieve a common goal. When a team completes a room, it is everyone’s shared victory. This helps to fulfil that other fundamental human need for human connection and helps bond a team together.

A Great Leveller

No one really knows what to expect in an escape room they haven’t done before. Whether a team member is a manager in their normal job or a specialist in a certain area, it won’t necessarily help them in an escape room. All of our scenarios are based on very unusual situations, like stealing a diamond or saving the Royal Pavilion from demolition, so no one’s work experience is really going to help them. This means that, no matter people’s role in the company they work for, they start on an even keel. Working together and bonding is much easier when you start on this basis.

Staff teams who come to play escape room games at Pier Pressure leave with big grins on their faces and take all that positivity, built up self-worth and team closeness with them. Many teams use our escape rooms to give their staff nights out a great start or to bring all that happy energy back to the workplace. Teams who have play our rooms include office staff, police officers, hospital workers, tradespeople and even footballers so there really is something for everyone. To talk to us about our team building packages, please get in touch on 01273 220388 or email