Virtual vs. Physical Escape Rooms

May 16, 2022

4-min read

Chelsea Emerick


Can virtual escape rooms be the new norm? Or do physical escape rooms still have plenty to offer those looking to connect their teams on a deeper level? Discover the benefits of both offerings and see which is the right fit for your team.

A Quick Look at Virtual and Physical Escape Rooms

Established in 2007 and finding commercial success in the 2010s, physical escape rooms took off as a fun experience for families and friends to work together in an unfamiliar environment. Often themed, physical escape rooms have become a 21st-century outing that measures up to a night out bowling or going to the cinema. 

Virtual escape rooms, on the other hand, are a newer development. Established in the late 2010s and mainly arising in popularity during the pandemic, online escape rooms provide the thrill of a traditional escape room experience without having to leave your home or office. They can be played entirely online, connecting teams through conferencing platforms and apps like Mobile Adventures, to create an immersive experience. 

Side by Side

While physical escape rooms are certainly more established than virtual escape rooms, they are tethered to their locations. In some cases, this can be incredibly convenient, particularly for teams who all live and work in the same area. Their tactile environments also offer an experience that is hard to replicate online. While they have risen in popularity and can be found in most major cities, their accessibility leaves something to be desired for those who live and work in remote areas. 

Meanwhile, online escape rooms provide a much more immediate offering. Their accessibility and affordability make them a flexible choice that can conveniently slot into an employee’s calendar. With the development of virtual events growing astronomically, the diverse range of themes and activities that fall into the category of virtual escape rooms also makes them stiff competition to a local business that offers physical escape rooms.

Escape Rooms in a Post-Pandemic World

While physical escape rooms are slowly returning to business as usual in a post-pandemic world, there is no denying that online escape rooms hit their stride during the pandemic. The opportunity to connect distant teams in a virtual space that focused on tasks that provide engaging challenges and team building was, and still is, a hard thing to pass up. As many teams have adapted to working remotely and have no plans for that to change, the allure of virtual team building activities is attractive to many companies. 

This does not mean that physical escape rooms are done for though. An increase in in-person events ahead of the Summer of 2022 is proving that getting back to socializing like we did before COVID-19 struck in 2020 is on the rise. Real-time connections can’t always be replicated in the same way through a virtual event, and now that many countries are lifting their restrictions being able to see one another face to face is incredibly valuable.

Striking the Balance

More recently a newer phenomenon has struck many remote workers, Zoom fatigue. This particular exhaustion stemmed from working remotely has raised the question of the value of virtual vs. in-person interactions. Depending on the way your company operates, you may find that you’re able to strike a balance between the two quite harmoniously. 

For day-to-day operations, you may find that the flexibility of remote work suits your team best, whereas a wider company initiative like an annual conference is the perfect opportunity to bring everyone together. The same balance can be considered when looking at online escape rooms and physical escape rooms.

Assess the needs of your team and ask them point-blank, you may find you’ll receive valuable input.

Which Works Best for You?

By factoring in the needs of your wider team you should be able to assess whether or not a virtual escape room or physical escape room best suits your needs. Perhaps you need to accommodate a large group of people, in which case you might find an online escape room a more flexible option. Discover more about virtual escape rooms for large groups

Perhaps you have a small team that you’re quite comfortable with and would like to create a Friday activity to end the week on a high note, in which case you may find a local physical escape room a perfect solution. In any case, there’s no denying that both solutions are here to stay.

No matter what you choose, you’re ultimately investing in a solution that aims to bring your team closer. Deepening connections within your team is a helpful step in opening up communication and collaboration between your employees. This makes for a more effective and efficient team, just by doing the research you’re on your way!

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