In the ever-changing work environment, company habits are slow to adapt to the 21st-century worker. More than ever, employees are logging more hours, seeing shorter deadlines, and as a result -- companies are seeing more employee burnout. In a 2018 poll conducted by Gallup, nearly 25 percent of full-time employees reported feeling burnout "very often or always."

While employee burnout can seem like an issue carried solely on the backs of individual workers, that is a misidentification of the effects surrounding the modern-day workforce. In fact, employee burnout, in turn, may have greater implications for employers compared to their team members. That same poll found that burnt out employees are 63 percent more likely to take a sick day, and over 2.5 times more likely to look for a different job.

Currently, two of the main causes of burnout are:

  • Lack of communication and internal workplace support
  • Lack of role clarity

So is workplace burnout a foregone conclusion? While everyone is undeniably going to feel exhausted from work at various points throughout their career, the degree of frustration and fatigue being seen in 2020 is neither sustainable or healthy -- but workforce trends can be reversed. One major factor in promoting a positive employee experience between the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. is enacting continued team building.

Team building may not always have the best reputation amongst employees and has often been carried out in a half-hearted effort to provide employee entertainment, but has actually acted as a trojan horse in attempting to instill corporate values. This negates the benefit by devaluing the experience, and further exacerbating employee burnout. However, when the proper investment is made from the top down, a company is able to better retain and grow from the ground -- up.

When team building is done right, it creates an appreciative and sacrificial atmosphere that illustrates how employers value their employees beyond "task-doers." Furthermore, it often creates better relationships between co-workers by building trust, mitigating conflict, increasing collaboration, and encouraging communication.

How to Make Team Building Effective

Team building is a fluid process. It's not a set it and forget it solution. To cultivate a positive work environment, it requires a day-in-day-out mindset that goes beyond the occasional events and activities that are typically associated with team building. What's done outside the office must be translated back inside, because team building isn't a light switch you decide to turn on and off. The relationships, camaraderie, and communication patterns developed through these stimulating events produce a net gain of ZERO if company leaders do not continuously support those same feelings during the nuance of a regular workweek.

If this atmosphere is apparent and promoted, not only will employees respect each other more, but a greater sense of respect for the company will also result. Furthermore, team building isn't some millennial-driven fad, it is an essential component of any workplace -- and has been for decades.

Escape Rooms a Growing Trend for Team Building

The team building activity is almost as important as the attitude attached to the exercise itself. Popular and cookie-cutter team building events come off as stale and disinteresting. Get away from the desk, and loosen your necktie. Team building isn't going to work if team members are in any way thinking about the pile of emails sitting in their inbox. Therefore, company leaders need to invest in off the wall ideas that break the mold. The central goal is to create an environment that promotes individuals to grow together as a collective whole. This isn't done over a game of Giant Jenga in the office conference room.

Escape rooms have quickly found a foothold within the team building space. The time-based activity is both unique and mentally stimulating for team members. These puzzle-based games allow team members to exit the office and step into an atmosphere that opens the door for collaboration, communication, relationship building, and good old fashioned -- fun!

The explosion of escape rooms across the country is undoubtedly tied to the identified need for team building within the workplace. In 2014 there were only 22 escape rooms in the United States. Today, well over 2,000 different escape rooms exist.

If both public and private employers want to end the revolving door of employee burnout, then it is time to reinvest back into their employees through team building activities like escape rooms. This puzzle is not too hard to solve.

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