Roy Gilbert

Off the beaten path

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Companies eschew traditional team-building for oddball excursions Print this page Team-building activities devised by Agili COO Cindy Joyce include escape rooms and scavenger hunts. Photo by Rick DeBerry Each year, Cindy Joyce spices up her company’s annual fall retreat with a unique team-building activity — roaming the region on scavenger hunts, cooking collective meals, painting landscapes on canvas side-by-side or challenging employees to find their way out of an elaborate trap. “It started as an icebreaker,” says Joyce, chief operating officer of Richmond-based financial services firm Agili. “We have two locations [in Richmond and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania,] so it’s the one time of year when we are all physically together.” Agili’s very first outing in 2011 saw its 24 employees decipher clues in order to make their way out of three tricked-out, themed spaces at Escape Room RVA, which has also hosted teams from Altria, Capital One, Genworth, Dominion Energy and Wells Fargo, among others. “You get to know people a little differently here than in other team-building activities,” says Kelly Powers, the general manager of Escape Room RVA. Its parent company, Ravenchase Adventures, also has escape rooms in Herndon and Arlington. “They learn to use their thought processes in a different way to solve problems.” Team-building has long been common in the workplace, whether it involves charity work, hosting happy hour meetups or holding leadership seminars. While those activities are still popular, companies both large and small have become more imaginative and expansive in their approaches, centering their efforts […]

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