The great escape? Team building solutions during the covid-19 pandemic




gamification, employee motivation, team building, escape room


Gamification is the use of game-design elements and game principles (dynamics and mechanics) in non-game contexts to increase user engagement and develop user skills. Numerous studies have shown that gamification can be used effectively to build employee relationships at work, improve their social connections, and thus increase their commitment to the workplace. The COVID-19 pandemic, by limiting face-to-face communications, has presented a number of challenges and called for new solutions to motivate employees and build and maintain workplace relationships. Escape rooms were a popular team-building gamification solution, which also appeared on online platforms during the lockdowns. In this work, the authors use user data from a gamified online application to investigate changes during the outbreak. In parallel, they analyse user data from an online escape room platform to explore the extent to which workplaces have taken advantage of this new virtual team-building solution to break employees out of the monotony.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Szabina Fodor, Corvinus University of Budapest

Associate Professor


AI@Work, O. (2020). As Uncertainty Remains, Anxiety and Stress Reach a Tipping Point at Work. Retrieved from

Barna, B. (2020). Gamifikáció hatásának vizsgálata vállalati és oktatási közegben (Doktori értekezés). Budapesti Corvinus Egyetem, Budapest.

Barna, B., & Fodor, S. (2018a). Gamification’s Impact on Employee Engagement: Enhancing Employee Well-Being with a Cloud Based Gamified Team-Building Application. In 2018 6th International Conference on Future Internet of Things and Cloud Workshops (FiCloudW) (pp. 203-208). Piscataway, NJ: IEEE. 10.1109/W-FiCloud.2018.00039

Barna, B., & Fodor, S. (2018b). Gamifikált közösségi megoldás használata a kedvezőbb munkahelyi légkör kialakítása érdekében. Vezetéstudomány, 49(3), 2-10.

Battlejungle. (2021). Battlejungle. Retrieved from

Bitrián, P., Buil, I., & Catalán, S. (2020). Gamification in sport apps: the determinants of users’ motivation. European Journal of Management and Business Economics, 29(3), 365-381.

Brouwer, R. (2016). When competition is the loser: The indirect effect of intra-team competition on team performance through task complexity, team conflict and psychological safety. In 49th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS) 2016, (pp. 1348-1357). Piscataway, NJ: IEEE.

Chanana, N. (2021). Employee engagement practices during COVID‐19 lockdown. Journal of Public Affairs, 21(4), e2508.

Czeily, T., & Dajnoki, K. (2021). Játékosítás, mint a HR új stratégiai eszköze. ECONOMICA, 12(1), 1-10.

DataCamp. (2022). 2022 D ata t rends a nd p redictions. Retrieved from

Deterding, S., Dixon, D., Khaled, R., & Nacke, L. (2011). From game design elements to gamefulness: defining “gamification”. In Proceedings of the 15th international academic MindTrek conference: Envisioning future media environments (pp. 9-15). New York: ACM DL.

Farkas, F., Jarjabka, Á., Lóránd, B., & Bálint, B. (2013). Munkahelyi motivációk Magyarországon 2013-ban. Vezetéstudomány, 44(10), 12-23.

Fodor, S., & Barna, B. (2020). An empirical study on key factors affecting user engagement in a gamified team building environment. International Journal of Serious Games, 7(3), 81-95.

Fosslien, L. (2021). What You’re Getting Wrong About Burnout. MIT Sloan Management Review.

Fromann, R. (2012). Gamification – épülőben a Homo Ludens társadalma? Retrieved from

Gómez, S. M., Mendoza, O. E. O., Ramírez, J., & Olivas- Luján, M. R. (2020). Stress and myths related to the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on remote work. Management Research, 18(4), 401-420.

Gray, P., Cross, R., & Arena, M. (2021). Use Networks to Drive Culture Change. MIT Sloan Management Review, 63(2), 51-58.

Hosseini, C., Humlung, O., Fagerstrøm, A., & Haddara, M. (2022). An experimental study on the effects of gamification on task performance. Procedia Computer Science, 196, 999-1006.

Kenéz, A. (2015). Gamification – a játékok alkalmazása a marketingben és a marketingoktatásban. Marketing & Management, 49(4), 36-51.

Klerk, J. J. d., Joubert, M., & Mosca, H. F. (2021). Is working from home the new workplace panacea? Lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic for the future world of work. SA Journal of Industrial Psychology, 47(1), 1-14.

Korn, O., Boffo, S., & Schmidt, A. (2015). The effect of gamification on emotions-the potential of facial recognition in work environments. In International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (pp. 489-499). Cham: Springer.

Kovács, T., & Várallyai, L. (2018). A játékosítás az emberi erőforrás területén, egy kreatív toborzási technika napjainkban. International Journal of Engineering and Management Sciences, 3(5), 373-382.

Laker, B., & Roulet, T. (2021). How organizations can promote employee wellness, now and post-pandemic. MIT Sloan Management Review. Retrieved from

Marczewski, A. (2015). Even Ninja Monkeys Like to Play: Gamification, Game Thinking & Motivational Design. London: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

Mathe, H., Pavie, X., & O’keeffe, M. (2011). Valuing people to create value: An innovative approach to leveraging motivation at work. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., Books24x7, Inc.

Microsoft. (2021). The next great disruption is hybrid work: are we ready? Retrieved from

Mollick, E., & Werbach, K. (2015). Gamification and the enterprise. In S. Deterding & S. Waltz (Eds.), The gameful world: Approaches, issues, applications (pp. 439-458). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Moradian, A., Nasir, M., Lyons, K., Leung, R., & Sim, S. E. (2014). Gamification of collaborative idea generation and convergence. In CHI’14 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems ( pp. 1459- 1464). New York: ACM DL.

Morrison, B. B., & DiSalvo, B. (2014). Khan academy gamifies computer science. In Proceedings of the 45th ACM technical symposium on Computer science education (pp. 39-44). New York: ACM DL.

Murphy, M., & Sashi, C. (2018). Communication, interactivity, and satisfaction in B2B relationships. Industrial Marketing Management, 68, 1-12.

Nicholson, S. (2015). A recipe for meaningful gamification. In Wood, L. & Reiners, T. (Eds.), Gamification in education and business (pp. 1-20). New York: Springer.

Pan, R., Lo, H., & Neustaedter, C. (2017). Collaboration, awareness, and communication in real-life escape rooms. In Proceedings of the 2017 conference on designing interactive systems (pp. 1353-1364).New york: ACM DL:

Pataki-Bittó, F., & Kapusy, K. (2021). Work environment transformation in the post COVID-19 based on work values of the future workforce. Journal of Corporate Real Estate, 23(3), 151-169.

Pe-Than, E. P. P., Goh, D. H.-L., & Lee, C. S. (2014). Making work fun: Investigating antecedents of perceived enjoyment in human computation games for information sharing. Computers in Human Behavior, 39, 88- 99.

Pura, J. J. (2020). Linking Motivation and Employee Engagement through Gamification in Remote Working. International Journal of Academe and Industry Research, 3(1), 52-69.

Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55(1), 68-78.

Sailer, M., Hense, J. U., Mayr, S. K., & Mandl, H. (2017). How gamification motivates: An experimental study of the effects of specific game design elements on psychological need satisfaction. Computers in Human Behavior, 69, 371-380.

Salas, E., Rosen, M. A., Burke, C. S., & Goodwin, G. F. (2009). The wisdom of collectives in organizations: an update of the teamwork competencies. In Eduardo Salas, Gerald F. Goodwin, & C. Shawn Burke (Eds.), Team effectiveness in complex organizations (pp. 73- 114). London: Routledge.

Schmidt, R., Schmidt, B., Lattenkamp, K., Scheja, S., & Masuch, M. (2015). Motivational design cards: a practical approach for game-based motivational design at the workplace. In Proceedings of the 19th International Academic Mindtrek Conference (pp. 10-17). NewYork: ACM DL.

Schunk, D. H., & Usher, E. L. (2012). Social cognitive theory and motivation. In The Oxford handbook of human motivation (pp. 13-27). Oxford: OUP.

Shunk, D., Pintrich, P., & Meece, J. (2008). Motivation in education: Theory, Research and Aplications. Harlow: Pearson Education.

Stanculescu, L. C., Bozzon, A., Sips, R.-J., & Houben, G.- J. (2016). Work and play: An experiment in enterprise gamification. In Proceedings of the 19th ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work & Social Computing (pp. 346-358).New York: ACM DL.

Várhegyi, A., & Dóczi, T. (2021). E-Játékosítás a rekreáció szolgálatában. Recreation, 13(4), 40-44.

Venczel-Szakó, T., Balogh, G., & Borgulya, I. (2021). Távmunka, home office. Hogyan érinti a távolról dolgozás a szervezet intern kommunikációját? Vezetéstudomány, 52(2), 73-86.

Verčič, A. T., & Špoljarić, A. (2020). Managing internal communication: How the choice of channels affects internal communication satisfaction. Public Relations Review, 46(3), 101926.

Verplanken, B., & Aarts, H. (1999). Habit, attitude, and planned behaviour: is habit an empty construct or an interesting case of goal-directed automaticity? European Review of Social Psychology, 10(1), 101-134.

Werbach, K., & Hunter, D. (2012). For the win: How game thinking can revolutionize your business. Philadelphia, PE: Wharton Digital Press. World of Escapes. (2022). Retrieved from

Wu, F., Zhao, S., Yu, B., Chen, Y.M., Wang, W., Song, Z.G., Hu, Y., Tao, Z.W., Tian, J.H., Pei, Y.Y. & Yuan, M.L. (2020). A new coronavirus associated with human respiratory disease in China. Nature, 579(7798), 265-269.

Yilmaz, M., & O’Connor, R. V. (2016). A Scrumban integrated gamification approach to guide software process improvement: a Turkish case study. Tehnički vjesnik, 23(1), 237-245.

Zichermann, G., & Cunningham, C. (2011). Gamification by design: Implementing game mechanics in web and mobile apps. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly Media, Inc.




How to Cite

Fodor, S., & Barna, B. (2022). The great escape? Team building solutions during the covid-19 pandemic. Vezetéstudomány Budapest Management Review, 53(12), 18–29.



KSZ: Gamification