Beneficial Use of Virtual Reality in the Workspace
In the modern workplace, people have grown accustomed to working online while using all kinds of digital technologies. This was the case at the office before all of the quarantine measures took effect, and it is certainly true nowadays in the remote work culture. However, the problem with such communication is that it is not very personal. This is where virtual reality can become a real game-changer and allow online communication to be as realistic and personal as face-to-face conversations. With all of this in mind, let’s first find out what a virtual office is and then take a look at some of the benefits and added values of having VR in the workplace.
What is a Virtual Reality Office, and Why is it so Popular?
A VR office is an exact replica of your physical office but in virtual reality. Everything that goes on in your traditional office setting can be transferred over to the virtual one, with many benefits, as we shall see later on. The reason the virtual office has become so popular is that it frees us from the confines of our remote work location and allows us to interact with our collogues just like we did back in the office. For example, just like everybody used to gather around the watercooler and discuss current events, the same can go on in virtual reality as well.
VR work opens up a world of new possibilities and benefits that can help you get a business advantage. Let’s take a look at some of the ways companies are already using virtual reality in the office to get ahead of the competition.
Take Your Collaboration to the Next Level
Even though it is not possible to travel and meet your customers and partners, you can still get together and communicate as if you were in the same room together. When you put on a headset and noise-canceling headphones, you will enter a virtual meeting room where you can meet all participants just like you would in real life. The practical implications are huge. In a regular Zoom or Skype meeting, you are often unable to pick up on body language and other nonverbal communication. Sometimes the meetings are held without video altogether.
Interaction online is very impersonal, and people feel cut off since there is really no substitute for personal communication. As a result, it gets harder to maintain your concentration, and prolonged isolation can lead to less productivity and friction inside your team.
There’s No Substitute for Experience. Or is there?
Whenever we start a new job, there is usually an adjustment period that allows you to settle in, while your employer provides you with some training. For example, for sales professionals, companies usually have a script and other materials to help them get prepared for making calls and meeting clients. However, what if you were able to go beyond the traditional practices and offer your new employees life-like experiences through VR. Instead of role-playing conversations with prospects, the salesperson can put on a VR helmet and feel like they are sitting in the client’s office and giving a presentation.
The same can be applied in the customer service area since representatives need to know the best way to impact, retain, and understand customer satisfaction. This is usually done by trying out various greetings, tone of voice, body language, and handling customer complaints. All of these skills are difficult to acquire with abstract situations. A virtual reality workspace can help your team turn disgruntled customers into happy ones. Best of all, our employees can start acquiring these skills before they even get out into the real world with the help of VR.
Help Out Your HR Department
Since HR departments need to continue reading resumes and interviewing candidates, they have no choice but to hold the interview via Zoom or Skype. This is not helpful for either HR or the candidates. It is hard for the interviewer to truly get an understanding of what the person is all about, and it is hard for the candidate to find whether or not they see themselves working in your company. This is why virtual reality interviews can substitute in-person meetings since everybody will be meeting almost face-to-face and will be able to pick up on subtleties like emotions, gestures, and body language.
Also, one of the things HR professionals do after the interview is offer the candidate a tour of the office. With a regular Zoom or Skype call, this is not possible, but if you have a VR office, this opens a world of opportunities for you. You can even go a step beyond the traditional tour and offer the candidate to experience a regular day at the office all in VR.
Issues with VR Adoption
We mentioned some of the benefits that come with VR adoption, but we also need to consider some of the challenges:
- Since the technology is still being perfected, the user experience still has a long way to go
- Production of VR is still costly. Therefore, companies need to consider whether the benefits of VR are worth the costs.
- While a VR office can be fun, it will take some time for your employees to adjust to the new working style.
As technology advances, we will start seeing new and improved experiences at a lesser cost.
VR Will Play a Bigger Role Due to COVID-19
Nobody knows how long the COVID-19 pandemic will last, which is why companies have decided to develop a VR business solution to help them maintain business activities. Businesses that have already started realizing the benefits of VR can make progress at a time when most companies are standing still. Therefore, even though we are living in a difficult time, we need to try and make the most of the situation, and a VR office is the best way to proceed into the future.