5 ways VR can transform the workplace – TechTalks

By Luke Fitzpatrick

When talking about VR technology, many will associate it with its uses in the gaming industry or even as an innovative way to market travel destinations. But as the technology develops and becomes more widely available, we’ve seen its application in education, medicine, and even VR in the workplace.

Thanks to Facebook’s investment in technology over the past decade, many companies have adapted VR to their businesses to develop a future-proof and innovative workplace. That said, here are ten ways you can use VR to improve your workplace:

1. Create game-changing training programs

VR can help businesses create an immersive learning experience that is especially beneficial for tasks that require hands-on application. Companies like NASA have used virtual reality for space simulations and for hands-on sessions for specific tasks and activities.

Another famous and perhaps more relatable example would be the KFC training program that blends virtual reality and real-world elements to create a unique learning experience for brand new chefs. The chain uses VR to supplement its training programs, combining eLearning and hands-on classes.

Taking the role of VR in gaming and applying it to your workplace training programs can create a more exciting experience for everyone.

While VR can be crystal clear, people with vision impairments can experience blur. There are several solutions to improve the experience, including built-in prescription lenses.

Accelerate learning

Employees who go through VR training will be more prepared for real-life applications and will require less time for adjustment. Technology can reduce time spent training, especially for new technology rollouts.

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A great example would be Walmart’s use of VR to train its employees before using new pick-up technology in the store. The use of VR led to fewer errors compared to on-the-job training sessions and reduced training time from eight hours to 15 minutes.

to reduce costs

While any tech investment may sound like a wasteful expense, VR can save your business money in the long run. With more consistent training, your employees are better prepared for work, which means less chance of mistakes leading to loss or damage.

Allowing employees to practice and train in a simulated environment also means you can spend less money on equipment and instructors. Many companies have to send their employees on trips out of town or abroad for comprehensive training. But with VR, they can simulate the same training experience without the added travel costs.

Change boring notes and announcements

While email and instant messaging are undoubtedly here to stay, sometimes more than notes are needed to capture your employee’s attention. Never worry about unopened company news again and again. VR can get your team more excited about announcements and will increase engagement.

2. Improve communication and collaboration between different office locations

While many productivity and teleconferencing apps have paved the way for remote work and collaboration, there’s no denying that there’s still nothing like face-to-face meetings. Virtual reality can transform virtual meetings into a collaborative space where team members can interact more naturally. If that’s not possible, VR is your next best option.

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In-person meetings allow you to catch important nonverbals, such as body language and facial expressions, that cannot be seen in video conferences. Through VR, you can create a 3D model where teammates can meet and interact from wherever they are in the world.

Plus, you can create a virtual environment that fits your meeting schedule, from serious boardrooms for planning sessions to a seaside escape for team building activities.

3. Improve the product development process

Creating physical prototypes of products can be extremely expensive and time consuming. It might take several physical prototypes before you reach “the one”, meaning environmental waste. Creating virtual prototypes with the help of VR could make the process more efficient and shorten the development timeline.

Computer-generated prototypes can be modified and adjusted on the spot and tested almost immediately. Integrating VR into your product development will reduce costs and allow your team to explore more variations without worrying about expenses and feasibility.

Automotive companies like Ford and BMW use VR during their early design stages to test concepts and ideas before anything is physically built. Virtual reality can also help product designers simulate the customer experience, which is extremely helpful when testing prototypes.

4. Boost the hiring and recruitment process

One of the best ways to attract top talent and recruit them to your company is by showing them what it’s like to work in your office. Often, recruiters posted at job fairs rely on video tours and games to attract visitors to their booth. But with VR, you can take top talent on a virtual tour of your office and allow them to experience on-the-job training right away.

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Today’s young workers embrace experiences and look beyond the promise of good pay. Using VR in recruiting will provide your potential employers with an unforgettable immersive experience that will certainly help your company stand out.

5. Provide entertainment and relief for employees

One way to retain employees is to allow them some breaks during work hours where they can relax and recharge. VR can provide a mini escape for your employees and help them stay happy and mentally healthy. Studies have shown that virtual reality can be an excellent tool for improving mental health and encouraging resilience and results.

Of course, going back to the roots of VR, you can also allow your team to enjoy a healthy VR gaming session to relax after a busy day at work.

Summary

Many tech companies have built solutions specifically for VR in the workplace, designed to improve many aspects of a business, from employee training to product development.
When used strategically, virtual reality can increase the overall performance of your business – reducing costs, increasing productivity and keeping your employees happy. The good news is that as more companies incorporate VR into their business, tech is becoming more affordable and cost-effective than ever.

About the author

Luke Fitzpatrick

Luke Fitzpatrick has been published in Forbes, Yahoo News and Influencive. He is also a visiting doctor at the University of Sydney, teaching in Cross-Cultural Management and the Pre-MBA programme.

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