By Luke Fitzpatrick
When talking about VR technology, many would associate it with its use in the gaming industry or even as an innovative way to market travel destinations. But as the technology evolved and became more widely available, we’ve seen its application in education, medicine, and even VR in the workplace.
Thanks to Facebook’s investments in technology over the past decade, many companies have adapted VR to their businesses to develop a future-proof and innovative workplace. However, here are ten ways you can use VR to enhance your workplace:
1. Create groundbreaking training programs
VR can help companies create an immersive learning experience that is particularly beneficial for tasks that require hands-on application. Companies like NASA use virtual reality for space simulations and to conduct hands-on sessions for specific tasks and activities.
Another famous and perhaps more relatable example would be KFC’s training program, which combines virtual reality and real-world elements to create a unique learning experience for brand-new chefs. The chain uses VR to complement its training programs, combining eLearning and hands-on courses.
Taking the role of VR in gaming and applying it to your workplace’s training programs can make for a more exciting experience for everyone.
While VR can be crystal clear, there can be some blurring for those with low vision. There are a few solutions to enhance the experience, including built-in prescription lenses.
Employees who undergo VR training are better prepared for real-world applications and require less time to adapt. The technology can reduce training time, especially during rollouts of new technologies.
A great example would be Walmart’s use of VR to train its employees before using new pickup technologies in-store. Using VR resulted in fewer errors compared to on-the-job training and reduced training time from eight hours to 15 minutes.
While any tech investment may sound like a crippling expense, VR can save your business money in the long run. With more consistent training, your employees will be better prepared for the job, which means fewer mistakes that can lead to loss or damage.
By allowing your employees to practice and train in a simulated environment, you can also spend less money on equipment and trainers. Many companies have to send their employees abroad or abroad for extensive training. But with VR, they can simulate the same training experience without additional travel costs.
Change boring memos and announcements
While email and instant messaging will no doubt be here to stay, sometimes it takes more than memos to get your employees’ attention. Never worry about unopened company news again. VR can inspire your team to make announcements and 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 better than in-person meetings. Virtual reality can turn virtual meetings into a collaborative space where team members can interact more naturally. If that’s not possible, VR is your next best option.
Face-to-face meetings allow you to capture important non-verbal expressions, such as body language and facial expressions, that aren’t visible in video conferencing. Through VR, you can create a 3D model where teammates can meet and interact wherever they are in the world.
Plus, you can create a virtual environment to fit your meeting schedule, from serious boardrooms for meeting planning to a seaside retreat for team building activities.
3. Improvement of the product development process
Creating physical prototypes of products can be extremely expensive and time consuming. Multiple physical prototypes may be required before “the one” is achieved, which is a waste of the environment. Creating virtual prototypes using VR could make the process more efficient and reduce development time.
Computer generated prototypes can be edited and adjusted on site and tested almost immediately. Integrating VR into your product development lowers costs and allows your team to explore more variations without worrying about cost and feasibility.
Automotive companies like Ford and BMW use VR in 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 and recruit top talent to your company is to show them what it’s like to work in your office. Recruiters hired at job fairs often 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 instant on-the-job training.
Today’s young workers embrace experience and look beyond the promise of good pay. The use of VR in recruitment offers your potential employees an unforgettable, immersive experience that will surely help your company stand out.
5. Provide entertainment and relief for employees
One way to retain employees is to give them time off during work hours to relax and recharge. VR can offer your employees a mini escape and help them stay happy and sane. Studies have shown that virtual reality can be an excellent tool to improve mental health and promote resilience and outcomes.
Of course, to get back to the roots of VR, you can also allow your team to enjoy a healthy VR gaming session to unwind after a hard day’s work.
Many technology companies have developed specific workplace VR solutions designed to improve many aspects of a business, from employee training to product development.
When used strategically, virtual reality can improve the overall performance of your business – reducing costs, increasing productivity and making your employees happy. The good news is that technology is becoming more affordable and cost-effective as more companies integrate VR into their business.
About the author
Luke Fitzpatrick has been featured in Forbes, Yahoo News and Influencive. He is also a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Sydney, lecturing on Cross-Cultural Management and the Pre-MBA programme.