5 ways VR can transform the workplace

By Luke Fitzpatrick

virtual reality
Image source: 123RF

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

Thanks to Facebook’s investment in technology in 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’s particularly advantageous for tasks that require a practical application. Companies like NASA have been using virtual reality for space simulations and to conduct practical sessions for specific tasks and activities.

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

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

While VR can be crystal clear, people with impaired vision may experience blur. There are a couple of solutions to improve the experience, including in-built prescription lenses. 

Speed up learning 

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

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

Cut costs 

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, meaning fewer chances for mistakes that could result in 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 must send their employees on trips out of the city or abroad for comprehensive training. But with VR, they can simulate the same training experience without the added cost of travel. 

Change up boring memos and announcements 

While email and instant messaging are undoubtedly here to stay, sometimes more than memos are needed to capture your employee’s attention. Never worry about unopened company news ever 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 working and collaboration, there’s no denying that there’s still nothing quite like face-to-face meetings. Virtual reality can transform virtual meetings into a collaborative space where team members can interact more naturally. When that isn’t possible, VR is your next best option. 

In-person meetings allow you to catch important nonverbals, such as body language and facial expressions, which aren’t apparent in video conferencing. 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 suits the schedule of your meeting, from serious boardrooms for planning sessions to a seaside escape for team-building activities. 

3. Enhance the product development process

Creating physical prototypes of products can be extremely expensive and time-consuming. It could take multiple physical prototypes before reaching “the one,” which means environmental waste. Creating virtual prototypes with the help of VR could make the process more efficient and cut down the development timeline. 

Computer-generated prototypes can be edited and adjusted on the spot and tested almost immediately. Integrating VR into your product development will cut 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 into your company is by showing them what it’s like to work in your office. Often, recruiters posted in job fairs rely on video tours and spiels 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 experiences and look beyond the promise of good pay. Using VR in recruitment will provide your potential hires with an unforgettable immersive experience that will surely help your company stand out. 

5. Provide entertainment and relief to employees 

One way to retain employees is to allow them some downtime 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 to improve mental health and encourage resilience and results. 

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

Summing up 

Many tech companies have specifically built solutions 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 boost your business’s overall performance — cutting costs, increasing productivity, and keeping your employees happy. The good news is that as more corporations integrate 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 guest lecturer at the University of Sydney, lecturing in Cross-Cultural Management and the Pre-MBA Program.

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