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Virtual reality (VR) is here and one can’t help wonder how it will impact our daily lives at work in the near future. Will we be able to sit at home while joining a virtual meeting room and interact with our colleagues as if we were sitting right next to each other? Will VR be able to incorporate not only the visual and hearing senses, but also our other senses?
While VR technology is not a completely new concept to us, it’s only now that it seems to have become mainstream. In terms of the workplace, the price to implement virtual reality company wide might be an inhibiting factor for some companies as well as all the bulky devices and cables which make it uncomfortable and impractical to wear. VR technology would thus probably require a few more innovative enhancements before we will be able to see it fully incorporated into the workplace.
However, having said all that – Gartner named Immersive technologies such as augmented and virtual reality, as the third top employee-facing technology trends that CIOs will likely use to drive digital workplace transformation. Deloitte Global also predicted that 2016 will already bring virtual reality to its first billion dollar mark.
Collaboration in the workplace will be a space where VR can make a big impact. Employees and customers can appear in the same VR meeting room no matter where in the world they are located. Without needing to fly thousands of kilometers to be in the same country, they will be able to walk into the VR meeting room, have face to face conversations and interactions with each other, sit right next to each other around a table. Alternatively, envision being immersed into a customer’s environment, experiencing exactly what a customer would and as such, being able to brainstorm solutions or new products to better the customer’s experience.
Virtual offices can also become a “reality”, where employees go to instead of having travelled to a physical office. (Imagine all the time that could be saved by avoiding traffic!) The virtual office environments can be set up to inspire and bring out the creative juices, or they can create a serene and soothing atmosphere instead.
Training and education will also benefit greatly as employees will be able to experience situations as close to a real life event as possible. Imagine conducting interviews by observing how candidates behave in the virtual work environment.
For those who are having a bad day at the office and need a “real” break – quickly escape for half an hour to recharge and relax on a picture perfect exotic beach. Or better yet, just work the entire day from the beach if you’re able to. Feeling the sand beneath your feet, smelling the ocean air, hearing the waves break – I’d certainly be a lot more productive.
Let’s not even get started on how office parties will be able to take on a new life!
The possibilities are really endless with VR. Anything we can possibly dream of and so much more will be possible in the VR worlds. We can only hope that the way VR is introduced into the workplace one day will help us maintain a better work-home balance and an improved quality of life while reaching new heights at the office like never before.