By Luke Fitzpatrick
When talking about VR technology, many associate it with its uses in the gaming industry or even as an innovative way to market travel destinations. But as the technology has grown and become more widely available, we’ve seen its application in education, medicine, and even virtual reality in the workplace.
Thanks to Facebook’s investments in technology over the past decade, many companies have adapted virtual reality to their businesses to develop an innovative and scalable workplace. That said, here are ten ways to use virtual reality to improve your workplace:
1. Create game-changing training programs
Virtual reality 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 organize hands-on sessions for specific tasks and activities.
Another famous and perhaps more relevant example would be KFC’s training program which mixes virtual reality and real-world elements to create a unique learning experience for new cooks. The channel uses virtual reality to complement its training programs, combining eLearning and practical courses.
Taking the role of virtual reality in gaming and applying it to your workplace training programs can create a more exciting experience for everyone.
While virtual reality can be crystal clear, people with low vision can experience blurring. There are several solutions to enhance the experience, including built-in prescription lenses.
Employees who take VR training will be better prepared for real-world applications and will need less time to adapt. Technology can reduce training time, especially for new technology deployments.
A good example would be Walmart’s use of virtual reality to train its employees before using new in-store pickup technology. Using virtual reality resulted in fewer errors compared to on-the-job training sessions and reduced training time from eight hours to 15 minutes.
Lower the costs
While any technology investment can seem like a crippling expense, virtual reality can save your business money in the long run. With more consistent training, your employees will be better prepared for the job, which means less chance of mistakes that can lead to loss or damage.
Allowing employees to train and practice 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 overseas for comprehensive training. But with virtual reality, they can simulate the same training experience without additional travel costs.
Change annoying memos and announcements
While email and instant messaging are definitely here to stay, sometimes it takes more than memos to capture your employee’s attention. Never worry about unopened company news again. VR can make your team more excited about announcements and will increase engagement.
2. Improve communication and collaboration between different offices
While many productivity and conferencing apps have paved the way for remote working and collaboration, it’s undeniable that there’s still no such thing as face-to-face meetings. Virtual reality can turn virtual meetings into a collaborative space where team members can interact more naturally. When that’s not possible, virtual reality is your best option.
In-person meetings allow you to catch important non-verbal elements, such as body language and facial expressions, that aren’t apparent in video conferences. Using virtual reality, 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 that suits your meeting schedule, from serious conference rooms for planning sessions to a seaside getaway for team building activities.
3. Improve the product development process
Creating physical product prototypes can be extremely expensive and time-consuming. It could take several physical prototypes before reaching “the one”, i.e. environmental waste. Creating virtual prototypes using virtual reality could make the process more efficient and reduce development time.
Computer-generated prototypes can be modified and adjusted on-site and tested almost immediately. Incorporating VR into your product development will reduce costs and allow your team to explore more variants without worrying about expense and feasibility.
Automotive companies like Ford and BMW are using virtual reality 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 useful when testing prototypes.
4. Boost the hiring and recruiting process
One of the best ways to attract top talent and recruit them to your company is to show them what it’s like to work in your office. Often, recruiters displayed at career fairs rely on video tours and spiels to attract visitors to their booth. But with virtual reality, you can take top talent on a virtual tour of your office and let them experience instant on-the-job training.
Young workers today embrace experimentation and look beyond the promise of good pay. Using virtual reality in recruitment will provide your potential recruits with an unforgettable immersive experience that will surely help your business stand out.
5. Provide entertainment and relief to employees
One way to retain employees is to allow them downtime during work hours where they can relax and recharge. Virtual reality can provide a mini escape for your employees and help keep them happy and mentally healthy. Studies have shown that virtual reality can be a great 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 unwind after a busy day at work.
Many technology companies have specifically designed solutions for virtual reality in the workplace, designed to improve many aspects of a business, from employee training to product development.
When used strategically, virtual reality can improve your overall business performance by reducing costs, increasing productivity, and keeping your employees happy. The good news is that as more businesses integrate virtual reality into their operations, the technology is becoming more affordable and cost effective than ever.
About the Author
Luke Fitzpatrick has been featured in Forbes, Yahoo News and Influencive. He is also a guest lecturer at the University of Sydney, teaching courses on cross-cultural management and the pre-MBA curriculum.
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