Virtual Reality in the Office

For the majority of the employed population, life at work begins and ends in an office environment. Whether that be a social and open plan community or a glass booth for your MacBook and pot plant, Virtual Reality (VR) is offering to transform them all.

The most exciting VR office addition at the moment is Breakroom. Although still a working process, there is much to be said about the concept and how much it could change the way we work, and how efficiently we work. Intended to be available on both the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive, Breakroom is an application which transforms the headset into a ‘multi-monitor’ system.

Whereas previously we have struggled switching between multiple open tabs, everything can now be viewed just by turning your head. Founded in 2014, the programme removes the limitations of a single computer monitor and instead offers unrestricted numbers of “floating 2D monitors” with a background of our choice. Your background choice could take you to the ocean, the middle of the countryside or even up into space.

Instead of working in an office filled with distractions, a user can put on headphones and a headset and be immediately transported to a quiet location. From here the work can be done without losing a moment’s time on small talk or group coffee breaks.

The Breakroom programme also eradicates one of the greatest concerns businesses have, privacy. Many employees can be put off from doing work in public places, particularly on public transport despite being a productive use of time, for fear of who might be reading over their shoulder. With a VR headset, you are the only one who can see the documents.

For more information about what VR might mean for the future of computer monitors, have a read of this article about how a developer coding for Virtual Reality programmes could do it using Virtual Reality. It is a somewhat strange paradox, but very interesting.
Another (usually dull) element of office life is the health and safety training days. Even when you think it cannot be possible for your manager to run through another PowerPoint presentation, they probably will. Within minutes you will find yourself zoned-out and thinking about dinner. The next thing you know, the training day has ended and you are none the wiser as to any health and safety protocols. This is not good for you nor your employer. VR enables you to live different experiences, which demonstrates health and safety measures.

To feel physically involved in an experience which brings health and safety practices to life, guarantees a more useful day of training. Additionally, the more engaged you are in something, the more likely you are to pick it up and recall it long term. Certainly the novelty of VR is far from wearing off and anything is more interesting than a linear presentation.

VR can do more than just look after your current employees, it can guarantee you the best future employees. Interviews using VR is an efficient upgrade on customary Skype or phone calls when you don’t have the opportunity to conduct the interview face-to-face.

Another element of the interview process, psychometric testing, could become entirely immersive with VR, moving it out of the 2D screen and into a more ‘real-life’ scenario. For personality tests, an interviewee could be asked to use VR to demonstrate how they would conduct themselves during a specific social interaction. This would offer an interviewer the best understanding of how a person would react to certain situations and whether they are therefore suitable for the job. For example, if you were looking for a new sales assistant, you could design a VR scenario with a particularly difficult customer, put them on the spot and see how they react.

So keep an eye on how Virtual Reality use develops in the office space, because it might just transform your business and keep you ahead of the competition.

To learn more, keep yourself updated with our weekly feature articles on VR!

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