- Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have the potential to boost the global economy by nearly $2 trillion by 2030.
- In the workplace, VR and AR can be used for training, work meetings, and to enhance the customer service experience.
- Research has found that VR can reduce staff training time by up to 60%, which means that VR could help cultivate a more productive workplace culture.
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have the potential to boost the global economy by nearly $2 trillion by 2030, according to a report by PWC. It’s only a matter of time before these technologies will be common in the workplace.
Even before the pandemic and the onset of remote working, the workplace had been changing as new technologies permeated work. One of these technologies is X-Reality.
X-Reality refers to the merging of the digital with the real world. The “X” in X-Reality stands for the four technologies: Augmented, Mixed, Assisted, and Virtual Reality.
X-Reality, particularly VR, aims to make a user’s interaction with the digital world more seamless and intuitive. The new human-technology interaction has the potential to create direct added value for companies while also providing them with a competitive advantage. VR can be used for training, work meetings, and to enhance the customer service experience.
Founding Director of the Virtual Human Interaction Lab Jeremy Bailenson has said that VR’s sensory immersion is key to its effectiveness because everything looks and sounds as if they were real. This means that the brain processes virtual reality as though it were a real experience.
In 2019, Walmart trained more than 1 million employees using VR. In the virtual world, cashiers were taught to show greater empathy and retail workers experienced how to deal with armed robbery. VR is an engaging way to help train employees because it allows them to react to certain hypothetical situations then analyze their reactions.
Benefits of Virtual Reality in the Workplace
VR has the ability to enable realistic multi-sensory experiences that are applicable to staff training, manufacturing, sales, and service. Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits of VR in the workplace.
- VR can reduce staff training time by up to 60%.
- For training, it could be used to safely simulate hazardous or stressful conditions, as well as reduce the risks involved when inexperienced recruits are learning to use expensive tools and machinery.
- VR can allow managers to practice soft skills such as communication, empathy, and leadership.
- This application is well suited to support remote working, virtually troubleshooting malfunctions, and creating virtual environments for hands-on team interaction.
- VR workplace solutions have significantly reduced employees’ time in completing tasks, enabling the quick mastery of skills, and hugely reduced errors and the need for service calls.
- This application can also provide workers with a private virtual workspace, which can be especially appreciated if their physical locations don’t afford them the privacy they need.
A PWC report predicted that nearly 23 million jobs worldwide would be using AR and VR by 2030. VR used within businesses is forecasted to grow from $829 million in 2018 to $4.26 billion in 2023, according to ARtillery Intelligence.
Last year, Facebook’s VR headset brand Horizon, an Oculus for Business platform, was released. Currently in beta, Facebook Horizon will allow its users to build and share collaborative online worlds where they are able to hang out, play games, or work together on projects. This may assist workers in interacting digitally in a more immersive way, without the need to commute to a location, therefore supporting the dynamics of a hybrid work model.
VR can intensify the lessons and comprehension of both new trainees and experienced workers. Some workplace scenarios are dangerous and training for them can be unsafe. VR headsets and accessories ensure the necessary experience without any inherent risk.
Considerations When Bringing X-Reality into the Workplace
- VR/AR technology allows for information that has not been previously collected on a broad scale to be mined. While this is great news, organizations deploying this type of technology will need to maintain workers’ privacy and security top of mind.
- Another factor to consider is that training in a virtual environment can turn into an uncomfortable and disorientating experience for some. Side effects associated with virtual training include headaches, eye strain, and nausea. This means that workers with certain disabilities may not be able to participate and companies need to plan for this.
- Current VR software isn’t accurate at responding to subtle microaggressions yet, like an employee rolling their eyes or raising their voice. In the future, VR could be programmed to understand the complexities of human interaction and help people make better decisions. But for now, that isn’t the case.
As AI-powered natural language processing improves, during VR training, AI will be able to evaluate employees and determine areas of improvement, their fit for future positions and specific roles.
VR can provide entities with opportunities for greater efficiency, accuracy, and productivity for their workforce. VR’s relevance in the workplace will continue as the need to develop more relevant experiences in safety procedures and equipment operation grows. In the future, VR may be the primary tool an organization uses to cultivate a productive culture.