There is no doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic has increased the uptake of technology by businesses. However, as many continue to work remotely and adopt a more flexible style of working, companies need to be taking steps to ensure they are retaining a productive and engaged workforce. Virtual reality (VR) could be the answer for many business leaders, and here’s why.
Addressing ‘Zoom fatigue’
With what feels like never-ending days of video calls online, VR stands to be an engaging alternative, creating a sense of co-presence that surpasses the quality of connection that many of us experience through Zoom or Teams. It can really feel like you’re in the room together, rather than talking through screens, where conversations can often feel stunted and unnatural.
In addition, as a first-person experience, you’re less distracted by seeing your own image all the time and therefore missing out on crucial opportunities to communicate. It is also a more immersive and sensory process, as you can walk around spaces together and speak side-by-side like you would during a meeting in person.
VR technology is already proving itself as an incredibly valuable training tool for both technical and soft skills; simulating reality so that employees involved in training exercises are immersed in an environment where they believe that what they are experiencing is actually happening. Ultimately, this provides a more engaging and realistic training experience, as opposed to simply learning through watching a video online or following guidance outlined in text. For example, it could be an exercise to monitor how investment professionals make simulated ESG decisions over the course of an anticipated period of time.
Connecting colleagues and businesses globally
Global businesses are starting to take note of the positive impact that VR can have when it comes to connecting people across the world. As employees continue to work remotely, the ability for teams to be able to connect in a shared space, whilst retaining their ability to work from home, will be hugely beneficial for employee satisfaction and engagement. Additionally, bringing specialists from different parts of the world together to work on developing ideas is often sporadic and expensive due to the cost of travel and accommodation. Meetings in VR removes these barriers, allowing colleagues to continue to connect and collaborate in a range of digital spaces that are purposely designed to stimulate creative thinking.
Profile raising with new business opportunities
One area less thought about is how VR can be a fantastic tool to engage audiences and leave a lasting impression when speaking to new business prospects. You have the creative control to select an environment that can be tailored to suit the interests of your potential business prospect, and you’re demonstrating to them that you are a business implementing the latest technologies to do business better.
New business meetings are also made much more accessible, with VR removing the need for travel or a physical meeting space.
Recruiting new staff
Furthermore, the recruitment process, as we currently understand it, can easily be transferred to VR as both parties are able to feel like they are meeting in person and able to have life-like conversations, helping establish if they are a good fit for the business whilst saving time and removing travel expenses. Some businesses may use VR to see how candidates react to specific scenarios, such as risk taking in an interview for an investment company.
Opportunities are also opened up for ‘remote’ interviews for those who previously might not have been able to travel with significant ease, such as individuals with disabilities.
The versatility of VR
Ultimately, VR can work for any business. It’s a tool for company leaders to leave a lasting impression, shaking-up the traditional way of hosting meetings, conferences and other events, as well as being a way to show your workforce and clients that you’re going to extra mile to help people adapt to flexible working. Although it can appear daunting at first, businesses should be open-minded to exploring VR, because it will only serve to enhance their company and boost productivity across a workforce.
Andrew Hawken, CEO of Mesmerise