From the humble fax to the latest smartphone, the business world has always looked to new tech for ways to improve operations. And, as one of the best innovations in recent years, virtual reality is already making waves in the sector.
We spoke to Ben Bennett, Managing Director at VR specialists Luminous Group, about how this technology promises to boost productivity in the workplace.
Over the past five years, VR has moved from an exciting concept to a fully realised and developed consumer technology. However, between all the hardware and software releases, virtual reality has been leading a quiet revolution in our workplaces, one that has altered the way businesses operate.
One of the main positives of VR making its way into offices has been a significant boost in productivity. This was evident in a 2018 report by Capgemini, which found that 75% of firms that adopted immersive tech on a large scale benefitted from operational benefits of over 10%.
But, how exactly is VR technology improving the productivity of businesses? Well, I’m going to take you through some of the enhancements that might make you consider adopting the tech yourself.
Removing the need for business travel
Considering that around £39 billion is spent each year on business travel in the UK (Underscore), it’s no surprise that companies spend a large chunk of their annual budgets on sending their employees away for work purposes, not to mention the multiple days away from the office that need to be spent travelling across the world — something that can severely reduce productivity.
This is an area that VR technology is beginning to make much more manageable. By offering a virtual meeting environment where participants can talk, gesture, and share resources in real time, VR can offer something better than video conferencing and more akin to a face-to-face meet-up — all at a fraction of the cost of sending someone halfway around the globe.
And, when a virtual meeting with the Hong Kong branch only takes a couple of hours on a Tuesday afternoon, travel time is negated, freeing up your employees’ schedule to be more productive.
Making collaboration easier
In recent years, finding ways to make collaboration easier across the workplace has been a sector focus. And, not unlike virtual meetings, VR tech can give your employees a shared space to explore ideas and plan joint projects together, as well as equipping them with digital tools that wouldn’t be accessible in a virtual meeting room. By embracing collaboration in VR, you can give your staff a platform to work efficiently and with greater mutual understanding, allowing projects to be approached more productively.
Improving focus and visualisation
In the modern office, where many businesses favour open plan designs, distractions are everywhere. While adding dividers and cubicles are one way of giving your employees room to get on with their work, they simply can’t offer the virtual privacy that VR technology can deliver. Not only will a headset provide an enclosed space, but it allows a worker to surround themselves with an environment they find productive for work. Giving your staff access to their own digitally-realised space can improve focus and help your business become more productive.
Also, working in a virtual space can help your employees to visualise their work. Whether this is by allowing them to manipulate complex data into something digestible or providing a simpler way to explore 3D plans, VR tech can speed up the way that your staff understand their work and, in turn, boost their productivity when working on a project.
Delivering more effective training programmes
Another great benefit of bringing VR technology into your workplace is the ability it has to deliver much more efficient training than traditional methods, leading to greater productivity.
Not only can you create bespoke programmes that will tailor learning to suit your business’s needs, but virtual learning has been shown to improve retention and recall — as proven in a 2018 study by the University of Maryland. Considering that these two benefits could help your employees learn more effectively and familiarise them with your operation at the same time, it’s easy to see why they’re likely to be more productive after progressing through the programme.
Additionally, performance during VR training can be tracked and evaluated, making it much easier to pin-point exactly where your staff are excelling and where they’re lacking. This allows you to deliver targeted follow-ups that will help to improve job proficiency that should aid productivity.
Considering all of the benefits VR tech can provide when it comes to productivity in a business, it’s obvious why more and more firms are integrating it into their operations. And, there’s never been a better time for virtual technology than the present, so be sure to consider it for your own office.