Virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) technologies offer exciting possibilities for enhancing productivity and training in the workplace. VR and AR tools are immersive technologies that can create a 360-degree environment. They use headset design and eye-tracking technology to produce a realistic experience for the user. This article explores the potential benefits and applications of VR and AR to workplace productivity and employee training.
Virtual and augmented reality technologies have been around since the 1990s. They are still in the early stages of development, but they have already proven to be helpful tools in some industries, such as engineering, architecture, gaming, and specialized medical applications. However, they also offer possibilities for increasing employee productivity and training in many other industries.
This article discusses different applications of VR and AR to enhance laptop-based productivity and employee training. It covers the benefits and limitations of these technologies and provides insights into the challenges that companies face when choosing to implement VR and AR solutions into their working life.
To provide a structured approach, the article is divided into the following sections:
- Virtual Reality for Productivity
- Virtual Reality for Training and Development
- Challenges and Considerations
Virtual Reality for Productivity
VR has the potential to enhance laptop-based productivity by offering virtual workspaces that eliminate the need for office-focused physical monitors. While current laptop models have limitations on screen real estate, VR computers (VRCs) can offer unlimited virtual screens, providing more work focus and immersion. Additionally, VRCs offer benefits such as portability, privacy, better posture, and freedom of movement.
Some examples of how VR can help increase productivity in the workplace include:
- Remote collaboration: VR allows remote workers to collaborate and communicate with their peers as if they were in the same room, increasing productivity.
- Multiple virtual monitors: VRCs can offer productivity benefits by allowing users to work on multiple virtual monitors simultaneously.
- Health and wellness: VR can decrease the discomfort caused by long-term use of desktop computers, as users can work in various positions and environments.
- Screenless VR: Screenless VR provides a distraction-free environment perfect for eliminating distractions and ensuring better work focus.
- Personal experience: In a VR environment, employees can customize their experience while minimizing background noise and other distractions.
- Immersion: Immersive VR environments offer limited access to non-work entities promoting engagement.
VR is a relatively new technology, however, several VR or AR apps already exist – Meta Quest Pro, Oculus Quest 2, Project Cambria, etc. These apps have already sold millions of units in the market. As the ecosystem around VR evolves, the benefits of VR for productivity are likely to become more apparent
Virtual Reality for Training and Development
Virtual reality is a powerful tool for employee training and development. VR Training Experiences provide a dynamic, hands-on training environment compared to traditional training methods, creating an opportunity to practice and reinforce skills learned. Immersive training leads to enhanced learning experiences, higher employee retention and with better skills applications to real-life activities. VR Training is increasing in popularity, mainly because of the retention benefits.
The advantages of using VR for training and development include:
- Immersive technology: VR immerses the user in simulated environments, simulating those in which they will work.
- Practical approach: VR training is practical and enables employees to apply what they learn to real-life situations, leading to increased retention and performance.
- Hands-on training: VR provides a hands-on experience by using VR headsets, which can increase employee engagement levels in training.
- Employee satisfaction: VR training creates a holistic experience helping in enhancing employee satisfaction levels, a top priority in most organisations.
- Employee productivity: Effective VR training programs can increase employee productivity by up to 200%.
Some industries that have already implemented VR training successfully include the military, police, and government. In these industries, VR offers realistic training scenarios, which has contributed to better performance outcomes from the field.
Challenges and Considerations
Before investing in VR or AR technologies, companies need to consider factors such as computing power, advanced graphics, system requirements, and the potential for privacy breaches. Confidentiality is a critical consideration, and companies providing VR or AR experiences need to ensure that their system follows privacy regulations. Operating systems optimized for VR may need to be distinguished from traditional systems to be able to handle the workload required.
There are also limitations of current VR technology such as resolution, discomfort, and user input such as cord tethering, wifi lag/bandwidth issues, and eye tracking. As VR and AR technology continues to evolve, hardware producers will increasingly opt to minimize or avoid these limitations. The rise of VR computing may also create new opportunities, such as the development of new operating systems optimized for VR such as Linux, and AI keyboard overlays that promote intelligence augmentation.
Another significant consideration is the potential for hacking or the misuse of data as VR provides an opportunity to create vulnerabilities that did not exist before. Companies should carefully consider the risks that come with VR or AR systems.
Moreover, virtual and augmented reality tools have staying power in such industries as engineering and architecture, gaming, and specialized medical applications. Some other applications work for remote collaboration and remote work, which is on the rise post-COVID-19.
With VR, businesses can create virtual environments that replicate real-world scenarios for immersive training and virtual workspaces to enhance productivity levels in employees. Although VR technology is still in its infancy and has some limitations and challenges, the technology is continuously evolving and offers enormous potential.
Virtual reality has an immense potential that goes beyond just gaming activities and has captured the imagination of early enthusiasts and cyberpunks alike. As the technology behind VR and AR apps evolves, the opportunities that they offer for enhancing productivity and training experiences will only continue to grow.
Furthermore, as VR computers become more widely available and affordable, applications like screenless VR, employee training, and virtual workspaces have become more accessible to companies of all sizes.