Virtual Reality In The Office

28/11/2016 14:22

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.

Breakroom
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 two-dimensional monitors" with a background of your choice. You could work on a beach, in the middle of the countryside or even up in 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 work can be done without losing a moment's time on small talk or group coffee breaks.

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

Health and Safety Training
One often flawed element of office life is the routine health and safety training days. Within minutes you can find yourself zoned-out from the standard PowerPoint presentation 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.

Instead, with VR you can live different experiences which can demonstrate all types of 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.

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

Further elements of interviews like 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.

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