It’s no secret that businesses worldwide have been forced to find new ways of working. 2020 and the coronavirus pandemic have led to a universal shift in work strategies and plans for future developments, and one of the most prevalent shifts has been the rise of communication software like Zoom, Skype, and so on. Even now, as workplaces make efforts to re-open in a socially distanced manner, it is clear that remote working will remain an integral part of our working lives as we move forward.
As the former Chief Digital Officer at Bentley, I understand the way companies use digital solutions within their strategies, and I believe that there is a game-changing alternative to video calling that is already being adapted by some of the world’s industry-leading workforces. The reality of the situation is that, in situations where detail is important and you need your people to be paying attention or collaboration is required and there are many stakeholders involved, virtual reality (VR) is the way forward.
- No More Distractions
Working from home creates countless opportunities for workers to become distracted, with recent research from Globant finding that nearly 50% of senior managers have witnessed a decrease in productivity since lockdown began. VR offers a direct solution by ensuring full attention from everyone at all times. Your senses are engaged, immersing you in an environment that feels real and ultimately achieving a level of colleague interaction and learning retention that video calls could never come close to achieving.
A 2020 study by the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery compared surgeon trainees that learned in VR against those who learned with traditional methods. Those who used VR were found to be more technically skilled, and also learned the information 570% faster. The report concludes with the following:
“This adequately powered, randomised controlled trial demonstrated how an immersive VR system can efficiently teach a complex surgical procedure and also demonstrate improved translational skill and knowledge acquisition when compared with a traditional learning method.”
With distractions eliminated, and the ability to learn through practice, your teams can learn complex skills more efficiently than ever. Their progress can be tracked to see the speed at which they complete the training, before witnessing the benefits in their performance for yourself.
- No More Video Call Fatigue
Another day, another Zoom call. It’s hard to stay excited about passive engagement where that’s all you do all day. Sitting and listening to a speaker on a video call is far from engaging, and easy to be distracted from.
VR places you straight into activities that are legitimately fun and exciting. This immediately creates a strong and memorable link for each individual. It’s a well documented fact that we learn more when we feel an emotional response to the learning material.
On top of this immediate benefit, your staff will be coming back for more and reaping the long-term gains too. Learning creates momentum for a time, but without passion it can lead to burnout. The experience of VR is so fresh and enjoyable that it prompts voluntary engagement, something that I’ve never heard claimed about video calls or any other training method.
An article published by the BBC regarding video call fatigue stated that “a video call requires more focus than a face-to-face chat”, as well as:
“Our minds are together when our bodies feel we’re not. That dissonance, which causes people to have conflicting feelings, is exhausting. You cannot relax into the conversation naturally.”
VR directly tackles this problem by simulating physical connections and bringing everyone into a relaxing working space. Immediately comparable to face-to-face contact, witness body language and gestural communication that needs to be seen to be believed.
- Together, Wherever
Another tremendously valuable benefit of using VR for learning is that entire global workforces can be brought onto the same page and allowed to operate as a cohesive unit. Teams that used to stay separate due to lack of time and resources can now interact with each other, sharing solutions and making what was previously impossible a reality. Fortune 500 businesses and leaders in the world of manufacturing have supercharged their collaborative workshops with the introduction of VR. Using advanced tools within their shared virtual spaces like whiteboards to brainstorm ideas remotely, post-its to visualise plans and detailed 3D models to evaluate designs, they have been given a way to thrive on a global scale. We hear stories like this over and over as businesses discover what VR brings to the table. Virtual reality takes the limitations of remote working and turns them into benefits, creating entirely new opportunities for growth and progress. These limitless options are available for all to take advantage of, no matter their location.
One of many beneficiaries of the connective powers of VR is the British Armed Forces, one of many examples that proves the unprecedented flexibility and power of virtual reality. Reported by the UK Government itself, VR gaming technology has been adapted to form a part of the training programme used to “support and enhance real life training exercises”. The simulation allows more than 30 people to train together at the same time, using gesture control and realistic visuals to immerse users and enhance performance with the ultimate goal of saving lives.
- The End of Business Travel
Why travel to the airport, wasting days of your time and thousands in company resources to give an in-person talk, when the same goals can be achieved in a virtual conference space? Now you can deliver career-changing pitches and presentations from the comfort of your home, directly to the homes of colleagues and industry peers.
Not only does this benefit your company directly through reduced costs, but it also aids you in meeting your quotas for reducing carbon emissions in efforts to make your business practices fully sustainable and eco-friendly. Other companies will look to you as an innovator in your field, leading the way for those who lacked the bravery and foresight to adopt VR for themselves.
Entrepreneur.com published a short article and infographic showing the expenses of business travel and found that in 2012, businesses using Concur.com to track their expenses spent more than $50 billion on travel and entertainment costs alone, making it a prime target for reduction in order to improve bottom line outcome. VR makes it easy to cut out any unnecessary travel, allowing your resources to go further and be allocated into real priorities.
The solution is here, now.
As giants in the tech world like Microsoft, Facebook and Sony pour billions in investments into the VR industry year after year, developers and manufacturers are catching on quickly. Businesses continue to emerge with their own platforms for VR learning, and there is one in particular that has captured both my attention and the attention of many others as an industry leader: Gemba.
Gemba is a powerful virtual reality platform that I have personally had the pleasure of using and eventually partnering with. I believe in the fundamental disruptive power of VR and that Gemba has the potential to write a new chapter in the business transformation textbooks.
With a history of working with innovation experts and best-selling business authors, Gemba is on a mission to inspire a culture of lifelong learning for every employee in every business. It allows teams to move beyond the limits of their screen into the boundless space of VR to host dynamic meetings, collaborate at scale, bring teams together and attend global events from their comport of their home office. In addition to that, Gemba offers companies off-the-shelf training to upskill their teams to a world-class standard, which is something no other competitors currently offer. Set targets for teams across the globe and crush them together in the pursuit of enterprise excellence.
Find out more here.