Let’s face it, we all love the idea of working in our pyjamas, rather than having to dress up every morning before we hit the dreaded commute. Filling out spreadsheets from your sofa is so much more appealing than sitting in a cramped office cubicle, which is part of the reason why remote working has seen such spectacular growth over the years.
Unfortunately, just because we love the idea of telecommuting, doesn’t necessarily mean our bosses feel the same way. The Bureau of Labour Statistics tells us that the number of people who do some or all their work from home has only risen by five percent since 2003. Part of the reason for this is that managers feel concerned that workers won’t perform at their best without supervision. So, what if we could give the higher-ups the peace of mind, and offer workers their freedom too?
The Virtual Reality Workplace
Virtual reality could be the most obvious way to give workers and workforces the best of both worlds. Worker avatars could be created to sit in simulated office spaces, complete with virtual screens that showcase their completed work. It would be a great way to save money on space while giving the workers of tomorrow the versatility they crave.
If VR systems continue to grow in availability and popularity, then we might truly start to see a new time of work environment. There are plenty of resources out there, after all. For instance, deals in VR throughout the third quarter totalled around $1.46 billion in 2016, compared to $745 million in 2015.
One company, Linden Lab, developed something called “Second Life“, a social space that could work like a 3D video game, complete with VR performance. Second Life grew quickly, but it hasn’t quite been able to get over the wall it hit during the later stages of adoption. The idea is wonderful enough, with team members able to create and design workspaces together in real-time, but the concept might be a little too complex for the average workplace.
On the other hand, MyWebRoom offers something slightly simpler with “MyVR”, a solution that allows users to hang out in rooms and manage content together. There’s no need for avatars or extra scenery – it’s just a basic experience. The idea is that by making the scenario as mainstream as possible, the experience becomes more accessible to the average user.
What’s Next for The Workforce?
The more the workplace evolves, the more obvious it becomes that new technology is essential to success. The good news is that modern solutions generally pay for themselves. After all, cancelling just a couple of business trips that can be hosted in virtual space instead of reality could be enough to pay for VR equipment entirely. Additionally, as workers start to “commute via VR”, the technology should reduce the amount of economic expense devoted to office space in cities
In the future, VR could do more than simply change the way we hang out socially, but also change the way that businesses and city infrastructure works.
Rob is Founder & Publisher of UC Today, a leading news publication specialising in Unified Communications & Collaboration technologies.