It seems hat the virtual reality world is no longer limited to the escapism of video games.
According to Fortune Business Insights, the virtual reality market is expected to expand to $227 billion by 2029. This incredible surge in forecasted growth may be partly due to leading companies like Walmart and BCG, which see the benefits VR ca provide for their employees with better engagement, higher productivity, and even improved well-being.
Here are a few reasons companies integrate VR technology into their business practices
Virtual Meeting Burnout
Employees are experiencing major burnout with video meetings. The great reshuffling caused by the pandemic meant more people were working remotely. With that swift change to remote work, about 95% of employees report feeling burned out from frequent, daily video conferencing meetings.
VR can seamlessly replace impersonal video conferencing meetings. The technology allows users to experience a fully immersive experience while simultaneously blocking out sensory information from the outside world.
Additionally, unlike the sedentary nature of video conferencing where the participants are often tied to their seat, a proper VR setup allows employees to stand, or even walk around. With more than 93% of employees spending two or more hours each day in video meetings, this setup can potentially translate to a much more active workday.
VR Inspires Better Collaboration
Unlike video conferencing, VR technology creates a feeling of togetherness among employees working from home. A strong sense of community can form when individuals feel as though they are physically in the same space as other team members, who might be thousands of miles apart.
Also, within VR space, teams can manipulate data in real-time, resulting in powerful collaboration regardless of physical location. Many large-scale manufacturers are even using VR to test everything from spacecrafts to cars. Ford uses the Oculus Rift, a VR headset mostly used for gaming, to create and refine virtual prototypes. The company’s senior technical leader Jeff Greenberg shared:
“The impact on cost, time and quality are significant, and have allowed our designers and engineers more creative freedoms to explore options that in the past would have been to time- or cost-intensive to consider.”
VR Enhances Company Training
VR technology creates an immersive life-like environment that helps companies create effective and safe employee training conditions. The military, for example, uses VR to train soldiers while minimizing risk to life and the cost of training.
In addition to a cost-effective training platform, companies that use virtual reality technology, specifically head-mounted displays (HMDs), see a marked improvement in empathy among employees who interact with customers. H&R Block, a tax preparation firm, saw a 50% decline in customer complaints.
VR Helps Improve Wellness
It’s no secret that exercise helps improve overall wellness. But what if the benefits of exercise can be gained by simply watching an avatar workout? According to this study, watching avatars exercise within a VR environment provides many of the same benefits as actual workouts.
The most common benefits are a reduction in stress and anxiety, along with improved cognition. Employees with limited mobility can still reap some benefits from watching an avatar run, jump, or walk within a virtual environment.
Unfortunately, study researchers didn’t compare the effects of watching an avatar versus doing workouts in real life. However, simulated workouts can still add value to any wellness routine.
As the VR marketplace grows, companies like Blackbox VR, a virtual reality gym startup, attract customers eager to get in shape but bored with regular brick-and-mortar gyms. Customers are immersed within interactive environments that inspire them to move with activities like boxing and running. Imagine having fun working out in a simulated setting while burning calories without much conscious effort. VR can make working out a lot more fun and rewarding.
Is the VR workplace a fad? The jury’s still out, but with such strong projected growth over the next several years and big investments made in virtual environments such as the Metaverse, companies should be watching the space closely.