Virtual reality technology has made a name for itself in recent years, no only in the gaming industry, but in the business world as well. In fact, as the pandemic ends, many companies have decided to create or maintain virtual reality initiatives within their company because of the value they found in its remote work capabilities. Beyond that, there are many diverse ways to use VR technology in a business setting, from sales training to workplace safety, and more. Let's take a look at the benefits and applications of VR technology in the workplace.
The Benefits of VR Technology in Business
There is an excellent number of benefits that virtual reality has in general. The immersive nature allows users to focus more intently on learning or work and as a result they remember more than they would have outside of an immersive scenario. The memory retention rates of virtual reality users are higher than in traditional learning method. With benefits as great as these from the innate properties of virtual reality, it's no wonder that the business benefits can be even greater. Let's take a look at them now.
Increase Connection and Collaboration- Remote work has always been possible, and it's always been better for some than others, but VR makes it possible to maintain collaborative efforts in a virtual environment. Designing, and virtual meetings are easier and timelier with the ability to create and collaborate in real time without the added hassle of waiting for team members to open emails and files, and develop work plans all within the VR environment.
Improved Onboarding Process- Meeting in a virtual environment can add an extra layer of understanding into a person's experience in onboarding employees. VR immersion can aid in the application, interview, and training portions. With the right process, VR can streamline employee onboarding in a way that frees up employee time and expertise, and improves onboarding outcomes.
Saving Time and Money- There is a major up-front investment in to VR technology, especially when it comes to the software involved in creating programs designed specifically for a single company. However, as employees use VR tech for training, design, sales, marketing, and other applications, a significant amount of ROI can come back in the form of freed up time, money saved in materials, money made from an increase in sales, and a variety of other places within the business structure.
Increase Workplace Productivity- With the gamified nature of virtual reality, along with its incredibly immersive capabilities, employees can focus better for longer periods of time. Using VR for its intended purpose with proper precautions in place allows for greater productivity in various environments.
Boost Employee Retention- Virtual reality in itself is an incentive for employees to stay in a specific job. A major complaint and reason that many people leave their jobs is because of the inadequate amount of proper technology required to do their jobs. Because VR technology is now a standard in many workplaces, most younger employees, which do make up the future of workplace dynamic, need to have access to this tech in this ever-advancing workforce. Combine this with the improved training efforts, improved work culture, and overall more positive working environment, employee retention will be through the roof.
VR Technology Applications in the Workplace
Training, though it will be covered to a degree, is not the only way that virtual reality can be used in business applications. Of course, safety training and collaboration are big on the list, but virtual reality goes much deeper into operations than that. It can be used in sales and marketing, as well as customer service. It can be used as a product demonstration method to show tricky assembly, repair, or operational use in the home, or as an on-call service technician. Here are a few places that virtual reality is actively being used in standard business operations.
Sales Training- Of course there are people with natural sales and communication capabilities, but even those can have a hard time with on-the-spot conversation, especially when money is involved. Virtual reality offers a unique training environment in which to practice and learn skills necessary to help them with sales calls. It's a very low-pressure way to practice high stakes negotiation techniques that enable them to convert interested party into loyal customer.
Workplace Safety- Workplace safety is the biggest financial concern in any industry. The lack of adequate training leads to injury and death in the most extreme cases, and most companies have a large portion of their budget dedicated specifically to legal fees and emergency kits strategically positioned around the workplace. Virtual reality can not only reduce the need for these fees, it can also create a better prepared and more cautious workforce dedicated to maintaining the safety of the area. With heavy equipment training, hazardous chemical training, and even standard safety training in a regular office setting, employees are able to experience the nature of certain events in order to avoid negative experiences and keep the workforce safe.
Customer Service- With virtual reality, companies are able to create revolutionary customer service experiences that keep customers coming back for generations. From shopping to tourism, virtual reality caters to exactly what the customer wants using effective marketing tactics that involve the customer in every step of the process.
Immersed Video Conferences- Video conferencing with a simple computer is a thing of the past. At least it will be. Virtual reality offers a more immersive, inclusive opportunity to cross cultural, language, and distance barriers by adapting to what the users need. Video conferencing is more effective in a virtual environment because it reduces outside stimuli, allowing the users to be entirely mentally present, even though their body might be elsewhere.
Product Desing, Prototyping, and Demonstration- A standard design and product creation cycle looks like this: drawing the design on paper, creating a prototype to check the design, returning to the drawing board because it didn't work, fixing the design there, then prototyping again and again until the ideal design in achieved. Virtual reality enables the designers to collaborate in one immersive space, eliminate the excessive use of material, demonstrate the use and practicality of the design to investors or bosses all within the same virtual environment in less time than traditional methods.
Virtual reality has a way of bridging skills gaps in the workplace, creating a better environment to work in, improving onboarding, and much more. It's no wonder that virtual reality is a leader in developing technology. While there is a pretty big upfront investment into the creation and implementation of VR initiatives in the workplace, the ROI is rapid and expansive, making it one of the best ways to help businesses thrive.
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