You can hardly get on the internet these days without seeing something or other about virtual reality. This is in part because it’s one of the more exciting consumer technologies of the last few years. But it’s also because VR has branched out so much. Initially regarded mostly as a tool for gaming, it’s now seen as something that’s useful in all kinds of different activities, industries, and pursuits (even if gaming is still sort of the core of the tech). In keeping with the expanding definition and utility of modern VR, many are beginning to talk about its potential uses in workplaces.
These are a few of those potential uses you might want to keep in the back of your mind for the coming years.
New Job Training
New job training is generally viewed as a necessity in the workplace, so we don’t tend to think about it too much. But when you do think about it, it’s often a somewhat inefficient process. It can involve diverting resources (namely personnel) away from work, and often there are simply instructions of one kind or another that cover the bases but really don’t give a new or prospective employee an accurate picture of what it’s like to do the job.
That could certainly be changing thanks to virtual reality. One of the earliest examples actually comes from the fast food sector, where KFC has put together a VR job training simulator for new employees. This isn’t what we’d think of as a traditional workplace, but it speaks to the fact that the idea is being explored on a corporate level, and VR job training is likely to follow in workplaces of all different kinds in the near future. It ought to make the training process both more efficient and more effective in many cases.
This is something we haven’t seen too much of yet, but there’s a foundation in gaming that makes it interesting. Casino-style games have been on the cusp of moving into VR for a while now, largely because 3D slots, which work the same way as the traditional favorites and adapt well to VR, have become more popular. But there’s also a trend in this form of gaming toward “live dealer” play in which your screen shows you an actual human being dealing cards – something that would feel stunningly realistic in VR.
Now, imagine that same sort of concept applied to video conferencing or presentations in the workplace. It could well be that employees sitting in their offices will soon be able to strap on VR goggles and see a presenter before them as if they’re actually sitting in the same room, witnessing a colleague or superior give a presentation. It’s a more convenient way to go about a process that can otherwise be logistically complicated.
HR is perhaps the main area in which workplaces are exploring the adoption of VR. In part this has to do with job training, as described above. However, specific HR training is also being explored. The idea of VR for continual employee education, and perhaps even conducting seminars, is something a lot of workplaces are going to like once programs are perfected. At this stage, the best an HR department can do in this regard is to send out emails, require reading material or training videos, or conduct meetings. But as with most everything else, a VR program can actually simulate a situation relevant to employee training, and do a better job of teaching the proper way to handle it.