Creating an ‘at home’ experience using AR/VR

It’s a fact: Those who work remotely at least once a month are 24% more likely to feel happy and productive in their jobs.

But now, with many left with no other option but to work from home during the current health crisis, what can businesses do to ensure that their team members’ ’ ‘at home’ experience is as efficient and engaging as possible? It’s simple: AR/VR!

Switching on your remote workforce

Worldwide, working from home and remote working has been growing exponentially by 173% since 2005. Even before the Covid-19 outbreak talent, across the globe, had already started to swap their daily commute for an extra hour of productivity. In fact, those who work from home see a 13% performance increase, including more minutes worked and more work done per minute.

However, for those who haven’t worked from home before, the figures are less rosy. Research shows that fully remote workers and those who have never worked remotely are only 30% engaged in their work, whereas those who work from home 60-80% of the time are 41% engaged.
This suggests that meaningful contact with colleagues at least one or two days per week is optimum for workforce engagement. 

Across the coming weeks and months, the true test of remote infrastructure will be productivity and engagement. It’s estimated that businesses already lose around $1.8 trillion a year due to lack of employee engagement. Presented with the current challenge of the global lockdown, businesses have had to act fast to stay connected to their talent communities. Many companies have scrambled to roll out remote working tools – but are these really the most effective investments for switching on your talent?

Video tools: Platforms like Skype, Zoom, or Google Hangouts offer talent the ability to see one another and collaborate in real time. Most business communities are already established in the world of video conference calls. Launched in 2003 Skype, for example, had an estimated 1.67 billion users prior to Covid-19. 

Collaboration tools: Slack, Trello, Microsoft Teams… there are a plethora of tech solutions available for businesses trying to keep their workforce motivated. These tools offer some level of accountability and transparency and have been shown to boost engagement under ‘normal circumstances’; workers with access to digital collaboration tools were 51% more likely to have strong job satisfaction, and 60% more likely to say they are motivated at work. 

Project tools: Basecamp, Monday, Asana and Pipefy all offer solutions for project management, workforce allocation and reporting. However, research shows that just 23% of organizations use standardized project management practices across the entire organization, so this may cause significant challenges with an entirely remote workforce.

By 2030 businesses could make $4.5 trillion in savings per year as a direct result of remote working.

Despite the above tools having been around for many years now, they may no longer be sufficient enough to meet present-day needs. 

Two-thirds of remote workers still want their employers to provide technology that helps them stay better connected with their colleagues.

Is it time for a next-gen solution to collaborating remotely?

Changing the homeworking game: Utilising AR/VR technology

In the USA alone, it’s estimated that by 2030 businesses could make $4.5 trillion in savings per year as a direct result of remote working.

Imagine if there was a solution to improve not only productivity, but also reduce fixed overheads and increase agility without encountering the typical problems (loneliness, lack of motivation and impacted creativity) faced by homeworkers…

Such a solution is possible with AR/VR technology.

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) differ in that the former involves virtual objects overlaid on a real-world environment, whereas the latter is a completely online experience.  AR would enable users to interact with a shared virtual 3D model on their real-world desk, for example. Virtual reality, on the other hand, is a fully artificial environment; everything the user experiences has a purpose-built design.

AR/VR devices have been around since the 2000s but were mainly used by the gaming community. It is only until recently that businesses have been waking up to the potential that AR/VR offers for facilitating collaboration and cultivating a truly connected company culture.

Commercial use of VR is growing at a CAGR of 45.7%, utilised most in fields as diverse as health care, retail, construction, and engineering, with early uses including 3D imaging and training. While we can’t quite yet project ourselves into a virtual space, VR offers colleagues the ability to ‘be’ together using avatars, be it for a meeting, a presentation, or a demonstration. The immersive nature of the VR experience makes it far more engaging and motivating than a ‘talking heads’ Skype call. For any type of collaboration, VR is the next best thing to being in the same room as someone else. 

AR, on the other hand, has so far seen many use cases in business. The interaction between the virtual and the physical world has enabled engineering firm Aecomis to build complex models which can then be ‘toured’, seen Volkswagen helping workers navigate its cavernous factories, and French firm GA Smart Buildings developing an AR hard hat to improve accuracy amongst construction workers. There’s even an app for an AR office bulletin board!

Matching your business with the latest technology

With so many options to choose from, it can be challenging for businesses to know exactly which solution is right for them and their organization. From procurement to training, the slickest way to embed new capabilities within your company is to ask an expert. 

man wearing VR glasses AR/VR

Which is why we, at Mantu, are here to help.

Since 2009, tech company Novelab has specialized in immersive and interactive programs. They help companies design, develop and deploy immersive and interactive programs to augment their workforce and enrich their work environments.

As well as having unique expertise in the AR/VR fields, Novelab’s expert team also have an intrinsic understanding of the various challenges businesses are facing. By working closely with clients, they are producing custom-made solutions, paving the way for a robust, future-proof communication and collaboration stack that keeps the wheels of business turning, even during a crisis.

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