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Virtual reality (VR) is rapidly moving beyond the world of gaming and entertainment. The potential for revolutionizing how we work is staggering. By creating immersive virtual workspaces, VR has the potential to redefine productivity. But is it a worthwhile investment for your business?

We think so! We introduced our entire team to the idea of VR workspaces about a year ago and the team loves it! The benefits of a VR centered office space have been more than we imagined. Our team is more productive, finishing most projects 25-30% quicker and with much higher quality results.

We made using VR optional for our team, not wishing to force it on anyone. But every member of our team has embraced it at this point, though there were a few that were hesitant to dive in. Once they did, they found that they love the ability to manipulate the virtual environment to each team members needs, or the needs of the project.

The Promise of a VR-Powered Workspace: Beyond the Physical Office


One of the most exciting aspects of VR is that it liberates your workspace from the constraints of reality. Here’s how VR lets you transcend the limitations of traditional offices:

  • Ambiance Matters: Experiment with the perfect balance of stimulation. Some thrive in a tranquil environment like a minimalist office with sweeping mountain views. Others might prefer the background buzz and energy of a bustling coffee shop to spark their creativity. VR lets you dial in your ideal atmosphere. Right now I am writing this article while sitting in front of quiet forest stream.
  • Defy Gravity and Scale: Design your workspace without limits: Imagine a floating desk overlooking a vast cityscape. Or, collaborate with colleagues around a gigantic virtual whiteboard that scales to any size.
  • Tools at Your Fingertips: In VR, resources are instantly available. Pull up giant reference images, project multiple design iterations on virtual walls, or materialize a 3D anatomical model instantly. Your workspace seamlessly integrates your required tools.


Personalization is Key


The power of VR customization lies in catering to individual preferences and workstyles:

  • Introverts and Extroverts: Those who crave solitude can design a private, distraction-free haven. Extroverts can replicate an open office environment with avatars representing colleagues for ‘watercooler moment’ interactions. One of our graphic designers prefers to work in a completely black space, with nothing to distract her. Only the tools she uses for her work are visible in her environment.
  • Sensory Needs: Fine-tune lighting, background noise, and even ambient temperature to optimize your comfort and focus.
  • Gamification: Incorporate gamification elements, like virtual rewards or progress visualizations, if that motivates you. Team building is an important part of creating a truly productive workspace. In the old days before VR, the only real effective way to do this was to bring the team physically together. This can be difficult with distributed teams. Now we at Host Magi have monthly team building activities in VR. This month we all visited Yellowstone National Park and then partied together in Jamaica!


The Takeaway

VR allows you to craft a workspace that is not just functional but one that truly inspires, motivates, and adapts to your unique working style. Unlike a cookie-cutter physical office, your VR workspace becomes an extension of your own mind, optimizing your potential. 

The Potential Pitfalls

  • Cost: While the prices of VR headsets have been coming down, they still represent a significant investment, especially when outfitting an entire team. We purchased 10 Oculus VR headsets at $500 each, plus licenses for several applications and accessories like extra batteries, longer cables, and comfortable headbands. The total hardware cost came to just under $8,000. For a small business like Host Magi, that is a pretty big expense. But we also feel that the boost in productivity and employee happiness has made it worth every penny.
  • Discomfort and Isolation: Extended VR sessions can lead to eye strain or headaches for some users. Prolonged use might also foster a sense of isolation. Some people can experience the symptoms of motion sickness while wearing VR, especially those who are not acclimated to it yet.
  • Technical Hurdles: Setting up and maintaining a VR system can be complex, potentially requiring IT support. Fortunately, I have enough experience with VR that I was able to meet these challenges. But getting things configured correctly, in a way that would provide consistency across the team was indeed a challenge.


Productivity: Benefit or Bust?

The impact of VR on productivity is still being studied. The distraction-free environment can be a boon for focus-intensive tasks. But, the lack of real-world cues and potential discomfort could hinder productivity for some. Ultimately, it’s about finding the right applications for your team.

Essential VR Business Apps

If you’re ready to explore VR for your business, here are some great apps to enhance your virtual workspace:

  • Immersed: Work with multiple virtual screens in a customizable VR environment.
  • Arthur: Hold meetings in VR with lifelike avatars, spatial audio, and presentation tools.
  • vSpatial: A versatile platform for collaboration, training, and productivity.


The Verdict: Should You Dive In?


Whether VR is the right fit for your business depends on your needs and budget. Consider these factors:

  • Type of work: VR may be especially beneficial for tasks requiring deep focus, visualization, or collaboration. Design, development, and other technical work can really benefit from VR. It can also be highly beneficial for the medical profession.
  • Team adaptability: Are your employees tech-savvy and open to experimenting with new tools? We had to provide some training to some members of the Host Magi team, but all were able to pick it up pretty quickly.
  • Cost vs. benefit: Carefully weigh the potential productivity gains against the cost of implementation and maintenance. Although it has been an extremely beneficial investment here at Host Magi, this may not be the case for all teams or businesses.


Experiment and Find Your Fit

The best way to discover the power of VR, and whether it is a good fit for your business, is through experimentation. Start with a pilot program for a specific team or project. Gather feedback, iterate, and determine if VR offers a true productivity advantage for your business.

Virtual reality holds immense potential to reshape the future of work. By approaching it strategically, you might just unlock new levels of productivity and redefine the possibilities for your business in this ever-evolving landscape. I know we did here at Host Magi!