The biggest industry disruption in recent times has been - you guessed it - COVID. The last year & a half has paved the way for major changes in almost every kind of workplace, with offices & organisational systems moving to hybrid systems, if not completely online. The list is pretty endless, schools & colleges have only now begun hybrid learning, lawyers are fighting cases in virtual court, movies are only being released on OTT platforms & so on…
Even though the pandemic wreaked havoc worldwide, moving most things to a virtual platform reduced the actual extent of what the virus could have done to us. It also made companies realise how much they were saving without having to pay for office spaces which pretty much sealed the deal on hybrid working. But what this gave us in return apart from safety, of course, was a feeling of emptiness; of longing & distance which emerged because of the continuous lockdowns & social distancing. These feelings in turn dug their claws into industry, making it very difficult to move forward & to progress. The solution? Modern technology.
Technology has developed leaps & bounds over the course of the last decade, making it easier to do more complex things than ever before. We live in the digital age NOW & the tech we’ve seen in movies from Star Wars to Iron Man is here! AR, VR & AI have made it possible for us to do a lot from the comfort of our own rooms, something that has been found to be extremely necessary in today’s social situation where everything is about distance. Interactive technology attempts to bridge that gap & does so in a very cool way. It can help improve workspaces by not only making the work process easier but by making the individuals themselves more efficient. But in order for us to get the best use of this new technology, it’s important to first know what’s really out there for us to use.
Augmented reality, otherwise known as AR is an interactive concept where your surroundings are enhanced by technology. This can be done using most of your sensory modalities & involves an interaction of both the real & virtual worlds. Pokemon Go is an example of AR which took the world by storm.
Virtual reality is an experience which is either similar or completely different to the real world & may also involve AR. They come in the form of headsets which give their users a wholesome interactive experience.
Why Should You Switch It Up?
Never before has it been so necessary to improve the tech in your workspace. Whether it’s at home, an office or even at a coworking space, having the latest tech makes working easier & more effective. Why, do you ask? Let’s delve into this, shall we?
Face to face (of sorts) interactions
With COVID & the consequent change in working styles in organisations, WFH has overtaken the working world. This comes with the obvious turmoils of only seeing people on screens (if at all) which makes communication pretty monotonous & 2D. Bringing in facilities which offer interactive tech like AR & VR allow individuals to be able to see the people they’re communicating with right in front of them even if they aren’t. It gives us the perception of physical interaction even when there isn’t any. It also challenges us to perform better knowing that we are no longer being judged only by what we say but by our body language as well, making the interaction feel more real.
A huge component of collaboration is being able to interact & work together to come up with a final product. Nowadays, it’s very difficult to do so because individuals & groups within an organisation are no longer meeting on a regular basis to brainstorm or work together. This may result in a lot of misinformation & issues within a project. Using interactive tech allows parties to be able to see projects & experience it as it’s intended, before going ahead with discussions on how to improve them etc. Any alterations can then be made based on usability & requirements. Certain gadgets even allow multiple parties to edit & work on projects in the interactive space simultaneously without needing to meet in person.
Experience & Exposure
Have you seen the movie Sully where the pilot manages to land a plane in the Hudson? Similar situations can be created in a virtual space where pilots can train to perfect their craft. Other professions like hospitality, retail, defence & medicine can utilise these techniques to expose themselves to a variety of situations to know how to react & perform under those situations. It provides individuals with opportunities to get exposed to a number of different scenarios which they can prepare for.. In the world of architecture, interior design & hospitality, potential customers can enter the spaces, get a feel of the place & then make a well informed decision based on what they like & don’t like. Workspaces designed for designers & creative minds can implement these kinds of technology to increase their overall output in the long-run.
Better methods of practicing
Medical professionals, racers & designers are all living in the age of virtual practising, spending hours of their time perfecting their skills. Having the ability to create & recreate on these alternate platforms eliminates the concept of wasting resources, reduces the need for space & the finances to fund these extra requirements. All you need is adequate space (if what you’re doing requires movement), a VR/AR headset & a laptop/phone to connect to.
Having immersive experiences like this can be entertaining as well as productive. Employees can provide headsets in certain spaces in the workspace to allow their employees to temporarily switch off from the stress of work & switch on their headsets to experience a more relaxing & soothing environment. Hundreds of VR & AR games have hit the market which give their users the feeling of moving around & experiencing new things when they’re really not. Travel the world from your room, why don’t you?
The Future Is Here
It’s imperative to bring back human connection as much as possible as soon as possible. Apart from the psychological benefits, the benefits new age technology brings to the table is paramount. VR & AR have revolutionised WFH & working at the office, making it more productive, efficient & collaborative in the process. It has brought back the notion of human-centred workspaces which focus on the overall wellbeing of the employees. By combining modern interactive tech with great interiors, employees are going to be ready to take on the world & produce what could potentially be their best work. So as employers, don’t you think you can give them the tools they need to do this?