As companies adapt to the rapidly changing face of the workplace, the phenomenon of ‘workplace culture’ is undergoing its own seismic shift. With the advent of the Metaverse bringing Virtual and Augmented reality tech to the office, how can organisations harness the power of XR technology to redefine their culture?
No longer a product of Monday water cooler conversations, Wednesday team yoga or Friday drinks, remote and hybrid employees have raised their expectations and broadened their understanding of what it means to have an excellent workplace culture.
The new gold standard - and an important factor in attracting and retaining talent - requires employees to build a robust culture that doesn’t rely on in-person interaction. Key features include:
- Fully flexible working as standard
- Commitment to professional development and training
- Effective, dynamic collaboration amongst remote and hybrid teams
- An inclusive, supportive social environment
And with recent research has shone a light on the fact that corporate culture is a crucial determinant of employee engagement (and therefore also a determinant of whole-business success), it’s no surprise that companies are exploring new and innovative ways of redefining culture for a post-pandemic age.
Amongst the available options, it’s Extended Reality (XR) technology that seems to be a clear favourite with employers and with staff. But why has the tech taken off so rapidly, and how can your company make the most of its potential for building and maintaining a robust workplace culture? Read on to find out.
Cloud-based XR platforms provide employees with easy and on demand access to a variety of immersive content. This includes 360-degree bespoke video content, spaces for virtual collaboration and interaction with colleagues, live event streaming, and even AI-powered virtual humans for soft-skills training.
The technology is cost efficient, the process of creating bespoke content is easy, quick and scalable, and the results are impressive. Now, let’s explore some of the most popular ways that XR tech is being used to redefine culture in the digital workplace.
XR facilitates truly flexible hybrid working
For most employees, the option to work from home and on their own schedule is now a ‘must’. But without the right technologies and systems in place, remote work can turn into a remote nightmare of miscommunication, isolation and low productivity.
However, XR tech is an excellent solution to the most common problems faced by remote workers. For example, running immersive virtual meetings, in which employees interact as avatars, is one way that XR technology can support collaboration in remote teams.
Setting up virtual offices is also an increasingly popular move, as these XR-mediated spaces can replicate the creative energy of the in-person office without any of the distractions or inconveniences of traveling to a physical location. They can be equipped with breakout rooms, deep-work spaces and even XR gyms!
XR supports skill building
Traditional in-person or online skills training and onboarding has a reputation for being expensive, boring and time-consuming. But in 2022, the status quo is changing. Employers can now create their own XR training and onboarding content that is interactive, engaging and scalable.
Complex technical skills can be practiced repeatedly in a zero-risk virtual environment. Soft skills - such as communication - can be perfected with the help of a Virtual Human. Built-in AI-powered feedback also provides in-depth analysis of performance, helping accurately identify areas for improvement.
And XR upskilling is not only more accessible, it’s more impactful too. Studies have shown that learners who use the Virti platform can improve their performance by up to 230%, and reduce skill fade by 52%. This means that your team members can spend less time on training and more time driving impact.
XR creates strong communities
Flexible work and training is one face of workplace culture, but it’s interactions between colleagues that has the biggest impact on culture overall. Connection clearly matters to teams: 48% of employees complain of feeling isolated from coworkers during the pandemic, 56% wish they had a community where they could get advice and 64% wish they had a way to ask questions of industry peers.
To build a supportive community, colleagues need opportunities for non-work related interaction in informal contexts. But while in-person events were once the go-to solution, it’s now virtual and hybrid events that are soaring in popularity, thanks to their offering of a more inclusive and flexible approach to workplace socialising.
From coffee mornings to live music streaming and games nights, there are limitless possibilities when it comes to delivering impactful virtual events. Chat features and breakout spaces support organic relationship building, and interactive quizzes or competitions can help boost engagement and break the ice. Collecting attendee feedback through inbuilt platform AI allows companies to improve and tailor their offerings to maximise their success.
Yes, the workplaces of 2022 look and feel very different to the workplaces of old. And yes, this means that companies’ approaches to building and maintaining workplace culture must evolve and adapt. But, as this guide has shown, this is an exciting opportunity to explore the power of new immersive technologies to drive business success. So don’t be left behind; be an XR tech trailblazer and show your competitors and your employees that culture matters as much to you as it does to them.