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XR in the Hybrid Workplace: Ending Video Meeting Fatigue?

Can XR Disrupt the Video Meeting Fatigue in the Hybrid Workplace?

The transition from physical office spaces to remote and hybrid work models has introduced a new set of challenges, notably the fatigue stemming from incessant video meetings. Amidst this backdrop, Extended Reality (XR) technology, encompassing both Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), is emerging as a promising solution to rejuvenate the modern workplace’s dynamics. Jussi Havu, CEO of Helsinki-based Glue Collaboration, is at the forefront of this movement, leveraging VR to start his week by engaging with colleagues in a virtual-reality meeting room—a testament to the potential XR holds in revolutionizing our approach to workplace collaboration.

The Promise of XR in the Workplace

XR technology presents a versatile platform for digital environments, ranging from fully immersive virtual spaces to augmented overlays that enhance the real world. This technology has long been anticipated as the future of office work, aiming to alleviate the monotony and isolation brought on by conventional video calls. A 2022 study by PwC underscored the burgeoning interest among U.S. companies in embedding VR into their operations, indicating a shift toward more engaging and interactive work environments.

Current Applications and Benefits

Today, XR is not just a futuristic concept but a practical tool with real-world applications, especially in training and meetings. “Simulation-based learning in VR gives individuals the opportunity to feel as if they’ve had a meaningful experience,” according to findings from PwC’s research, which also revealed that VR learners acquire skills faster and with greater confidence. Innovators like Naer and Arthur Technologies are at the forefront of utilizing XR to enhance meeting experiences, creating spaces where participants can interact as if they were physically together, regardless of their actual locations. Christoph Fleischmann, CEO of Arthur Technologies, highlights the nuanced benefits of XR, noting:

“It’s these thousands of small things that just make collaboration smoother and better.”

Challenges to Adoption

Despite its potential, the widespread adoption of XR faces several obstacles, including the cost of equipment, the comfort of wearables, and the level of immersion offered by AR technologies. However, the landscape is evolving. The advancement from bulky headsets to more ergonomic designs, along with the anticipation of new products like Apple’s Vision Pro, suggests a future where XR could become more accessible and seamlessly integrated into everyday work practices.

The Future of XR in Workplaces

The exploration of XR in the workplace is in its early stages, with its full impact yet to be unveiled. As businesses experiment with XR as a complementary tool to existing communication technologies, the potential for XR to become a fundamental component of the hybrid work model grows increasingly evident.

“I think the hardware is going to become so seamless that you can just switch it on and off,” Havu predicts.

Conclusion

XR technology offers a compelling vision for the future of the hybrid workplace, promising to mitigate video meeting fatigue with immersive, interactive alternatives. As we delve deeper into the capabilities and applications of VR and AR, the prospect of transforming workplace collaboration and training becomes more tangible. This journey into the realm of XR in the professional world is fraught with challenges but also ripe with opportunities to redefine the essence of how we work.

We invite our readers to engage with us by sharing their experiences or expectations regarding XR technology in the workplace. Do you envision XR as the antidote to video meeting fatigue? How do you see these technologies shaping the future of work? Share your thoughts and join the discussion below.

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