Overcoming Remote Meeting Fatigue

Remote meeting fatigue occurs when people feel tired after video calls or virtual conference, which is due to an increase in cognitive demand compared to traditional face to face meetings. Virtual reality can be used to replicate social cues and the feeling of presence, which are the main contributors to meeting fatigue.

What is Remote Meeting Fatigue and how is it caused?

In response to the COVID-19 global health pandemic, there has been a huge demand for virtual meetings, with an estimated 3.3 trillion Zoom meetings occurring annually alone (Woolf, 2022). Due to this sudden, extensive shift, a new phenomenon named remote (or virtual) meeting fatigue has been uncovered, which has damaging effects upon individuals.

Remote meeting fatigue is where people feel tired after any type of video call or virtual conference, similar to the feelings of exhaustion or burnout. This is due to communication through virtual platforms taking more effort compared to those in real life as there can be slight verbal response delays across the platforms and lack of social cues, which can cause strain on the ability to interpret words of the people you are talking with (Kavanagh et al., 2021). Furthermore, there is thought to be an overload of faces on one small screen, as well as our own, which can cause hyperawareness of ones own appearance. Because of this ability see yourself on the screen it causes negative self-focused attention, which has thought to be associated with facial dissatisfaction, causing an increase in virtual fatigue levels (Ratan et al., 2022). More simple reasons for remote meeting fatigue is the frustration one may have if they are not tech-savvy enough to use the software’s (Epstein, 2020).

In summary, remote meeting fatigue is caused by the increased cognitive load and demands of video conferencing communication compared to physical meetings and even phone calls.

What can be done to overcome it?

Research has illustrated that higher levels of group belongingness and are the most consistent protective factor against remote meeting fatigue (Bennett et al., 2021). On top of this, activity switching, as well as smaller groups, decreased remote meeting fatigue (Toney et al., 2021), which helps to reduce boredom and keep individuals focus and engagement. Furthering this, research has highlighted that better management and structure within meetings helps to combat this fatigue, as there are clear defined goals and expectations (Nesher Shoshan & Wehrt, 2021).

Additionally, since a lack of knowledge around the technology used contributes to remote meeting fatigue, it may be appropriate to send information booklets out before meetings in order to help all members to understand how to use the software. Online training sessions may also be appropriate to implement, as this will allow for members to trial and understand all the meeting platform components before the official meeting takes place. Due to this, it can be noted that overall confidence around the meeting platforms can have an effect upon meeting fatigue, therefore it would be appropriate to allow for training sessions in which this confidence can be increased.

How can Virtual Reality Help?

Often in remote, video meetings, people can turn their cameras and microphones off, so they can just listen while often doing other activities. This can drastically harm understanding of the meeting. However, virtual reality can enable the experience of collaborating in the same room with colleagues from a remote location, therefore helping focus an attention as the individuals will have more lifelike interactions with each other. Because of this life like feel, virtual reality can also improve engagement and retention as individuals are able to have a feel of space and body language, to an extent, with peers in the same meeting. Virtual reality can also allow for quick, effective activity changes, with a wider range of activities compared to what would be obtainable in a physical meeting.

The role of Presence in Virtual Reality

It can be noted that presence is thought to be a crucial component to virtual reality, with enhancement of presence offering a subjective experience rather than a purely observational experience, which is thought to be central to remote meeting fatigue (Torisu, 2016). Presence is thought to be composed of three dimensions: Social presence (being there), personal presence (being there with others) and environmental presence (existence of virtual space) (Torisu, 2016). The components within virtual reality successfully address these three core dimensions of presence, as people are able to feel like they are there in that environment along with other people due to the first person perspective and immersive feel. This means that virtual reality can be used as an effective method for remote meetings, reducing remote meeting fatigue through the use of virtual environments.

How do we Utilize these Findings at VRE?

Here at VRE we implement virtual reality meetings through virtual platforms which help to combat meeting fatigue. This allows for more engagement in meetings as there are more social cue and an increased feeing of presence compared to traditional video meetings. This in turn reduces remote meeting fatigue and makes remote meetings less demanding physically and mentally.

How do we Help New Remote Staff Build Connections in Virtual Reality?

Remote staffing has become an increasingly popular method of employment, which means that employers can recruit on a global scale. This allows for a diverse range of skills and knowledge within the work force and improves the overall satisfaction of the workforce. However, questions have arisen about the workforces’ connections with each other, and if virtual reality can promote such connections.

Remote Staff

Remote staff are employees who do their jobs from a location other than a central office operated by the employer. These locations can be from the employees’ home, private office or a shared space, and can be across countries. Remote staffing is an effective way to scale companies as well as to find their ideal talent to build their products and services. This method of work can have many advantages for both employer and employee, such as an improved work-life balance due to the elimination of lengthy commutes, which leads to less stress. Furthermore, remote workers have reported an increase in their productivity when working remotely compared to in an office, with a significant improvement in productivity observed in May 2020 during the height of the pandemic (Kazi & Hastwell, 2020). This was due to the elimination of the commutes into the work building, as a well as the comfort of working in a preferred environment. Additionally, the company is saved costs, such as rental costs of office spaces, and they are also able to retain employees due to work flexibility and less feelings of micromanagements. This in turn, increases the employees trust and positive feelings, which may not be as possible when working in the central office.

What is Virtual Reality and how can it Build Connections?

Virtual reality is a computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment which can be interacted with in a seemingly real way. This allows for high levels of immersion, which can provide a distraction free environment and improve learning, retention, and concentration. Due to the high levels of immersion and presence, virtual reality can increase levels of social interactions due to the employees being in the shoes of their avatar. This means they can relate to and express themselves with their preferred avatars. Furthermore, due to the employees being embodied into their avatar through sensors in their headset and handheld controllers, they can physically gaze and interact with each other. This creates an almost real-life atmosphere while in the comfort of their own familiar environment. This can also make the conversations within virtual reality more memorable due to the custom environments that can be implemented. This is known as participation-based memory, where individuals who are attending a conversation on a screen do not pay as much attention to the conversation compared to those who engage in one in virtual reality (University of Maryland, 2018). Moreover, it has been noted that virtual reality team building exercises are more effective compared to traditional methods due to virtual reality decreasing levels of anxiety within individuals (Camara & Hicks, 2019; Harris et al., 2002; Robillard et al., 2010) as it allows for a safe, virtual environment in which employees are able to collaborate together. Overall, this helps to create and maintain connections between employees and employers as it provides an almost realistic environment with reduced levels of attention loss and stress.

The Importance of Mindfulness

Not only can virtual reality help to build connections with fellow employees, but also with oneself. This is through the use of presence with themselves, allowing for mindfulness. These virtual environments allow for interoception, which makes the individual increasingly aware of their own body and signals due to sounds and visual cues combined within a relaxing environment (Seabrook et al., 2020). Mindfulness can help employees to cope with stress, which in turn can assist in them controlling their behaviour and moderate their responses. This can improve an employee’s overall work satisfaction, and therefore improve their productivity and quality of their work.

How does VRE Help Build these Connections?

Here at Virtual Reality Experiences, we implement custom training and team building platforms in order to meet the employees and employer’s needs. This allows for effective training within the virtual world, which can be successfully applied in the real world. Furthermore, our team building programmes are effective in building connections between employees and employers as they allow for virtual activities, which have been seen to be more effective than traditional team building methods. Additionally, virtual meetings can take place in a variety of custom environments, which allows for greater retention of the information apparent in the meeting even when the meeting has drawn to a close. All of these factors combined help to promote a professional, effective environment for the workforce and aids in creating connections with each other.

 

Sources

Camara, D. R., & Hicks, R. E. (2019). USING VIRTUAL REALITY TO REDUCE STATE ANXIETY AND STRESS IN UNIVERSITY STUDENTS: AN EXPERIMENT. Journal of Psychology, 2, 1–15. https://doi.org/10.5176/2345-7929_4.2.100
Harris, S. R., Kemmerling, R. L., & North, M. M. (2002). Brief Virtual Reality Therapy for Public Speaking Anxiety. In CYBERPSYCHOLOGY & BEHAVIOR (Vol. 5, Issue 6). www.liebertpub.com
Kazi, & Hastwell. (2020). Remote Work Productivity Study Finds Surprising Reality: 2-Year Analysis | Great Place to Work®. Great Place to Work. https://www.greatplacetowork.com/resources/blog/remote-work-productivity-study-finds-surprising-reality-2-year-study
Robillard, G., Bouchard, S., Dumoulin, S., Guitard, T., & Klinger, É. (2010). Using virtual humans to alleviate social anxiety: Preliminary report from a comparative outcome study. Studies in Health Technology and Informatics, 154, 57–60. https://doi.org/10.3233/978-1-60750-561-7-57
Seabrook, E., Kelly, R., Foley, F., Theiler, S., Thomas, N., Wadley, G., & Nedeljkovic, M. (2020). Understanding how virtual reality can support mindfulness practice: Mixed methods study. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 22(3). https://doi.org/10.2196/16106
University of Maryland. (2018). People recall information better through virtual reality — ScienceDaily. Science Daily. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180613162613.htm

Do Extraverts in Remote Teams have more need for Connection

It has been noted that extroverts thrive from social interactions, but remote teams have dramatically decreased social encounters, which in turn can have a detrimental effect upon an individual’s wellbeing. However, virtual reality can be used to combat the negative effect of remote teams upon extroverts, promoting connections with fellow colleagues.

Extroverts

Extroversion is a type of personality which is characterized by talkativeness, assertiveness, and warmth with a focus on external sources of stimulation. Extraverts are often outgoing, sociable, friendly, and action-orientated, as well as being less likely to dwell on problems or difficulties. They thrive on socializing with others and generate their energy from this. This is in direct contract to introverts, who focus on internal feelings and are more quiet, reserved, and thoughtful. Introverts prefer to be alone to recharge their energy. Concerning extraverts within workplace environments, it has been seen that extraverts are more inclined to be natural leaders, who can naturally organize work and take charge. This is due to them being socially self-confident, competitive, and energetic. On the other hand, introverts who naturally focus on relationships, are attuned to other’s feelings and are therefore warm and approachable.

In order to measure levels of extraversion numerous personality questionnaires and inventories have been developed, with one being the Eysneck’s Personality Inventory (Eysneck & Eysneck, 1964), who are thought to be pioneers in the field of personality research. This inventory measures a total of four personality types: Extraversion – Introversion and Neuroticism – Stability. Furthermore, the Big Five Personality Test is another widely implemented measure of personality and is the most commonly used model of personality in academic psychology. This test consists of 50 items that are rated on how true they are on a five-point Likert scale, from Disagree (1) to Agree (5). This evaluates personality by measuring five personality traits: Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion-Introversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism on a continuous scale.

Extroverts and Remote Teams

One main problem that has arisen from remote teams is that extraverts cannot physically meet co-workers in their workplace, which is an issue due to extraverts thriving from group discussions and challenges. Due to the isolation of working from home, extraverts can feel socially unfulfilled, less motivated, and therefore more susceptible to distractions which allow for connections with other people. Personality trait adaptation can increase these negative feelings, in turn decreasing the individual’s overall satisfaction, productivity, and quality of their work.

What happens when Personality Trait does not match the Environment?

Forced personality adaptation in order to suit the environment can have detrimental effects for the individual. The effort it takes to act differently to one’s own personality type can be psychologically and physically depleting, increasing fatigue, and causing burnout (Little, 2008). Zelenski et al (2012) highlighted that extraverts who were required to act in an introverted manner experienced a rise in negative emotions and a decrease in job performance. Furthering this, unlike introverts who may act extraverted in order to achieve their own goals (such as social or career), develop mastery in doing so, extraverts have been seen to feel a deeper loss of control over their new environment, which can increase levels of stress and anxiety. Therefore, questions have arisen concerning how the risk of fatigue, stress, and burnout can be decreased for extraverts who have found themselves to be required to adapt their personality type to match remote team environments.

Restorative Niches

In a personality perspective, restorative niches are environments which allow for an individual’s natural personality type to transpire. This means that individuals are able to recharge in a personalised environment which best suits their personality type. Extraverts naturally seek for restorative niches which satisfy their social needs and energy, which is readily available in office environments but less so in remote teams’ environments. Within remote team environments, regular virtual team meetings can take place in order create these restorative niches. However, this may increase levels of meeting fatigue, which is tiredness and burnout caused by remote team meetings and the lack, as well as mismatch, of social cues (Epstein, 2020; Nesher Shoshan & Wehrt, 2021; Ratan et al., 2022).

The Role of Virtual Reality

Virtual reality can offer an environment in which individuals are fully immersed, creating a strong sense of presence. This sense of presence allows for a subjective experience, rather than a purely observational one, which gives people the feeling that they are in that environment with their fellow colleagues. Furthermore, this dramatically decreases levels of remote meeting fatigue which is often associated with virtual team meetings (Torisu, 2016). This means that extroverts will be able to escape their four walls of isolation and situate themselves into a completely different environment with their colleagues, generated in virtual reality. Consequently, the development of restorative niches is achieved within the virtual environment as extraverts are able to interact with their peers as if they were seeing each other in a physical environment. In turn, this will decrease the negative emotions associated with personality type mismatch and promote positive feelings which will increase the individual’s overall satisfaction, motivations, and productivity. Virtual reality niches can also be implemented for introverts, such as meditation environments where individuals are able to escape social demands and focus internally upon themselves.

How do we Utilize these Findings at VRE?

Here at VRE we implement virtual environments in which individuals are able to meet and perform activities in a virtual space. This means that a restorative niche is created for those who require an environment where their extraversion can emerge successfully. Not only do we create these environments which suit extraverts, but introverts can partake in virtual activities, such as mindfulness and meditation, to suit their personality needs. Overall, this will create a stronger, healthier work force who have high levels of satisfaction, productivity, and quality of work.

 

Sources

Barbuto, J. E. (1997). A Critique of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and its Operationalization of Carl Jung’s Psychological Types: Http://Dx.Doi.Org/10.2466/Pr0.1997.80.2.611, 80(2), 611–625. https://doi.org/10.2466/PR0.1997.80.2.611
Carskadon, T. G. (1977). Test-Retest Reliabilities of Continuous Scores on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator: Http://Dx.Doi.Org/10.2466/Pr0.1977.41.3.1011, 41(3), 1011–1012. https://doi.org/10.2466/PR0.1977.41.3.1011
Epstein, H. A. B. (2020). Virtual Meeting Fatigue. Journal of Hospital Librarianship, 20(4), 356–360. https://doi.org/10.1080/15323269.2020.1819758
Eysneck, & Eysneck. (1964). Manual of the Eysenck Personality Inventory. University of London Press. https://www.worldcat.org/title/manual-of-the-eysenck-personality-inventory/oclc/152577658?page=citation
Little, B. R. (2008). Personal Projects and Free Traits: Personality and Motivation Reconsidered. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 2(3), 1235–1254. https://doi.org/10.1111/J.1751-9004.2008.00106.X
Nesher Shoshan, H., & Wehrt, W. (2021). Understanding “Zoom fatigue”: A mixed-method approach. Applied Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1111/apps.12360
Pittenger, D. J. (2005). Cautionary comments regarding the Myers-Briggs type indicator. In Consulting Psychology Journal (Vol. 57, Issue 3, pp. 210–221). American Psychological Association. https://doi.org/10.1037/1065-9293.57.3.210
Ratan, R., Miller, D. B., & Bailenson, J. N. (2022). Facial Appearance Dissatisfaction Explains Differences in Zoom Fatigue. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 25(2), 124–129. https://doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2021.0112
Stein, R., & Swan, A. B. (2019). Evaluating the validity of Myers-Briggs Type Indicator theory: A teaching tool and window into intuitive psychology. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 13(2). https://doi.org/10.1111/spc3.12434
Torisu, T. (2016). Sense of Presence in Social VR Experience. Interactive Architecture Lab. http://www.interactivearchitecture.org/sense-of-presence-in-social-vr-experience.html
Zelenski, J. M., Santoro, M. S., & Whelan, D. C. (2012). Would introverts be better off if they acted more like extraverts? Exploring emotional and cognitive consequences of counterdispositional behavior. Emotion (Washington, D.C.), 12(2), 290–303. https://doi.org/10.1037/A0025169

Are your Remote Teams Longing for that Human Connection?

Remote work has become increasing popular over the years, with an estimated 56 percent of the United Kingdom’s population working from home. Due to this, there has been a rise in remote teams which has both positive and detrimental effects upon both employee and employer. With this in mind, the issue of virtual distance has arisen as well as some potential methods in order to address the associated problems.

Remote Teams

A remote team refers to a group of employees who are spread across various locations, such as cities, countries, and continents, who communicate online. Examples of these include meetings across video call platforms. Remote teams do allow for a larger spread of work force which can cover demands within different counties, and have been seen to be overall a happier, more productive workforce once adequate custom training is implemented (Hirsch, 2019). However, there are some drawbacks remote teams, one of which is that around 55 percent of communication is non-verbal, therefore a lot of communication is missed when seeing peers faces on a screen (Online Reality, 2022). This can cause miscommunication between individuals as body language is key in assisting peoples understanding and decoding of what people are saying. It also enhances individuals’ conscious comprehension of people’s reactions, emotions and moods. Furthermore, 85 percent of people prefer face to face meetings because it allows for stronger, more meaningful work force relationships to develop (Online Reality, 2022). Due to this, remote teams may have a lack of work force relationships, which could decrease an individual’s sense of meaningfulness to the workforce. All of these issues and more can be related to the issue of virtual distance.

What is Virtual Distance and how does it happen?

Virtual distance is a sense of psychological and emotional detachment which unconsciously grows when most encounters and experiences are mediated by screens. Taking this into account, traditional virtual meetings leave individuals deprived of physical human connection which they would acquire in a face to face environment. This has been explained through the virtual distance model, which is made up of three factors: physical distance, operational distance, and affinity distance. In regard to physical distance, this refers to geographic distance such as not sharing the same workspace as fellow peers. Operational distance builds due to unwanted noise within the meeting system which can arise from technical problems such as poor technology. Finally, due to the absence of meaningful mutuality and motivation, affinity distance occurs, where relationships are not built nor maintained. Due to this, when there are high levels of virtual distance, project success drops by over 50 percent, cooperative and helping behaviours decrease by over 80 percent, and innovative behaviours decline by over 90 percent. This is detrimental to both employees and employers (Ferrazzi, 2014).

Can Virtual Distance be Overcome?

In order to combat virtual distance a shared context must be restored, such as enforcing webcams to be active during collaboration conversations as well as actively checking how employees are before and after meetings. Research has highlighted that there are four important factors which can help to overcome virtual distance issues. These are by having the right: team, leadership, touchpoints, and technology (Ferrazzi, 2014). These can be addressed within the traditional screen to screen environments but may be more effectively managed through the use of virtual reality.

The Role of Virtual Reality

Virtual reality can effectively address the key issues associated with virtual distance. This is by inducing the sense of presence, which can decrease the physical gap felt by individuals. Presence is a critical component within virtual reality, and helps to enhance feelings of environmental, social, and personal presence (Torisu, 2016). Furthermore, through the use of the virtual environment within virtual reality, a shared context can be achieved. This is due to the individuals appearing to be in the same room using their customised avatars. In turn, this can increase cooperation between individuals, as well as increasing motivation and project success rate.

How can VRE Help?

VRE implements virtual reality meetings, team building and training through virtual platforms, which helps to increase feelings of presence and in turn combats the issue of virtual distance. Furthermore, we implement custom training programmes in order to promote a more satisfied, productive workforce. Additionally, technological issues are addressed as all participating employees receive top of the range virtual reality equipment so that they are able to effectively participate within the meeting platforms and training programmes. In turn, this increases employees feelings of meaningfulness, as well as cooperation with peers and decreases virtual distance as well as the associated negative effects.

 

 

Sources

Ferrazzi, K. (2014). HBR.ORG Getting Virtual Teams Right.
Hirsch, A. S. (2019). Building and Leading High-Performing Remote Teams. https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/technology/pages/building-leading-high…
Online Reality. (2022). Do we still need face to face meetings? Online Reality. https://www.onlinereality.co.uk/blog/do-we-still-need-face-to-face-meetings
Torisu, T. (2016). Sense of Presence in Social VR Experience. Interactive Architecture Lab. http://www.interactivearchitecture.org/sense-of-presence-in-social-vr-experience.html

Do companies need team building?

Do companies need team building?

We are the VR team building specialists, but do companies need team building? There is a surprising amount of evidence that they do.

We know organizations across the globe are developing strategies that are aimed at improving their employee’s performance as it is deeply connected with the overall corporate performance and productivity level (Obiekwe, 2018).

Organizations are focusing on the proactive formation of work teams as a way to improve this performance of individual members to maximize general organizational productivity (Baridam and Nwibere, 2008). This is where team building is one of the most significant methods used by organizations to maximize individual as well as group productivity (Fapohunda, 2013).

What is team building?

Fapohunda (2013) stated that team building involves a variety of activities, presented to the organizations aimed at improving team performance. This kind of organizational intervention, ensures self-development, positive communication, and the development of leadership, all this leading to the ability to work better as a team to solve problems.

Team building is a process through which a team studies its process of working together and creates a context that encourages the contributions of team members (Chive, Chen, Lu and Lee, 2006). Brandy (2018) states that team building involves helping employees and management alike to learn how to work together as a team. Team building can help with the improvement of interpersonal relationships within the company, increase the motivation of the employees, and it can help with getting to a resolution for organizational conflicts (Kriek 2007).

What are the outputs of team building?

A meta-analysis conducted by Klein and colleagues (2009), based on 60 effects sizes, supports the utility of team building on several outcomes. Some of the most important were goal setting and role clarification. Goal setting and role clarification components create a shared understanding of the task and team.

Osemene (2018) has pointed out that team building can influence the performance of the employees of organizations, in areas such as service delivery, organizational responsiveness, and market value creation for its products and services among others.

Jade (2012) has summarized the benefits of team building as follows:

Improvement of the employee’s morale and leadership skills
Helps target all barriers that hinder creativity
Helps analyze goals and objectives
Enhancement of organizational productivity
Identification of team strengths and the weakness
Additionally, it helps ease the conflicts by allowing employees to bond with one another and get to know each other better. It promotes teamwork which is highly important because the teams from an organization, need to efficiently solve the problems that they may come across.

Summary

McQuerrey (2019) asserted that teamwork helps individuals from organizations to work well together, improves productivity, and raises the morale of the organization members. In short, it adds a huge contribution to organizational productivity and effectiveness.

In the light of the global Pandemic COVID-19, doing classical team-building activities has become increasingly difficult. Given that, having an alternative for bringing people together is very important. VR technologies involve an immersive sound and visual-based experience, replicating the real word or augmenting its features.

Using VR technologies as a solution has become more accessible over the years ( Patera, Draper & Naef, 2008). VR is already used to help increase team performance in a sports or military setting. Whether is a soldier-based simulator or gameplay scenario, the users of the VR technologies can train and improve their abilities, through the realistic environment that is provided (Fan & Wen, 2019).

Some people might be worried about using technologies to replace human interaction. As team building involves connection. But does it have to be a physical connection?

Over the years where the internet has taken over, we’ve seen that is physical presence is not required all the time for you to connect with someone. Just using messages, videos or your recorded voice can help you get to know people all around the globe. The connection you make with other people is not by any means diminished. VR can take that to the next level, and create an immersive experience where you can meet someone, almost as you would meet them in the real life.

You would think that trust between each other, would be the hardest to get if it does not imply face-to-face interactions. Corbit and collaborators (2004) showed that when people work on teams face to face, relative to teams that collaborate virtually, there is no significant difference between their results. Trust emerged in both groups and the virtual team scored higher in the direction of effective performance.

People can use these technologies, to create a team-building experience where they can know each other better, have fun and improve their collaboration. Using VR in this way is relevant for organizations, as team-building has a real significance for improving the overall efficacy of the organization, and is an innovative option in these socially distanced times.

Our VR Team Building and Team Assessment Services

We are the VR team building specialists and we combine the best of team building with the best of VR to create some truly unique experiences for your teams.

We also offer team assessment and diagnostics, we can help you determine where your team currently is in terms of team performance and importantly what you can do to move them to a high performance stage.

Contact us now for an informal chat about your team development needs.

 

References:

Obiekwe, O., Zeb-Obipi, I. & Oparanma, A.O. (2018). Impact of firm-based family culture on employee involvement in Nigerian manufacturing firms. IIARD International Journal of Economics and Business Management, 4(1), 93-101.
Baridam, D. M. & Nwibere, B. M. (2008). Understanding and managing organizational behaviours. Port Harcourt: Sherbrooke Associates
Fapohunda, T. M. (2013). Towards effective team building in the workplace. International Journal of Education and Research, 1(4), 1-12
Brady, D. (2018). The Positive Impact of Team Building. Retrieved from: https://www.totalteambuilding.com.au/the-positive-impact-of-team-building/
Fapohunda, T. M. (2013). Towards effective team building in the workplace. International Journal of Education and Research, 1(4), 1-12.
Kriek, H.S. (2007). A survey of the prevalence and nature of teambuilding interventions in South African organizations. Paper presented at the 12th Conference of the Eastern Academy of Management in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Ikon, M. A., Onwuchekwa, F. & Okolie-Osemene, M. (2018). Team building and employee performance in selected breweries in South East, Nigeria. European Journal of Business and Innovation Research, 6(1), 14-39
Klein, C., DiazGranados, D., Salas, E., Le, H., Burke, C. S., Lyons, R., & Goodwin, G. F. (2009). Does team building work?. Small group research, 40(2), 181-222.
McQuerrey, L. (2019). What are the benefits of teamwork on organization effectiveness? Retrieved from: https://smallbusiness.chron.com/benefits-teamwork-organizationeffectiveness-78220.html
Patera, M., Draper, S., & Naef, M. (2008). Exploring Magic Cottage: A Virtual Reality Environment for Stimulating Children’s Imaginative Writing. Interactive Learning Environments, 16(3), 245-263.
Corbitt, G., Gardiner, L. R., & Wright, L. K. (2004, January). A comparison of team developmental stages, trust and performance for virtual versus face-to-face teams. In 37th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, 2004. Proceedings of the (pp. 8-pp). IEEE.

Benefits of team building using VR

Benefits of team building using VR

Many studies show the advantages of virtual reality for effective team building (Ellis, 2008).

Industries have been developing team building games exponentially these past decades for this reason. If your company has already organized team building activities, you may be wondering how effective they are and how they can be improved using virtual reality. First of all, these are the main benefits that can be observed from team building activities :

  • Improving communication between coworkers
  • Increased productivity
  • Increased morale and motivation

These benefits aren’t only limited to VR team building, but VR technologies present advantages and particularities that you should definitely consider.

 

Traditional team building vs VR team building :

Health and safety measures : With the current situation of the global pandemic, remote working has exploded. It doesn’t come as a surprise either that new technologies have been more and more used as a result. Virtual reality in the workplace enables international collaborations but also close in situ collaborations, while respecting the safety measures.

Endless scenarios and lower cost: Team building requires quite some organization and budget. The initial investment in VR is quickly made profitable, considering the fact you can have extremely diverse choice activities and games that don’t require having to pay for transportation or accomodation.

Higher levels of attention and engagement : With VR team building, there is no place for passivity. The engagement is higher than with usual team building events. When you are invested in a virtual reality activity, you are fully immersed and more attentive and mindful (Izzouzi, 2021).

 

Specific benefits of VR for team building :

The notion of collaborative reality : We all evolve in a shared reality, but not necessarily always in a collaborative mode. By creating artificial virtual spaces, we create places where people don’t even have to be in the same room or country, but are still able to live a shared moment together. It creates a profound communication, as it enables us to share a very particular vision and perspective.

By cooperating in this miniature created environment, you are reinforcing the sharing process and interactivity (Klackova, 2021). This can be very useful in times of pandemic, but also just in general to reinforce international teams that were maybe already being coordinated virtually.

Social identity theory : When playing a game in virtual reality, there is a stronger sense of identification to the group than with a traditional game. The initial work group isn’t necessarily that strong. Some personal characteristics can overcome the identification to the group ; such as gender for example. Creating a stronger identification to the group has many benefits : it improves communication, cooperation, and productivity. Most importantly individuals that are part of this new ephemeral group tend to contribute more to the work group afterwards, after the games have been played (Ren, Kraut, and Kiesler, 2007).

Increasing social communication : Most groups are oriented towards the task, and not on the emotions between the peers. By participating in a virtual game using VR ; individuals are forced to increase their communication but in a different setting than usual. Games call for other kinds of communications than usual work tasks, which leads to increased levels of social communication (Olson, 2002). Colleagues don’t have to be friends, but by maintaining emotional relationships with them you increase their trust and general group productivity.

Focusing on body language : This benefit aims for teams that were originally virtual, but can also work for non virtual teams. One of the main problems with teams that are purely virtual is that there aren’t any nonverbal cues in virtual communication usually (Maloney, 2020). These nonverbal cues are displayed in body language ; and enhance trust and cohesion in a group. By entering a virtual world, these groups now have the chance to develop their interactions on another level, via their avatar.Avatars have been recognized to balance this negative effect quite effectively. The representation of the scheme of the whole body is important for an effective team work, and virtual reality is the only type of technology that enables one to fully embody avatars (Postmes, 2003).

 

Our VR Team Building and Team Assessment Services

We are the VR team building specialists and we combine the best of team building with the best of VR to create some truly unique experiences for your teams.

We also offer team assessment and diagnostics, we can help you determine where your team currently is in terms of team performance and importantly what you can do to move them to a high performance stage.

Contact us now for an informal chat about your team development needs.

 

References :

Ellis, 2008. Games for virtual team building, Proceedings of the Conference on Designing Interactive Systems, Cape Town, South Africa, February 25-27.

Hogg & Abrams. 1999 Social identity and social cognition: Historical background and current trends. In D. Abrams & M. A. Hogg (Eds.), Social identity and social cognition (pp. 1-25),. Oxford, England.

Izzouzi, 2021. Effectiveness of Social Virtual Reality, University College London
Department of Computer Science.
James, K. and Greenberg, J. 1989 In-Group Salience, Inter group Comparison, and Individual Performance and Self-Esteem. Personality and Social Psyc. Bulletin, 15 (4), 604-616.

Klackova, 2021. November 2021IOP Conference Series Materials Science and Engineering 1199(1):012005.

Maloney, 2020. Talking without a Voice : Understanding Non-verbal Communication in Social Virtual Reality, Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction 4(CSCW2):1-25.

Olson, 2002.. Distance matters. Human Computer Interaction 15.

Postmes, 2003. A social identity approach to communication in organizations. In A. Haslam, D. van Knippenberg, M. Platow, & N. Ellemers (eds.), Social identity at work: Developing theory for organizational practice. Philadelphia, PA: Psychology Press.

Ren, Kraut, and Kiesler, 2007. Applying common identity and bond theory to design of online communities. Organization Studies, 28(3), 377-408.

Sutanto, Phang, Kuan, Kankanhalli, 2005. Vicious and Virtuous Cycles in Global Virtual Team Role Coordination,Proceedings of the Thirty-Eighth Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, Hawaii, United States, 3-6 January.

Top 5 best vr team building games, how is team building influencing those games?

Team building games has definitely become a more approachable game genre for the virtual reality communities. The immersiveness of using virtual reality with team building games, makes the overall user experience better when you are talking about playing a CO-OP game or a multiplayer based game “MMO, MMORPG ” . With the upgrades and new features that virtual reality has provided, there are numerous Team building games available for the public, The list below shows the top 5 most immersive games for VR team building.

 

5. Orbus VR Reborn

Orbus VR Reborn is a MMORPG that lets you and your teammates discover a massive open world, its filled with a variety of quests, group raids and social events within the game, including cooking, fishing and much more, The possibilities of interaction between you and friends are diverse, allowing you to swing swords, gun shooting, harvesting ingredients and even magic casting. The game is embedded with a concept of team building playthrough, as the players are required to form groups of different skills elements in order to complete dungeons and raids, the unit must work as a group in order to clear levels using the concept of getting involvement by each and every member of the group, the classes and tools are unique and they can be use differently, In team building games you are required to work as a team to achieve a certain aspect of the game, and that’s essentially what ORBUS VR Reborn do. A massive open world full of quests that was embedded for VR team building concept, using the immersiveness of a MMORPG game into a massive vr experiences with loads of team building aspects.

 

4. PAYDAY 2

PAYDAY2 was originally built as a non VR game, the VR version came shortly after as the game had great success. The game itself consists of a bank heist where you and 3 of your teammates are given a mission to enter a bank or a designated location and get all the money out before the police get their hands on you and your teammates. The game works as a team building foundation for the core of the gameplay, as it’s required for the team entering the bank to work together to achieve the end goal, players divide tasks so the assault goes smoothly, this stimulates the division of tasks , which ultimately results in completing the mission. If everyone is focused on doing the same task the mission is most likely to fail as there are core parts of the game mechanics that need to be covered throughout the mission.

 

3. The Forest

As survivors of a plane crash you find yourselves in a mysterious forest, battling to stay alive against a society of cannibalism mutants, and why not do it with your friends, the first release of the game was built for PC only, as popularity gotten bigger for this game for their realistic survival traits the game was later constructed for virtual reality, it uses the concept of survival, building, construction, and fighting for your life. The gameplay allows you and your party to play through a VR team building experience which incorporates a survival strategy to prevent any members of the party from dying. The has a backstory that develops as the players investigate the island and its surroundings, the division of work is necessary in order to survive as resources can be quite chaotic to get your hands on. The forest gives a session of team work needed as you don’t want to risk your getting eaten by cannibals.

 

2. Phasmophobia

You have been hired to find out and stop the ghost from haunting a certain a location, as member of the party your job is to investigate the the surroundings of the house and discover what type of ghost you are dealing with, but be careful, the ghost will try kill you. Phasmophobia has been a huge success since its launching date, you can play up with a party number of 4 players in total giving you more diversity when approaching the discovery of the haunted location. The game requires you to get members of your party involved in order to successfully complete the mission, each member of the group can carry up to 3 items that have different purposes when exploring the inside of the haunted location, This consists of a core of team building aspects as you would have to communicate precisely with your teammates in order to keep everyone alive within the haunted space. The idea is to get people involved to prevent casualties.

 

1. Keep talking and nobody explodes

Keep talking and nobody explodes consists of “precise” communication to say the least. The game has communication as its core for completing the levels. Team building is about actions that are performed during a game that is later transformed into a trust bond between the members of the team to complete an action, and that’s essentially what this game is composed of, An immersive experience where both players are set to work together for a VR team building exercise. The 2 sets of players are put into a situation where they must disarm a bomb in order to stay alive, One person deals with the manual of how to defuse the bomb without actually seeing how the bomb looks like, on the other side you have the person whos dealing with the bomb with multiple wires and buttons to be pressed but has no clue of how to operate as there are no instructions oh how to do it. They must work together in order to give precise descriptions of what they see and how they can disarm the bomb before the time goes off. This is a perfect example of how 2 people must work together to achieve the same ending goal, which has team building as one of its main cores.

Oculus Quest review – No Strings Attached

With the increased competition from HTC and Microsoft, it was up to pioneers Oculus to spearhead the way into the next step for Virtual Reality, I believe they’ve done more than a serviceable job with the new Oculus Quest, released late May. Starting at £399 for the 64GB model and £499 for the 128GB, its safe to say that its more than affordable for the average consumer in respect to the alternatives of having both the PC and headset, but how does it perform?

The headset itself is sleek and beautifully crafted, the matte black finish on the front giving a very smooth feel to the device, with 4 cameras on the front as there are no external sensors with this offering, as well as the tried and tested stretch mechanism, it’s a good looking piece of equipment for sure. A tough fabric protects the users face and eyes from the plastic casing and I found this to be very comfortable, even during extended sessions. Controller wise the Quest is very similar to previous Oculus iterations, the main difference I could spot was the sensor loop having been moved from the underside of the controller to now sitting on top. I feel as though this gives a good balance to the controller and much less risk of getting a finger or knuckle caught inside during intense moments. The now capacitive buttons and triggers also allow for a little extra immersion, however I have yet to find a practical use for this in any of the applications I used, maybe future titles will capitalise on this and give us some new and interesting ways to interact with the game worlds they create.

With load times for games being less than 10 seconds and the OS booting in less than 5, there is no worry that the mobile chipset powering the device is sufficient, apps run smooth and even during hectic or power hungry segments in games such as Robo-Recall or Beat Sabre I was unable to notice any slowdown or frame rate drops. The only difference I could see was the slightly lower resolution as compared to the beefier, PC powered counterpart, but this is to be expected and when immersed will not take away from the experiences on offer. There is still however, a graininess to the screen that plagues all of the oculus devices, while at a decent resolution, the graphical fidelity of some sections suffer, mostly when visualising objects at a distance. Despite this I was very impressed with the performance of the console and unless you are a stickler for having the best possible graphics, the Oculus Quest is a very tantalising choice.

The user experience is also a very simple one. From setting play boundaries to loading an app, all it takes is the press of a button. Nothing is hidden behind menus or button combinations. The whole experience is laid very bare for all to see. A truly easy and enjoyable way to pick up and play.

While the claim of being a completely wireless experience holds true for the Quest, a drawback to this is then having to be concerned with the battery, while okay for a quick session, any wishes for extended play will be quickly diminished. On average I was able to pull around 2 hours on a single charge for the headset, which is considerably less than its main portable competitor, the Nintendo Switch. While this can be boosted with the use of an external battery pack, if you are looking to use the system for a social setting then you may come into some difficulty. The charge time to fully charged is around an hour. For me this is the main drawback of the system and something that I pray is addressed in future iterations of the system. The AA battery run controllers however will easily run for around 12 hours.

The worth of a console lies very heavily in the choice of titles available, to which the Quest delivers in heaps, boasting a launch line up of 50+ titles there will be enough to keep even the most dedicated of players occupied for a while to come. Standouts include the tried and tested Robo-Recall, Beat Sabre and Super-Hot, the latter I can only describe my experience of playing it on the Quest as INCREDIBLE! The wireless nature if the device allows for a more deep and in depth view into the virtual world than I have experienced prior. Other offerings, like the ultra-immersive ‘Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series – Episode 1’, left me aching for more sabre-swinging, force wielding action, truly a must play for fans of Star Wars and story driven games alike. The Quest is littered with so many gems that it started to feel like the console is worth its weight in precious stones. I found the system to have more than enough memory for my needs, using the 64GB model, with every application owned being installed (around 18), the system was not full and had more than enough space for many more games. This is fantastic as consumers will have a variety of applications available at any one time.

As well as this you are more than welcome to take advantage of the video streaming capabilities, with streaming available to Facebook direct from the headset. If you wish to see gameplay on a TV however, you will require some extra equipment, either a Chromecast to a TV or using a mobile device and the oculus app. Both are easy to set up and with minimal visual lag it’s a great way to share screens.

Overall the console offers a big step in the right direction, while still being essentially a first generation VR console, the freedom on offer greatly surpasses any limitations to graphical fidelity or play time due to battery size. The wide array of applications will give even the pickiest of gamers something to enjoy. I can wholeheartedly recommend the Oculus Quest to anyone looking for an easy and relatively cheap VR experience, no strings attached.

8/10

Oculus Quest Has Arrived … And It’s A Game Changer

For too long now we have been waiting for a new innovation to launch VR into the mainstream, and let’s be honest, many of us were starting to give up hope.

Most people that have trialled the current crop of hardware will have had positive, enjoyable experiences, agreeing that the technology shows much potential, but are yet to be fully convinced. Why is that? What is putting them off from actually forking out on a headset?

Although cost will be a factor for a lot of consumers, others say that for a platform that is supposed to fully immerse the user in a virtual world, and give them a sense of freedom, it can often feel, well, restrictive. Because even when you can’t see anything from the real world when wearing the headset, you can’t shake the feeling that you’re going to accidentally trip over that wire you know is sticking out of your head.

Perhaps they’re lacking a PC with the right system requirements, or they’re not too keen on the idea of having additional external sensors placed around the room to prevent tracking problems. These are some of the main issues that VR hardware manufacturers have been struggling to overcome … until now.

 

All Together Now

Enter the brand new Quest headset from Oculus ­- arguably VR’s best chance yet of appealing to the masses. It’s an all-in-one system, so it doesn’t need to be played through a PC or other machine, and it’s all wireless.

It also comes with four wide-angle cameras built in as part of the new Insight tracking feature – no need for those extra sensors any more – while its six degrees of freedom means it can track your movements in – you guessed it – six directions: up, down, left, right, forwards and backwards. Because it automatically senses the space you’re in and adapts to it, the headset can be used in rooms of varying sizes with minimal setup.

Even so, some users will still feel a bit uneasy moving around too much in case they get too close to a real-world surface or object, which is why the Quest comes equipped with the same Guardian system as the Rift. This enables the wearer to draw out a boundary so they can avoid accidentally punching a wall or stubbing a toe on the sofa.

If you are planning on using it across a number of spaces then the Quest is capable of remembering the Guardian layouts for multiple rooms and recognising when you’ve moved from one to the other, eliminating the need to retrace the grid every time you boot up the system again.

 

A Touch of Class

Also similar to what came with the Rift are the new Touch controllers, although they’ve been moderated slightly with the Quest. Those familiar with the Rift design will notice that the tracking strips have moved from below the hands to above them. This is so it can be more easily picked up by the head-mounted cameras, and the effect on the accuracy of the tracking is extremely impressive.

This might be a standalone system, but that hasn’t resulted in efficiency being heavily sacrificed. The Quest really makes the most of its built-in Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, a chip that’s actually been around for a while and can be found in smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S8.

Despite its chip being a few years old now, the new headset is more than capable of running popular VR titles like Beat Saber and Robo Recall without a hitch, and you can be confident that the tech won’t let you down when lining up that winning serve on Sports Scramble – a new sports package that could just become the new Wii Sports if enough people get the chance to try it.

However, these games aren’t the most demanding in terms of performance. It remains to be seen how the system fares when it’s really put through its paces, and you can expect some of the real top-spec titles, which would probably be too much for the Quest to handle, to head to the PC-backed Rift instead. Still, its capabilities for a mobile device represent a real leap forward.

And the price for all this? The Quest comes with an RRP of £399, which is the same as the new Rift S headset from Oculus – an improved and upgraded version of the original Rift – released on the same day (May 21st). The Rift S may be a preferable option for those with a high-end PC, but for those who don’t and have been waiting for the right piece of kit to come along and give them the ideal entry into the world of VR, the Quest may just have everything they need.

Educating Gen Z Using Virtual Reality

Engaging with students in the age bracket known as Generation Z (Gen Z) – those currently aged between around 15 and 22 – is not a new challenge for the higher education sector.

Educators have always had to update their methods to stay in tune with the modern world they’re preparing their students for, with technology playing a crucial role in this process. These days it’s arguably become more important than ever, with tech so central to the lives of young people who fall into this demographic. Gen Z are true digital natives, and won’t remember a time before the internet and digital technology, mainly because they weren’t even born back in those primitive times.

As well as continually seeking out that next piece of tech that will take their entertainment to the next level, Gen Z are now looking for more advanced digital experiences to augment their learning. And because they’ve now reached the age where they’re either at college or university or will be heading there in the next few years, these institutions are under pressure to ramp up their tech efforts or risk having some very uninspired students on their hands. When the next stage is for them to enter the world of work, it’s crucial that educators start acting to give them the right learning tools to suit their tech-hungry mind-sets.

 

Meeting expectations

Research is showing that VR is becoming an increasingly desirable learning aid. According to a new study from the Center for Generational Kinetics, commissioned by Cognizant Consulting, “the majority of Gen Z (60%) is now open to incorporating virtual reality into their experiences with movies, shows and games, and this will extend into the learning environment as students expect an immersive educational approach that provides practical experience in their chosen field.”

Although these digital experiences will differ depending on the course they’ve chosen, many young people are indicating that they’d like their learning to be more immersive, with VR now recognised as a useful educational tool. Simulation is proven to be a highly effective way of learning, and virtual reality enables this to be done in a way that Gen Z can immediately engage with.

 

Learning by doing

With VR, you’re learning through experience, and there are multiple theories out there suggesting this is the best way to retain what you’ve learnt. One of the best known examples is Edgar Dale’s Cone of Experience, which claims that we retain just 10% of what we read (shown at the tip of the cone diagram) but a whopping 90% of what we do (shown at the base). Even though it happens virtually, in VR you are effectively tricking your brain into thinking you’re really ‘doing’ the activity you’re learning, so therefore, if Dale is correct, it’s far more likely to stick than if you were to simply read about doing the same task in a boring old textbook.

Virtual reality therefore presents a whole new way to learn skills that were previously difficult to teach. Before, the ‘doing’ had to be done for real, maybe in the form of a practical experiment or a costly school trip, but with this new technology all it takes is a headset and some convincing content so it’s as close to reality as possible.

VR enables pretty much limitless learning possibilities due to the activities taking place in a virtual, created world. Learners could be immediately transported to a place in history that they need to know about, or perhaps a faraway geographical location that they’re studying. The older generations got by OK with traditional non-tech methods, but Gen Z don’t tend to respond well to passive-only learning.

 

Playing it safe

Another benefit of VR is that it allows the user to experience the activity that is being simulated with as much accuracy and realism as possible, but in a safe way. The wearer can afford to make mistakes that could get them into trouble in the real world, but in the virtual space they won’t be harmed, for example experimenting with hazardous chemicals in a ‘VR lab’.

Of course, we’re only at the very dawn of VR being utilised for learning, and it will take a bit of time to really take hold. Yet what is really starting to excite experts is the potential for it to be combined with other emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, even robotics.

But let’s allow VR to properly find its place in the classroom before looking too far ahead, or before we know it we’ll have Generation Alpha to cater for too, and that’ll be a whole other challenge entirely.