Our Zen Adventure in the Metaverse

Here at VRE we are a friendly bunch who enjoy a jolly across the metaverse together.  We are normally running team building or leadership training in virtual classrooms.  On this occasion we thought we would try something different – meeting a real Zen abbot in a virtual Japanese temple, for some spiritual enlightenment.

Our avatars gather in the Engage VR platform.  We have swapped our shoes for white socks, in accordance with the Japanese dress code.  We laugh at each other’s avatars – not the cutest in the metaverse, with uncoordinated, jiggly arms and legs.

We find ourselves in a breathtaking wooden temple – an amber-coloured sanctuary with soft rush mats and paper windows.  A sonorous drum beat and the ambient sounds of nature help to immerse us in this tranquil space.  Most stunning of all are two sliding doors with large hand-painted dragons on them.

Our host and interpreter, Hans Karlsson, tells us that we are in the digital twin of Gyokuryu-ji, the Temple of the Jewel Dragon, in Gero City, situated in Gifu Prefecture in the centre of Japan.  Hans is a Swede who went to Japan as a student in 1986 and never came back.  This virtual temple has been lovingly crafted by his company, Mimir.

Hans takes us on a tour of the temple garden. Using 360⁰ photography, he transports us to a serene oasis with maple trees and a koi fishpond.

The abbot, Kaku-san, enters.  His full title is Priest-in-Chief, Hokaku Sasaki.  Kaku-san’s avatar is the picture of composure and grace – all the more remarkable since he has got up in the middle of the night to share his wisdom at a time that is convenient for us, in our time zone.

We ask whether Zen is exclusively for Buddhists or if people from other religions can join in?  Kaku-san warmly emphasizes that Zen welcomes people of all religious backgrounds.  He shares his experience of visiting a Christian monastery in France, where acceptance and friendship transcended religious differences.  Hans adds that in Japan, different religions coexist harmoniously.  In Shinto, the traditional religion of Japan, many things can be gods – waterfalls, mountains, trees – so there is no problem for Jesus Christ to be included as one too. The temple itself also has a Shinto shrine. “It’s like church and Buddhist temple in the same building” Hans says.

So what is Zen?  Is it a religion?  A philosophy?  “Simply put”, says Kaku-san, “it’s meditation.”  Meditation is about being in the present moment.  We are constantly distressed by worries about the future, regrets about the past.  But these are mere illusions.  The only thing that is real, is the present moment.  The goal of meditation is to ease suffering by ridding our minds of all thoughts, to be aware only of the present moment, and eventually to “dissolve into nothingness.”

At the temple monks meditate in different ways, for example by practicing zazen (sitting meditation), sitting on their heels for long periods.

We ask what does Kaku-san think of guided meditation?  He acknowledges that it is useful for beginners on their meditative journey.  Monks have “old masters” to teach them.  But the goal is to meditate just by yourself using nothing.  The ultimate goal is nothingness!

In our success-driven culture and fast-paced lives, Zen seems very difficult to achieve, but Kaku-san encourages us to try.  We can find moments in nature.  We can meditate while we eat, by focusing only on the food and the act of eating it.  We can meditate just for a few minutes anywhere, for example while we are travelling by train.



Kaku-san tells us a story…

Bodhidharma was an Indian monk who brought Zen Buddhism to China in the 5th or 6th century.  He came every day to the Chinese Shaolin Monastery to do zazen.  Eka, one of the monks there, came to see him.  But Eka had a heavy, suffering heart.  He stood for a long time in the snow without saying anything.  Finally Eka spoke:  “I have such a heavy, suffering heart.  Please help me find peace.”  “My friend, bring your heart here,” Bodhidharma retorted. “Give it to me.”  This confused Eka.  “I am looking for my heart, but I can’t find it at all.”  “Well then, I have already helped you find your peace”, came Bodhidharma’s reply.

Inner peace might be difficult to achieve, but we all feel very present while we are in the temple with the abbot, and all agree that this has been a very special experience…

Kaku-san invites you all to come and meditate in his virtual temple.  It is open 24 hours a day, and accessible for free on the Engage platform.  If you don’t have a VR headset, as you can access it on your laptop.  Find out more at https://www.mimir.world/the-metaverse-zen-temple.html

Can Virtual Reality Reveal Team Preferences?

Identifying natural team preferences, also known as team roles, is of great importance in order to develop an effective high performing team. It neutralises intra team conflict through a better understanding of individual motives and behaviours and allows the team to assign tasks more effectively to play to the team’s strengths.

In order to recognize these natural team roles, virtual reality can be utilised and this leverages a well known disinhibition effect, allowing individuals to naturally express themselves and reveal their group working preferences completely and subconsciously. In turn, this increases mutual understanding between colleagues, increasing effectiveness within teams and the work environment.


What are Team Preferences and why are they Important?

Team preferences can also be referred to as team roles and refers to the finite range of useful behaviours which contribute to team performance, which can be grouped into a set number of related clusters. These can be patterns of behaviour that characterises an individual’s behaviour to another in facilitating the progress of a team. This then allows a team to benefit from self-knowledge and adjust their behaviour according to the demands made by the external situation (Belbin, 2004). Overall, this will enable a productive, effective team to be developed and formed.


Belbin Framework

Belbin (2004) conducted research in order to investigate what behaviours make teams the most successful, concluding that most successful teams were made up of a diverse mix of behaviours. His philosophy is about celebrating and making the most of individual differences, which can work together effectively. Identifying team roles also allows for the articulation and use of their strengths to the best effect, as well as the awareness of their weaknesses which enables efforts to mitigate these. In most instances, people have a number of preferred team roles or behaviours that they naturally display, however, often they display manageable roles. These roles are less natural but can be assumed if required in order to fulfil an objective. However, the most detrimental are when individuals are force to assume least preferred roles, which require a large amount of effort and cause a poor outcome. Therefore, it is imperative to identify individuals natural team roles and work with those who possess roles that are complementary to one’s own.

In order to establish these high-performing teams, Belbin created the Nine Belbin Team Roles. The first Team Role identified is Recourse Investigator, where the individual uses their inquisitive nature to find ideas to bring back to the team. They are often enthusiastic, develop contacts, and explore opportunities. The second Team Role is Team Worker, where these individuals use their versatility and co-operative nature to identify the work that is required to then complete it on behalf of the whole team. Next is the Co-ordinator, who focus on the team’s objectives and delegate work appropriately and are often mature, confident, and have clear goals. The fourth Team Role is Plant, which identifies those who are highly creative and expert problem solvers. Following on from this is the fifth Team Role of Monitor Evaluator, who are logical and make impartial judgements based upon the best strategy. The sixth category is Specialist, which refers to those considered to be an expert in their subject area, providing specialist knowledge and skills. Shaper is the seventh category, and defines those who provide the necessary drive to ensure that the team stays motivated and focused. The eight category is Implementer, which are those who plana workable strategy and implement this as efficiently as possible. They are often practical, reliable, and efficient. Finally, the ninth category is the Completer Finisher, who are most effective at the end of tasks and scrutinise the work for errors. They may also be known as perfectionists as they polish the work to the highest possible standards.


How can Virtual Reality Reveal Team Roles?

Virtual reality allows for a safe, virtual space in which the individuals feel that they are in contact with their colleagues, but with a layer of invisibility and anonymity. This layer of invisibility can account for the Online Disinhibition Effect, which is the lack of restraint one feels when communicating online compared to communicating in person due to the feeling of safety (Suler, 2004). This means that individuals behave in more of a natural way, allowing for expression of themselves which they may not feel comfortable doing in a face to face environment. In turn, this can aid to identifying their natural team role which may not be possible in real world environments as they may be controlling their normal behaviour and running a large amount of self monitoring.

Additionally, virtual reality has increased immersion compared to traditional face to face team builds or virtual screen meetings. This has helped to combat the negative, mundane stereotypes which have been associated with traditional team building exercises which can cause poor engagement between colleagues. Due to this, the problems of pseudo teams can develop, which has been seen to increase levels of work errors and a decrease in productivity (West & Lyubovnikova, 2012). However, due to the innovative method of virtual reality, individuals have been seen to engage more in the activity due to the pioneering, fun aspects, therefore allowing for those quieter colleagues to come out of their shell. This allows for a more natural expression of the person, which in turn reveals their natural team preferences and helps to establish understanding with one another.


How does Virtual Reality Experiences Utilise these Findings?

Here at Virtual Reality Experiences, we implement virtual reality collaboration tools, which help to combat communication and geographical barriers to enhance immersion and reveal individuals natural team preferences. This has allowed for the development of a more effective workforce as a greater understanding of individuals team preferences has been achieved. In turn, an increase in mutual understanding and respect occurs, creating a more enjoyable, productive environment for all members of the team.

Belbin, M. (2004). Management Teams: Why They Succeed or Fail (2nd ed.). Butterworth Heinemann. https://wiki.uia.no/images/success/b/bc/Belbin-team-roles-handout.pdf
Suler, J. (2004). The Online Disinhibition Effect. CYBERPSYCHOLOGY & BEHAVIOR, 7(3), 1–7.
West, M. A., & Lyubovnikova, J. (2012). Real Teams or Pseudo Teams? The Changing Landscape Needs a Better Map. Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 5(1), 25–28. https://doi.org/10.1111/J.1754-9434.2011.01397.X

What is the Metaverse and which Platforms are Competing to Wear the Metaverse Crown?

The metaverse can be described as an environment parallel to the physical world where people spend their digital life. It is a shared visual space with a large quantity of interconnected and immersive virtual environments where people can interact with each other and objects similar to doing so in the real world. This is a collective space that seamlessly blends physical and digital reality, providing a novel social and gaming experience.


What can you Play in the Metaverse?

There are a multitude of games which are considered to be part of the metaverse, with one of which being Pokémon GO. This is an interactive videogame which uses augmented reality to blur the lines between the physical world and digital reality. Additionally one of the most successful online games ever created, Fortnite, is also considered to be included in this metaverse. This is because the platform hosts live music concerts with big name artists, such as Billie Eilish. Additionally, major brands use Fortnite’s creative mode in order to create content and experiment with the possibilities the metaverse can provide. Expanding upon the topic of major brands, brands such as Vans and Nike, have used the game Roblox to create virtual world in order to allow users to interact with their products.


What are the most Popular Games in the Metaverse?

Currently within the metaverse, the top three most popular games in 2022 were:

  1. Fortnite – 350 million players
  2. Roblox – 230 million players
  3. Minecraft – 141 million players

However, there are recommendations and player bases concerning these less popular games:

  • RecRoom
  • Axie Infinity
  • Illuvium
  • Decentraland
  • Somnium Space
  • The Sandbox
  • My Neighbor Alice
  • Bloktopia
  • Alien Worlds
  • Splinterlands
  • Star Atlas
  • Gods Unchained
  • DeFi Kingdoms

Overall, it can be illustrated that games considered to be within the metaverse are extremely popular, with Fortnite being ranked number 1 on the Top Ten Most Played Games of 2022 according to Newzoon.


How can we Access the Metaverse?

Currently, the metaverse is centred on the use of virtual and augmented reality, avatars, and digital ownership, where you are represented by a customizable avatar that interacts with other avatars in an online community. You can access this virtual universe using a range of means, such as a smartphone, Windows PC, gaming PC’s and virtual reality headsets. Additionally, there are metaverse platforms which require a specific platform, such as Meta’s Horizon series which requires individuals to use a virtual reality headset. Using virtual reality in order to access the metaverse created the most immersive experience, but a gaming laptop can allow access to some of these worlds too. For example, RecRoom allows users to enter using a virtual reality headset, PC, smartphone, or tablet, which allows for flexibility. However, it can be noted that participating using a PC or a virtual reality headset allows for the most optimum experience for the user.


What are the Benefits?

There are a huge variety of benefits the metaverse has to offer, with a primary benefit being that it allows an immersive type of digital interaction and communication with other players. This has allowed for platforms, such as RecRoom, to be used within companies to provide opportunities for their employees to connect with each other around the world. Additionally, this had allowed for enterprises to create an immersive means for presenting their services and products through interactive means and engagement. Furthering this, an additional feature of the metaverse is the focus on learning and training, as e-learning through virtual reality, and the metaverse, has created more immersive, interactive, and engaging environments. Research has shown that learning through virtual reality is significantly more effective than traditional face to face learning (PWC, 2020; Zhao et al., 2021).


Are there any Dangers?

As with all other online platforms, there are some dangers such as cyberbullying which can occur in the metaverse. This can be primarily due to the Online Disinhibition effect, which causes people to act differently in the virtual world compared to the real world due to this layer of invisibility and anonymity all virtual worlds have to offer. However, measures across all online platforms are being put in place to help decrease this, such as two-factor authentication, mandatory links to a phone number, as well as links to social media platform accounts. This aids in decreasing the high levels of invisibility and anonymity that can become apparent within the online world.


How can the Metaverse Aid Organizations?

The metaverse can help to increase team work and collaboration due to not requiring the employees to be in the same physical environment. This means that companies who have teams across the globe can “meet up” in virtual reality, with the high levels of immersion leaving the individuals feeling that they have physically spent time with their team. Expanding upon this, the virtual reality collaboration platform, Morpheus, has announced that it has launched its virtual reality remote platform in order to increase engagement across enterprises. This aims to create an environment in which firms can use to help create healthier corporate culture, reduce Zoom fatigue, and help to bring the company into the ever developing future of technology. This platform not only provides a means to which employees can engage with each other, but also allows for custom consulting and stake holder engagement services to build virtual meeting services. This advancement in virtual reality allowed Morpheus to facilitate virtual reality collaboration sessions for large technological companies, such as Google, Adobe, and Biogen. This highlights the advancement in technology and how virtual reality can aid in making these technological changes.


Overall Conclusions

From the above, it is evident that the metaverse is a popular and rapidly growing virtual world which creates highly immersive environments for its players. Additionally, this can not just be used within the gaming context but has practical and educational benefits for organizations of all types. Even though there may be the danger of cyberbullying, which is an issue all online platforms face, the benefits and innovative opportunities the metaverse has to offer are without question invaluable.


VRE offers a range of services supporting organisations with broad needs

  • VR Team Building – reconnect your remote teams with incredibly engaging virtual face to face activities
  • VR Leadership Assessment and Development – using the latest VR assessment technology we can tell you if your team is a real team and how they can change their behaviour to be a high performing team
  • VR Hire – we have hire hubs all over the world to help deliver our VR services, so you can use our VR hire to support your own VR training projects and pilots
  • VR Management and Leadership training – we offer a wide range of training across these topics, from half day courses down to 90 min high impact sessions, the beauty of VR is you can now offer much more flexible programme design because there is no travel involved
  • VR Soft Skills training – we offer a wide range of soft skills training for all levels in an organisation, covering the key skills and behaviours essential for productive working in a modern organisation




PWC. (2020). The Effectiveness of Virtual Reality Soft Skills Training in the Enterprise Public Report The Effectiveness of Virtual Reality Soft Skills Training in the Enterprise.
Zhao, G., Fan, M., Yuan, Y., Zhao, F., & Huang, H. (2021). The comparison of teaching efficiency between virtual reality and traditional education in medical education: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Annals of Translational Medicine, 9(3), 252–252. https://doi.org/10.21037/ATM-20-2785

Can Virtual Reality Support Better Innovation in Teams?

Can Virtual Reality Support Better Innovation in Teams?

Virtual reality has been seen to improve communication and collaboration between colleagues due to the high immersion and the layer of invisibility that it provides. This means that those who would uncomfortable sharing their ideas in a face-to-face environment are more comfortable in this virtual environment.

Consequently, potential innovative ideas that would have been lost in a face-to-face environment are more likely to be expressed within a virtual environment.


Why could Virtual Reality more Beneficial than Face-To-Face?

Virtual reality is becoming increasingly popular within team settings which has allowed for hybrid teams to collaborate and thrive in this constantly developing era of technology. The high immersion of virtual reality means that colleagues develop the feeling of sharing the same environment as each other, as if they were there face-to-face, but without the potential uncomfortable feelings that may be apparent in face-to-face environments.

These feelings may include anxiety, embarrassment, and self-consciousness when participating in team activities. However, virtual reality helps to decrease these feelings of social embarrassment due to the layers of anonymity and invisibility (Barak & Gluck-Ofri, 2007; Hooi & Cho, 2013), which can boost productivity, collaboration, and innovation as colleagues are more likely to share their ideas.


What tools in Virtual Reality can Support Innovation?

There are specific platforms within virtual reality which can help to foster innovation and collaboration. They use tools such as a pen, which allows for individuals to draw and write on virtual post it notes as well as in the air. The writing, as well as the virtual post it notes, can then be moved around the room using a pointer tool, which means that colleagues do not have to go to the “front of the room” in order to post their ideas upon a white board. This can be a very daunting task for individuals who have high levels of anxiety and would feel very uncomfortable walking to the front of a physical room in front of a number of colleagues. Due to this, virtual reality makes it easier to share concepts and information as everyone can move the items with ease, without the need to physically stand in front of a room full of people.

Additionally, holographic style tools have been implemented within virtual reality platforms, which allows individuals to “physically” interact with the model. For example, there may be a model of a car engine which can be enlarged, inspected, and different components can be removed, redesigned, and altered. This allows for individuals to embrace their creativity as they can change the component with ease, which would not be possible when faced with a physical engine.


How can Virtual Reality Improve Team Collaboration?

Virtual reality fosters high levels of immersion and presence, which can increase levels of social interactions between co-workers due to their being less distractions within the physical environment. Additionally, due to the custom environments which are accessible within virtual reality, the participation-based memory effect occurs as the conversations within virtual reality become more memorable due to the differing environments (University of Maryland, 2018). Furthermore, the team building exercises virtual reality accommodates for have been seen to be more effective than traditional methods due to virtual reality decreasing levels of anxiety within individuals (Camara & Hicks, 2019; Harris et al., 2002; Robillard et al., 2010). This means that more collaborative teams can be formed as the almost realistic environment reduces levels of attention loss and stress, which would otherwise hinder collaboration.
The Benefits of Virtual Reality for Both Introverts and Extroverts

One of the main concerns faced with traditional face-to-face collaboration is that introverts may become too overloaded with the social interactions, which can elevate levels of anxiety and cause the individual to withdraw from actively taking part in the activity. However, the levels of invisibility due to the “mask” of the avatar means that those with introversion tendencies feel more comfortable in expressing their ideas and opinions, which improves team collaboration and innovation (Hammick & Lee, 2014). Similarly, those classed as more extroverted are still able to have the increased social interactions that they prefer as the high levels of presence allows for a subjective experience, rather than observational one.


How does VRE Implement this?

Here at VRE we use platforms which promote team collaboration and team building, which in turn increases the communication between colleagues and thus innovation. We have found that individuals feel more at ease to speak and communicate their ideas and views across in virtual reality compared to face-to-face environments, but still has the illusion that they have “spent a day” with their colleagues. Due to this, it is important to utilize these findings effectively in order to improve team collaboration and innovation.


VRE offers a range of services supporting organisations with broad needs

  • VR Team Building – reconnect your remote teams with incredibly engaging virtual face to face activities
  • VR Leadership Assessment and Development – using the latest VR assessment technology we can tell you if your team is a real team and how they can change their behaviour to be a high performing team
  • VR Hire – we have hire hubs all over the world to help deliver our VR services, so you can use our VR hire to support your own VR training projects and pilots
  • VR Management and Leadership training – we offer a wide range of training across these topics, from half day courses down to 90 min high impact sessions, the beauty of VR is you can now offer much more flexible programme design because there is no travel involved
  • VR Soft Skills training – we offer a wide range of soft skills training for all levels in an organisation, covering the key skills and behaviours essential for productive working in a modern organisation




Barak, A., & Gluck-Ofri, O. (2007). Degree and reciprocity of self-disclosure in online forums. Cyberpsychology and Behavior, 10(3), 407–417. https://doi.org/10.1089/CPB.2006.9938

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

Hammick, J. K., & Lee, M. J. (2014). Do shy people feel less communication apprehension online? The effects of virtual reality on the relationship between personality characteristics and communication outcomes. Computers in Human Behavior, 33, 302–310. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.CHB.2013.01.046

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

Hooi, R., & Cho, H. (2013). The virtual “me” is the actual me: Self-disclosure in virtual environment. Proceedings of the Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, 883–892. https://doi.org/10.1109/HICSS.2013.546

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

University of Maryland. (2018). People recall information better through virtual reality — ScienceDaily. Science Daily. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180613162613.htm

How Virtual Reality can Improve Team Building and Create High Performance Teams

How Virtual Reality can Improve Team Building and Create High Performance Teams

Virtual reality has been shown to effectively improve self-efficacy and further work-related skills, which can also decrease the symptoms of work-related anxiety. Additionally, it is of importance for managers to acquire knowledge around team performance-team dynamics in order to identify the nature of the groups they are working with. Here at VRE, we aim to maximise team building capabilities in order to improve the effectiveness of team building, which in turn leads to high performance teams and superior business results.


The Importance of Team Building for High Performance Teams

A stronger unit of employees can be built when team building exercises are effectively implemented, which leads to improves productivity, increases employee motivation, collaboration, trust, and respect. Additionally, this allows for a dynamic team to be built where both employees and managers are able to grow due to the adaptation of mutual values and understanding. According to a multitude of research, effective teamwork is also associated with reduced work errors, improved worker well-being, fewer turnover intentions, greater gob satisfaction, and cost-effective services (Abualrub et al., 2012; Carter & West, 1999; Manser, 2009; Ross et al., 2009).

In terms of the development of high-performance teams, this requires several characteristics needed for three main themes, which are Team Culture, Team Structures, and Team Processes. Team Culture refers to the beliefs, ideals, norms, and expectations present within the team and includes trust, transparency, diversity, and conflict management. Additionally, Team Structures can be defined as the configuration of team relationships that concern the allocation of tasks, team member roles, responsibilities, and authority. This second theme includes creating a shared meaning, accountability, clarity, participation, and leadership. Finally, the third theme, Team Processes, is the way in which team members work with each other in order to be most effect to produce meaningful outcomes. This includes cognitive flexibility, reflection, communication, and readiness for change.


Why Virtual Reality Team Building over Traditional Team Building?

It has been illustrated that traditional team building exercises have a negative, mundane stereotype associated with them which can cause inconsistent engagement between co-workers. This is because the more introverted co-workers may take a step back from being fully engaged, as well as others not taking the task seriously. These experiences would yield to lingering negative feelings among team members, which can cause frustration for coaches and managers who may have used significant organizational resources for the team building process. A direct consequence of this is the development of pseudo teams, where a group of employees feel merged rather than having a team relationship. This been seen to be associated with increased levels of work errors, bullying, stress, production stagnation, and resistance to change (West & Lyubovnikova, 2012).

How has Virtual Reality been able to Implement Team Building Exercises?

Remote work has dramatically increased from 5.7% pre COVID-19 pandemic (The Home Office Life, 2022) to 36% in January 2022 (Probert, 2022), which means that new, innovative methods towards team building needed to be implemented. This is because traditional, face to face team building exercises have become more difficult to achieve, as well as becoming more expensive to implement due to the cost-of-living crisis. This highlights the absolute importance of the implementation of new pioneering and cost-effective team building methods.
Virtual reality team building methods allow for a safe, virtual environment in which employees can experiment and collaborate with each other. Additionally, the VR “video game” style of immersion disrupts the mundane stereotypes often associated with traditional team building exercises, therefore allowing for a more effective and enjoyable team build session. Due to this, a natural flow of conversation can be developed between the workforce, which can be used to help identify whom within that workforce has leadership tendencies. In turn, this will allow for employees to establish the important mutual respect and understanding with one another.


What are some of the Team Building Exercises in Virtual Reality?

Due to the flexibility virtual reality offers, a wide range of activities can be used, which may bay impossible or too expensive to implement outside of the virtual world. One example of this is the use of an escape room, which is easily accessible in virtual reality, encouraging employees to work together as a team to problem solve and escape. This is an effective team building method as successful communication, teamwork, and respect are required in order to complete the escape room tasks. Additionally, due to the safe space virtual reality offers, it can decrease levels of anxiety within individuals (Camara & Hicks, 2019; Harris et al., 2002; Robillard et al., 2010) as it encourages the quieter members to “step out of their shell” due to the disinhibition effect and immersion. Overall, this promotes a stronger, more productive workforce and an effective, high-performance team.


How does Virtual Reality Experiences Incorporate Team Building Tasks?

Virtual team building activities are extremely important due to the rapid changes in workplace environments due to the high number of employees working from home. In a direct response to this, Virtual Reality Experiences provide team building exercises through the use of specialised virtual platforms and activities, which each promote teamwork skills, leadership skills, communication skills, and more. These skills combined help to promote an effective, satisfied workforce, which will increase, productivity, efficiency, and overall reputation of the company. In turn, this generates high performance teams.



Abualrub, R. F., Gharaibeh, H. F., & Bashayreh, A. E. I. (2012). The relationships between safety climate, teamwork, and intent to stay at work among Jordanian hospital nurses. Nursing Forum, 47(1), 65–75. https://doi.org/10.1111/J.1744-6198.2011.00253.X
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
Carter, A. J., & West, M. A. (1999). Sharing the burden – teamwork in health care settings – Research Portal | Lancaster University (J. Firth-Cozens & R. Payne, Eds.). Wiley. https://www.research.lancs.ac.uk/portal/en/publications/sharing-the-burden–teamwork-in-health-care-settings(6e1bcd13-d534-4d55-888f-73b2a74c7ae6)/export.html
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
Manser. (2009). Teamwork and patient safety in dynamic domains of healthcare: a review of the literature. Acta Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica, 53(2), 143–151. https://doi.org/10.1111/J.1399-6576.2008.01717.X
Probert, J. (2022). Homeworking and spending during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Great Britain – Office for National Statistics. https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/articles/homeworkingandspendingduringthecoronaviruscovid19pandemicgreatbritain/april2020tojanuary2022
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
Ross, F., Rink, E., & Furne, A. (2009). Integration or pragmatic coalition? An evaluation of nursing teams in primary care. Http://Dx.Doi.Org/10.1080/Jic., 14(3), 259–267. https://doi.org/10.1080/JIC.
The Home Office Life. (2022). 📊 Working from home statistics UK [Updated for 2022] — The Home Office Life. https://thehomeofficelife.com/blog/work-from-home-statistics
West, M. A., & Lyubovnikova, J. (2012). Real Teams or Pseudo Teams? The Changing Landscape Needs a Better Map. Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 5(1), 25–28. https://doi.org/10.1111/J.1754-9434.2011.01397.X

Ringelmann Effect

How Big a Team Can We Have in VR Team Building Before We Get Social Loafing

To explore this we need to look at “The Ringelmann Effect”, this was named after a French agricultural engineer, Maximilien Ringelmann, born in the 1860’s (Kravitz & Martin, 1986). This effect is also known as social loafing as Ringelmann noticed a negative correlation between group size and performance per individual, therefore as group size increased, individual performance decreased.


Later studies studied the Ringelmann Effect in further detail, which confirmed that this effect occurs in a variety of activities, which can be both physical and cognitive performance tasks (Ingham et al., 1974; Petty et al., 1977). However, identifying this effect was not satisfactory, and researchers strived to develop logical explanations for this occurrence. Kravitz and Martin (1974) suggested that individual performance is limited by the constraints of working within a group as group-work can make it difficult to synchronise maximal performance across team members in relation to tasks. However, Ingham et al., (1974) argued that this could not be the primary reason for a decrease in individual performance and highlighted that this can be due to a reduction in levels of individual motivation. With these results and explanations in mind, it has created a major dilemma for managers, team leaders and coaches. Due to this, it is imperative to identify specific circumstances that can result in this decrease in motivation, and how training within virtual reality can help to overcome these barriers to success.


Group Size

It has been shown that group size is a significant contributor to social loafing (Karau & Williams, 1993; Latane et al., 1979), with an increase in group size causing a decrease in individual performance levels (Liden et al., 2004). Interestingly, those categories as high achievers were the most affected by this due to lowering their own efforts in order to match those of their peers in order to maintain equality (Simms & Nichols, 2014). Therefore, it is important when designing training courses and building teams to keep group size at a minimum in order to allow for individuals to achieve their maximum potential.



Following on from group size is the idea of identifiability as when group size increases, feelings of anonymity increase and individuals feel less valued and less accountable for their actions (Latane et al., 1979). In order to try combat this, Williams et al., (1981) discovered that social loafing is extinguished when individuals were under the impression that their individual output was being measured. Participants who worked in groups, while under this impression, performed as well as those working alone. On the other hand, when output was not identifiable, individual levels of performance decreased within both conditions of working in a team or alone. This means that those who were previously less motivated than their peers became more motivated as they were able to show their skills to their group and thus develop their potential (Chen et al., 2014; Reeve, 2014). Additionally, when groups are enticed with a valued reward for completing tasks and goals, social loafing diminishes as motivation increases in order to achieve that reward (Zaccaro, 1984).



Expanding upon this idea of anonymity within Identifiability is Invisibility, which can be a defence mechanism in order reduce feelings of embarrassment. Research has noted that decreasing levels of Invisibility is not always advantageous as groups who vary in levels of expertise experience an increase levels of impression management, which results in decreased effort due to fear of embarrassment Mulvey et al., 1998).



It is important to make people aware of their contributions within a group as this decrease’s levels of social loving due to the perception of all group members contributions being the same (Harkins & Petty, 1982). When individuals feel that their value is not fully appreciated by the other group members, their motivation, thus effort, decreases. This idea of individuality can be difficult to achieve within traditional training courses as attention to one individual may be viewed of as a lack of attention to another individual (Synnot, 2016).



A final contributor to social loafing is fatigue, which can occur even when the individual desires to give their full engagement (Orden et al., 1998). It must be noted that offline group training triumphs in interaction and engagement, but it cannot prevent individual fatigue which decreases individual performance. Similarly, meeting through computer screens, such as Zoom meetings, have been seen to increase levels of meeting fatigue which reduces levels of engagement and performance (Kavanagh et al., 2021).


How can Virtual Reality Reduce these Contributing Factors to Social Loafing?

In regard to Identifiability, virtual reality harbours the ability to remove individual anonymity in a more enjoyable manner. For example, performance can be measured at an individual level such as the use of digital scoreboards, which promotes goal setting for the group and healthy competition within the group (Brown et al., 1998).

Expanding upon reduced anonymity within virtual reality, virtual reality can not only decrease levels of anonymity but also adjust for layers of invisibility. It has been highlighted that virtual environments can improve self-disclosure (Barak & Gluk-Ofri, 2007; Hooi 7 Cho, 2013) as individuals do not suffer from social embarrassment which can occur in face-to-face interactions, such as facial expressions. Additionally, virtual reality can help to prevent the phenomenon known as the “Sucker effect” where individuals perceive that other team members are not giving their full effort and therefore fail to apply maximum effort themselves. This can be due to incorrect inferences about a person’s effort based on non-verbal cues, such as a yawn, therefore virtual reality can alleviate this issue as non-verbal cues can be removed, while allowing the trainer to choose where and when to add them. This allows high control over invisibility and visibility, which is a key advantage virtual reality has to offer compared to other forms of technology, such as Teams meetings. As a result of this, group members feel more comfortable in sharing their difficulties with the group as other group members will put more effort into helping the group members reaching their potential, which also increases their own performance levels (Karau & Williams, 1993).

However, it must be noted that invisibility can also be harmful as people may suffer from the Disinhibition Effect within the virtual world, which can cause them to behave with less kindness due to not physically seeing the human that they are interacting with (Suler, 2004). This idea of dehumanisation has been seen to be a contributing factor of social loafing within technology-heavy workplaces as employees feel less valued as a human being (Alnuaimi et al., 2010). However, advances within virtual reality technology have helped to protect against this due to the use of human, customisable avatars which have been found to increase socially accepted behaviours defined by the offline world in the online world (Bailenson & Yee, 2008).

Moving onto the idea of Individuality, virtual reality training can be specially designed to facilitate group work while giving each member the impression that they are the primary focus of the trainer. This is due to the first-person perspective of virtual reality, which gives the individual feelings of importance and individuality. This also allows for individual feedback while still being immersed in a group setting, meaning that users can remain active and engaged in their current setting, which is often an issue for offline training.
Finally, virtual reality can aid in decreasing levels of fatigue as it offers a blend of group and individual training and also allows for the feelings of full immersion, which Zoom meetings fail to provide. The ability for virtual reality to offer repeated exposure at minimal extra cost is a large advantage over other forms of training as virtual reality applications are not susceptible to human fallacies in repetition tasks, such as bias or subjectivity. These negative feelings towards the training sessions can increase fatigue, therefore virtual reality can combat this and decrease the rate at which fatigue occurs, thus meaning that performance is less hindered.

How do VRE Virtual Reality Experiences Utilize these Findings?

Even though it may be difficult to fully erase social loafing from any work or training group, virtual reality offers a unique experience which is equipped in order to effectively address the contributing factors that lead to social loafing. This means that virtual reality is an advantageous tool for group work, team building, and organisation training as overall individual performance does not decrease at the rate of traditional face-to-face training, and even training through platforms such as Zoom.



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Bailenson, J. N., & Yee, N. (2008). Virtual interpersonal touch: Haptic interaction and copresence in collaborative virtual environments. Multimedia Tools and Applications, 37(1), 5-14.
Barak, A., & Gluck-Ofri, O. (2007). Degree and reciprocity of self-disclosure in online forums. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 10(3), 407-417.
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Chen, F., Zhang, L., & Latimer, J. (2014). How much has my co-worker contributed? The impact of anonymity and feedback on social loafing in asynchronous virtual collaboration. International Journal of Information Management, 34(5), 652-659.
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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.



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.


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.



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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.




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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