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.
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
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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.