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.

 

References

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, 14(3), 259–267. https://doi.org/10.1080/JIC.14.3.259.267
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.

 

Identifiability

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).

 

Invisibility

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).

 

Individuality

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).

 

Fatigue

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.

 

References

Alnuaimi, O. A., Robert, L. P., & Maruping, L. M. (2010). Team size, dispersion, and social loafing in technology-supported teams: A perspective on the theory of moral disengagement. Journal of Management Information Systems, 27(1), 203-230.
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.
Brown, V., Tumeo, M., Larey, T. S., & Paulus, P. B. (1998). Modeling cognitive interactions during group brainstorming. Small group research, 29(4), 495-526.
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.
Harkins, S. G., & Petty, R. E. (1982). Effects of task difficulty and task uniqueness on social loafing. Journal of personality and social psychology, 43(6), 1214.
Hoeksema-van Orden, C. Y., Gaillard, A. W., & Buunk, B. P. (1998). Social loafing under fatigue. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75(5), 1179.
Hooi, R., & Cho, H. (2013). The Virtual” Me” is the Actual Me: Self-Disclosure in Virtual Environment. In 2013 46th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (pp. 883-892). IEEE.
Ingham, A. G., Levinger, G., Graves, J., & Peckham, V. (1974). The Ringelmann effect: Studies of group size and group performance. Journal of experimental social psychology, 10(4), 371-384.
Karau, S. J., & Williams, K. D. (1993). Social loafing: A meta-analytic review and theoretical integration. Journal of personality and social psychology, 65(4), 681.
Kavanagh, K., Voss, N., Kreamer, L., & Rogelberg, S. G. (2021, March 30). How to Combat Virtual Meeting Fatigue. https://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/how-to-combat-virtual-meeting-fatigue/
Kravitz, D. A., & Martin, B. (1986). Ringelmann rediscovered: The original article.
Latané, B., Williams, K., & Harkins, S. (1979). Many hands make light the work: The causes and consequences of social loafing. Journal of personality and social psychology, 37(6), 822.
Liden, R. C., Wayne, S. J., Jaworski, R. A., & Bennett, N. (2004). Social loafing: A field investigation. Journal of management, 30(2), 285-304.
Mulvey, P. W., Bowes-Sperry, L., & Klein, H. J. (1998). The effects of perceived loafing and defensive impression management on group effectiveness. Small Group Research, 29(3), 394-415.
Petty, R. E., Harkins, S. G., Williams, K. D., & Latane, B. (1977). The effects of group size on cognitive effort and evaluation. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 3(4), 579-582.
Reeve, J. (2014). Understanding motivation and emotion. John Wiley & Sons.
Schnake, M. E. (1991). Equity in effort: The” sucker effect” in co-acting groups. Journal of Management, 17(1), 41-55.
Simms, A., & Nichols, T. (2014). Social loafing: a review of the literature. Journal of Management Policy and Practice, 15(1), 58.
Suler, J. (2004). The online disinhibition effect. Cyberpsychology & behavior, 7(3), 321-326.
Synnott, C. K. (2016). Guides to Reducing Social Loafing in Group Projects.
Williams, K., Harkins, S. G., & Latané, B. (1981). Identifiability as a deterrant to social loafing: Two cheering experiments. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 40(2), 303.
Zaccaro, S. J. (1984). Social loafing: The role of task attractiveness. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 10(1), 99-106.

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

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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
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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.