The future of work

VR's impact on the workspace
Key takeaways
  • Nearly 30% of respondents actually use VR for professional use. 
  • About 30% of people reported increased productivity due to VR integration.
  • Nearly 10% of respondents already work in the metaverse full-time, while about 75% of all respondents are interested in doing so.

Although it feels as if almost every job has gone digital, the wave of virtual reality is just dawning – we haven’t seen anything yet. Just as many people have grown accustomed to working remotely, they may soon have the option to work virtually by immersing their senses in a virtual reality (VR) office space. With VR technology already helping businesses train and upskill employees faster, more safely, and with fewer resources, this virtual workplace of the future may be closer than we think.

We spoke to over 1,000 Americans to see how they feel about the prospect of working in VR and the metaverse. Users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users in this virtual-reality space. Respondents of all ages, genders, and employment levels weighed in on their emotions, expectations, and readiness to adapt to this new type of remote work (the “infinite office,” as Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg refers to it). Here’s how people expect it to affect them and how they want it to play out.  

Using virtual reality headsets

To kick things off, we asked people to share their experience with VR headsets. These devices are usually glasses or helmets that cover your eyes and provide an immersive virtual experience in 3D. They told us which devices they use for work and shared their reasons for purchasing them.

While it’s clear that this promising workplace technology has been heavily adapted, our respondents weren’t typically using the headsets for work. Considering the different ways you can use a VR headset, it makes sense that most have primarily used theirs to play games (61%) and to watch TV (41%). The 38% who used VR headsets for work most often used either the Meta Quest 2 or the HTC Vive Cosmos Elite. 

VR headsets provide some major benefits for virtual working in particular. The immersive experience enables the worker to be completely free from distractions. But like most jobs that require long hours at a computer screen, jobs done using virtual reality may have downsides. Eye strain, dizziness, and other health issues are the top concerns among those who are hesitant to use VR. Here’s a tip: The 20-20-20 rule is a helpful way to lessen eye strain during extended periods of looking at a screen. 

VR integration: a positive outlook

Next, we asked respondents to share their expectations for the virtual world. We wondered which industries would be able to benefit society the most through the use of VR headsets and which specific aspects of business would be able to thrive with this tech. 

Despite health concerns like eye strain and dizziness preventing people from buying a headset, 40% of respondents believe the health care industry has the most potential for creating a positive social impact by adopting VR. The medical community anticipates VR as an aid for those with chronic pain, and preliminary studies suggest that using VR for as little as 30 minutes can help reduce the pain of childbirth. VR headsets also have applications for therapy and psychiatric treatment.

Many are also looking forward to VR’s impacts on the American workplace. While nearly 30% of our respondents were already using VR for work, about the same number reported increased productivity as a result. One particular anticipated benefit was training programs for staff, according to 45% of those we surveyed. But although VR employee training has been demonstrated as more time and cost-effective than traditional onboarding, only 21% of those whose workplaces have integrated VR work for small companies. Perhaps they’re waiting to see how it plays out for the bigger companies before investing in the change.

VR skills increase hireability

With so many people already imagining the benefits of virtual reality in their workspaces, how many are actively seeking it? And do they think their experience with the metaverse will compel managers to hire them? Read on to find out.

While 39% reported feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of virtual reality at work, many were still ready to jump in: Two-thirds said they’re actively seeking employment in virtual reality. Meanwhile, 10% already had a full-time job in the metaverse, and three-quarters said they’re interested in having one.

Despite the major crypto sell-off occurring now, three-quarters of respondents said they’re willing to accept cryptocurrency as compensation while working in VR. It’s a good thing some companies have either begun offering or have considered offering cryptocurrency as payment to attract “future-thinking” talent.

A staggering 81% believe that having a job in the metaverse would make them more attractive to employers, and they were right: 80% of hiring managers confirmed that applicants who understand VR and the metaverse have an advantage over those who don’t. Moreover, 81% said they already include VR knowledge in their job postings as a skill they’re looking for in a potential hire. 

VR is here to pay

Virtual reality may mainly be a form of entertainment for now, but the world of VR-based work is here and only growing larger. People anticipate the technology will benefit healthcare and tourism the most, while job-seekers and employers agree that VR experience makes a person a better job candidate. Even if Americans felt overwhelmed by the idea, the overall willingness to participate was high. VR is poised to become the new normal at work before too long, whether we’re ready or not.

Methodology 

We surveyed 1,010 Americans about virtual reality’s (VR) impact on the workplace. The mean age of respondents was 37 years old. Among them, 58% were male, and 42% were female. Respondents comprised the following generational breakdown: 12% Gen Z, 57% millennials, 26% Gen X, and 6% baby boomers.

To help ensure that all respondents took our survey seriously, they were required to identify and correctly answer an attention-check question. Survey data has certain limitations related to self-reporting. These limitations include telescoping, exaggeration, and selective memory.

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Fair use statement

The world of virtual reality is here and growing rapidly. To help get the word out, you’re welcome to share this research, so long as your purposes are noncommercial and you link back to this page.