The future of work: how will virtual reality transform your job?

Every once in a while, a new innovation comes along that changes the way we work forever. Like the printing press, Xerox copier, and personal computer, VR technology is set to completely revolutionize the way your office looks and functions — or in this case whether your office actually “exists” in the physical world at all.

With rapidly evolving headsets, controllers and interfaces, VR is set to drastically alter many people’s daily lives in the next decade. Here’s how it may affect you:

If you work in the medical field, especially in mental health, VR will help you treat patients in groundbreaking new ways. Psychologist Skip Rizzo is Director for Medical Virtual Reality at the University of Southern California. According to Rizzo, “The healthcare system is in turmoil right now. We’ve got to find ways to cut costs and deliver better services. VR simulation will help that.”

Rizzo uses VR to work with people with autism, anxiety and PTSD. By testing out stressful situations in a simulation, or re-creating past traumas and working through them, patients can get better. VR is also beneficial for physical ailments. “For stroke or brain injury, we’ve developed full-body VR activities that make rehab — normally a frustrating and boring process — game-like, so people actually do it.”

If you’re a designer or engineer, VR is already changing the way you work with others. Three-dimensional collaboration across multiple continents is now possible in interactive virtual spaces. Car companies like Jaguar use VR to optimize vehicle design, utilizing team members around globe simultaneously. They even unveiled their new I-Pace Concept Car to excited auto fans in a virtual realm — the first product debut of its kind.

This more efficient and intuitive system poses a huge benefit to your company’s bottom line. According to Steven Madge, Vice President at Dassault Systemes USA, “VR speeds up the design process, so you can get your product to market quicker.”

If you work in journalism or the entertainment industry, VR will alter the way people consume and experience your stories. “Movies and games will merge into an interactive medium,” says Jessica Ward, Co-founder of VRLA. “In the future, all the big budget movies will have a VR component, allowing you to go into the world and be the characters.”

The bottom line for most workers is that virtual reality will give them the opportunity to be productive from anywhere and collaborate without borders. “Traveling from office to office, across the country, is going to be sort of extinct,” says Eren Aksu of the Emblematic Group. “You’ll be able to have multiple people in the same room, running a 3D presentation in real time, wherever you want in the world.”

Though all these changes may seem novel now, Michael Gold, of Co-founder of Holojam Inc., explains that the true possibilities of VR are just being born. “We’re at the infancy of the virtual reality industry. Eventually more and more people will use it together, and VR will be in every office.”

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