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Insights EDU

Is Your XR Startup Remote Work Ready?

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AIXR Team

15 Apr 2020 | 5 min read

The following is an extract from our COVID-19 XR Support Guide. Over the last two months, we have spoken extensively to industry to identify and overcome the new challenges in light of COVID-19. This article is intended to provide comprehensive working from home advice for XR companies operating on a voluntary or compulsory work from home policy.

The full report is available below, entirely for free.

Free download: COVID-19 XR Support Guide

The complete Academy COVID-19 resource built under the guidance of the Academy Steering Board. Complete with financial support, hygiene guidance, and all our top tips for navigating this difficult period. 

Companies around the world, XR or not, have begun to roll out mandatory remote work for non-essential workers. Companies that were previously built on working in an office environment are now having to quickly adapt to remote working scenarios.

Ready or not, we are now experiencing the largest work-from-home experiment, and so far it hasn’t been easy for everyone to adapt. 

Why does remote work fail?

The key to remote work is being ready for it. People have been remote working successfully for years, but it requires a different approach and utilising new tools to ensure that productivity doesn’t drop and workforces remain motivated.

One of the main challenges faced by remote workers is the feeling of isolation – some people just aren’t built to work remotely. For some people, working from home is a great benefit. Others rely on the forced social interaction between coworkers to keep their sanity. 

Working from home creates new problems for the employer, too. It can be difficult to communicate with your employees, define roles and responsibilities, and track their performance if the tools to do so are not in place. This is joined by an array of technical limitations: do your employees have access to the tools they would at work? Do they have a reliable internet connection? A reliable PC or laptop to work from?

What are the solutions?

The good news is that it is not too late to build out a robust working from home strategy – there is no better time to get this right than now.

There are two key solutions to maintaining a healthy workflow when working from home: communication and tools.

Communicate, communicate & communicate!

When you’re in the office, communication flows naturally. You won’t always have the same experience when working from home, so you will have to find the time to fit it into your company schedule. As strange as it may sound to an office worker, remote-first companies such as Zapier & GitHub organise a video meeting for regular small talk. Whether you choose to create these opportunities as a company, you should encourage your employees to continue a healthy amount of communication.

Many successful remote managers also establish daily calls with their remote employees; either individually or as a group. These regular and predictable calls will allow employees to ask any questions that they might have had throughout the day and know they can get an answer on the spot.

To keep up a good level of communication, you will need to invest into richer forms of communication than just email and phone calls, which brings us nicely to the other key to remote work: the tools. COVID-19 has led to an increase in demand for live chat apps, task management tools, conferencing software, and much more. It is no surprise either; investing in reliable tech is key to ensuring that communication goals are met and everyone is on task.

Many of these tools are not remote specific either – they can prove useful when you return to work too. Without the incentive to improve practices, only select companies have been making use of the latest technology and SaaS services. Startups are renowned for their use of instant messaging, file sharing and various other tools that have made the move to remote far smoother.

The richest form of communication of all is meetings in VR. VR meetings can give your employees the feeling of presence without really being there, so they are the best way to emulate an office environment. The other benefits of VR meetings include:

  • Get the feeling of presence without being there physically
  • Save money and time
  • Environmentally friendly 
  • Removes distractions from the physical environment
  • Move the meeting to an exciting location to keep people engaged
  • Interact with 3D objects (e.g. showing prototypes, videos, and more with ease)

We have a whole guide on implementing social VR into your enterprise available here.

With studies being released stating that up to 65% of people are more productive when working from home, many companies are seeing this as an opportunity to implement new practices, try out new software and implement robust working from home procedures. 

While many won’t have been ready for enforced working from home, the need for innovation now is greater than ever, and it has the potential to change how business operate on a long term scale. 

 

Free download: COVID-19 XR Support Guide

The complete Academy COVID-19 resource built under the guidance of the Academy Steering Board. Complete with financial support, hygiene guidance, and all our top tips for navigating this difficult period. 

About the author:

AIXR is an independent, community first, not for profit organisation that exists to support individuals and companies of all sizes as the International trade body for immersive technology industries. AIXR or, The Academy of International Extended Reality, hosts the VR Awards annually. AIXR’s mission is to support individuals and companies in the immersive industry by endorsing, inspiring, and enabling innovators through removing barriers to entry and connecting a diverse collection of trades together.

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