The New Normal – Virtual Workspaces

The New Normal – Virtual Workspaces

Virtual Workspaces by William Gains

Today, Bowman Riley hosted a meeting where our employees stood shoulder to shoulder, they talked freely, exchanged ideas and sketched at will.  They did all this while remaining in different corners of the country, practicing social distancing guidelines. How was this possible?

The answer to the riddle is, they gathered in a virtual reality (VR) workspace. Before you switch off your interest at the mention of VR, read a little further to understand how virtual reality is perhaps more relevant today than ever before, and how this emerging sector could benefit you and your business.

As the world attempts to define the meaning of a new normal, Bowman Riley has been exploring what this unfamiliar phrase could mean for businesses and buildings going forward.

It goes without saying that the Covid-19 pandemic has affected all areas of life. The lockdown measures introduced in March have meant many of us have had to get to grips with working from home. In response to this change to the norm, businesses have witnessed an exponential growth in video calls, remote working and of course, online quizzes…

Digital platforms have allowed lots of companies to maintain efficiency, communicate effectively and minimise disruption to a certain extent whilst at the same time safeguarding their most valuable assets, their employees.

However, at Bowman Riley we are asking, can the boundaries of video calls be pushed further? Can we improve this digital experience in order to facilitate some of the same benefits that physical office spaces can provide?

My colleagues and I have taken this time at home as an opportunity to push these boundaries.  By using software The Wild, we have been developing virtual workspaces which have delivered some interesting results.

Once we moved past the initial novelty of meeting in a virtual space, one thing became apparent. The sense of being in one room together was far greater than any video call I have ever experienced. There was a sense of arrival into a space that was a mutual meeting point specifically designed for Bowman Riley (rather than looking through the keyhole at my colleagues’ interesting choice of wallpaper on the background of a video call). We designed the virtual space to align with the Bowman Riley brand and it was specifically tailored to facilitate the meeting’s objective which was a design review for a live project in ‘the real world’.

We passed documents across the table and sketched on whiteboards just as we would have done in a physical office, without having to think about the confines of social distancing. We were able to record voice memos and export minutes from the virtual meeting which then enabled us to continue working from home efficiently once we had left the online meeting room. This virtual space allowed us to collaborate in a way we have not managed to do since the lockdown began and raised an important question, is this a potential new normal?

The answer we arrived at was; yes.

As it appears, social distancing measures are going to be with us for a while. Having the opportunity to meet up in a mutual space that is tailored to your needs and designed exactly to your brand is an invaluable experience and during these changing times, it has allowed our company to stay connected whilst staying safe.

We have already begun discussing with our clients, the opportunities and benefits that bespoke virtual workspaces can deliver. If you would like to discuss your ideas for implementing virtual reality into your workflow or you would like your own virtual workspace designing, please contact me, or 01756 795611.


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