Forget the metaverse, ditch the job, virtual reality won’t increase your productivity or your well-being…

Forget the metaverse, ditch the job, virtual reality won't increase your productivity or your well-being...

A university study put guinea pigs in a desk job situation in virtual reality. After a week, the effect is very mixed. An increase in anxiety and stress in guinea pigs and a decrease in their performance.

Meta is betting everything on the virtual future, A ready player, perhaps, we will all spend all or part of our days working, playing, learning, and enjoying ourselves in a virtual universe. The metaverse is currently getting a lot of imagination and has to face the hard limit called “reality”.

A week of virtual office

This limitation, and the difficulties that arise from it, have been addressed by researchers at the German University of Applied Sciences in Coburg in a study they published. They wanted to confront the current technological reality with the promises made by various players in virtual reality.

In Promises, you can find this famous huge and dynamic workplace, its dynamic offices wherever you are. A workspace promises to adapt to its user and his actions: “A VR desktop can adapt to the user’s work environment. It becomes a quiet beach when you’re reading an article, or a formal office when you’re writing an email.”Reads the introduction to the study.

In limitations, there is a very restricted field of view, the definition of screens is much less than what the human eye perceives.

title “Measuring the Effects of Working in Virtual Reality for a Week”, he subjected 16 subjects (ten males and six females) to the same protocol. A classic office work week, same thing but in virtual reality. Each guinea pig was then fitted with a MetaQuest 2 virtual reality headset, the most popular models of the moment. A single Logitech K830 keyboard paired with a Chrome Remote Desktop allowed these users to work eight hours a day, five days a week with a 45-minute lunch break. The instruments selected were chosen because they are representative of those commonly used today. The study is by no means intended to create a perfect build with advanced hardware that some users can afford.

About consequences

At the end of each work session, the guinea pigs must answer specific questions: Are you sick? Do your eyes hurt? etc. For example, many questions to find out whether some people are affected by the evil of virtual reality. They added two additional components that monitor the user’s heart rate and keyboard text input speed in real-time.

found in the study “Anxiety Levels” Virtual reality disease. Two guinea pigs abandoned the project after only one day of using VR. They were open “Extremely sensitive to patterns of migraines, nausea and anxiety attacks”. Also, the study found that women are more susceptible to this visual fatigue, perhaps because they have less virtual reality experience, the researchers say.

It is interesting to note that all participants rated their experience working in VR as worse than their experience in a real physical environment. In general, this experience is 35% worse on average. Users’ anxiety increased by 19%, while their mental health decreased by up to 20%.

A very strong feeling of frustration was reported by the guinea pigs, at no less than 42%. A feeling that is certainly linked to the fact that people noticed that they found their day hectic, perhaps because they were less productive. According to them, virtual reality was 36% less comfortable, while their personal work process was 14% less efficient and their perceived productivity decreased by 16%.

A first step

However, it is obvious that not everything has to be thrown away. Therefore, according to the participants, VR allows for greater performance, but in a shorter period of time. One of the participants mentioned that he experienced “High performance for 45 minutes before a three-hour headache”.

So learn not to overload yourself in virtual reality. Especially since software tools are still lacking to provide a realistic ergonomic experience. Additionally, headsets, as efficient as they are at present, still don’t offer good enough quality screens to help their users escape visual fatigue during a long virtual session. Although the guinea pigs seem somewhat acclimated.

“Some elements indicated that participants gradually overcame their first negative impressions and their initial discomfort”As the study explains, this makes it possible to detect the failures of virtual reality and therefore improve the experience of future VR workers.


Coburg University

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