Virtual engagement & collaboration

The VR/AR Global Summit Online took place on June 1-3, 2020. It is an online event hosted by the VR/AR association that gathers tech experts from all over the world. The aim is to connect you with the best solution providers in the field, but also enterprises and media entertainment companies. Part of the online VR/AR event program was an inspiring session about the top ten keys for virtual employee engagement and collaboration in the long term. Due to its success, the next VR/AR Global Summit takes place from September 30 to October 2, 2020.

Dr. Steve McNelley is co-founder of DVE Holographics, a global leader in holographic telepresence with products such as holo-rooms and DVE immersion rooms. Marlo Brooke is CEO at Avatar Partners, a company that develops Simplify Complex Systems. It aims to increase the efficiency, safety, and effectiveness of equipment, systems, and processes for, e.g., first responder and commercial industries. “Together, Steve and Marlo hosted a session about the top ten keys for creating and maintaining a highly effective, motivated, accountable workforce,” says Khaoula Belaadel, sales, and marketing intern at Help To Grow Business. 

Key 1: Teamwork

Teamwork is a critical factor in achieving business success. Active cooperation generally leads to developing a sense of community. Besides, your motivation and productivity level increases when feeling appreciated and recognized as a valuable team member. Also, soft skills such as trust, openness, and respect play an essential role in teamwork. 

Key 2: Making a positive contribution

Making a positive contribution starts with small and simple gestures like initiating new ideas, active listening, and forward-thinking. Khaoula: “It is challenging to accomplish this in a virtual environment when you don’t have a dedicated workspace at home. That is why DVE Holographics developed the DVE Huddle Room: an immersive conferencing system for meeting rooms.”

Key 3: Proximity

Proximity in a virtual workplace is often considered a paradox. However, you can reach it by stimulating virtual interaction via, for instance, eye contact on camera. It builds better emotional connections during online meetings and a sense of collaborative, realistic group interaction. DVE Holographics helps businesses with this via its telepresence features, such as having a correct camera perspective to enhance proximity in virtual workplaces.

Key 4: Life-size interaction

Khaoula explains: “To stimulate interactions into a virtual workplace, you can mimic real-life office environments. Along with general available online meeting tools, this leads to better communication, engagement, and productivity.” To achieve a life-size interaction, you create a dedicated working space with, for example, dual monitors, natural sunlight, desk lamps, and a comfortable chair. Additionally, you have to differentiate your working hours from spare time. It assists you in being focused and productive.  

Key 5: Body language

During virtual meetings, body language is vital for effective communication. The use of appropriate physical gestures, such as smiling, increases the ability to connect with colleagues, build trust, and successfully share new ideas and concepts. Khaoula: “A visual connection, having eye contact, assists in achieving a closer bond. Furthermore, an open body language indicates honesty, helps build trust and demonstrates presence and engagement.” The right tone of voice is also crucial as it encourages active listening. 

To stimulate interactions into a virtual workplace, you can mimic real-life office environments. Along with general available online meeting tools, this leads to better communication, engagement, and productivity – Khaoula Belaadel, sales, and marketing intern at Help To Grow Business. 

Key 6: Collaborative, realistic group interactions

You can use VR and AR technology to teleport yourself from home to a virtual office environment. It is especially useful during group interactions and teamwork. Achieving successful group interaction requires a transparent organization. First, you define tasks, assign roles, and set goals. Second, you put mutually agreed on working procedures in place and select the most effective and efficient communication technologies to create a steady work rhythm. 

Key 7: Direct eye contact

Maintaining direct eye contact with attendees during a virtual meeting is an indicator of focus and interest. So, it is crucial to reach a balance between looking at your camera and screen. It helps if you view the audience as individual listeners with whom you establish eye contact. That improves engagement and involves everyone in the conversation. Also, ensure to make good eye contact when highlighting your most critical lines and points to increase the impact on the audience.

Key 8: Emotional connection

Establishing an emotional connection is motivating and satisfying. It results in feeling appreciated and belonging to a community. Being connected with colleagues in a virtual workplace often improves engagement. It makes you feel involved and committed to actively participate in having a productive online meeting. Creating an emotional connection requires to respect and help each other, make time to socialize, and have fun. You can also enhance the emotional connection via thoughtful management. A manager who recognizes the team members’ skills and know-how tends to motivate them and positively impacts productivity. 

Key 9: Variety

Having various spaces available in a virtual workplace is essential. It mimics a real-life office environment that stimulates productivity and avoids becoming bored. For instance, most virtual platforms provide a multitude of spaces with unique features and allow many participants access. VirBELA even has virtual playgrounds to strengthen collaboration by socializing with your colleagues. 

Key 10: Work-life balance

The tenth and last critical key to enhancing employee engagement and collaboration in a virtual workplace is work-life balance. It is about reaching a state of satisfying equilibrium in different life aspects. Overall, clear priorities and actively managing your time lead to better collaboration, productivity, and a solid work-life balance.

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