Day 21 in the Virtual Office! We’re back!!
Total Time in VR: 4 hours and 27 minutes (across 7 VR sessions)`
Use Cases: Focus Work (44% – 1 hour 56 min), Team Meetings (34% – 1 hour 30 min), 1:1 Meetings (11% – 30 min), MiniMindfulness (11% – 30 min)
After a full 7 days of downtime, I am back in the VR Office to start up the second half of the VR Office Experiment. Four more weeks of daily tracking and nightly posts! So here we go!
I was a little hesitant this morning as I was setting up the office this morning. While I did some VR last week, I didn’t do any “VR for Productivity” stuff. So it really did feel like “going back to the office”. After starting the day in the usual minigolf meditation session, I found myself on Zooms again for a while. Then I needed more screen space to multitask, and I knew the best place for lots of screens was the VR Office. So I moved to Workrooms and stayed on the Zoom from inside VR. After starting with two monitors in VR, I found I needed more space, and added in the third monitor (which can only be done on Mac computer at this point). Once my full screen array was in front of me I was flying again!
It’s worth noting, I intentionally have not hooked up monitors in my home office. I want my only option for “big screens” to be in VR. I find it interesting that I am “forcing myself” to use VR in this instance. I’ll have to keep my eye on that, and maybe bring the monitors back eventually to see how much I “choose VR” over the monitors that are already there in the physical space.
Cup Half Empty: During a team meeting in Workrooms today all the avatars froze again. They were still talking and everyone but me could see movement. I hopped into my Personal Office and back and it reset the avatars. It’s annoying to say the least. Also one of the people on my team was kicked all the way out of Workrooms during that same meeting. Strong Wifi, decent battery life… So no idea why it happened. He re-joined without issue.
I want to speak briefly about the “issue with keyboards” in Horizon Workrooms. I have a co-worker who wants to explore the VR Office but she doesn’t have a keyboard that is mapped, and even with passthrough desk view it is very hard to read the keys. Even my mapped Logitech MX Keyboard and Apple Magic Keyboard will fail to map quite often. This is a very big problem that needs to be addressed. I am a “touch typer“. I was taught typing in a way that means I don’t have to look down, ever. I just feel out “F and J” (they have the bump on them) and I know I’m on the “home row” and I can type like a maniac without looking down. But many people don’t type that way. Even if they do, not being able to look down for those tricky characters like “$ or *” is a dealbreaker for many. I think that fixing the issue with keyboards is one of the most important things that Meta should be looking at with Workrooms. It doesn’t matter if new avatars roll out, or the space becomes more functional. If the input device is glitchy, it is dead on arrival in terms of scaling the solution, IMO.
Cup Half Full: How do I do glass half full after that keyboard tirade? Despite the issues I mentioned, today was a good day in VR. The idea of “returning to the office” felt pretty good, but only after I was back in VR working. I think it’s okay to not be thrilled about going back to the VR Office as much as the physical office after a long holiday weekend. If anything, it means the VR space is being normalized in my mind. It’s no cooler than the physical office, just more useful (at least for me).
I also added a neck fan that I got on Black Friday. It’s noisy, so I partner it with noise cancelling Airpods, and only use it in Focus work. I tested it in a 1:1 meeting and on it’s lowest setting it can’t be heard in VR (on medium and high it is loud enough to invade the virtual space). I like having this cooling option to partner with my face cover fan. Still, it’s more peripherals and is starting to make me think of my VR setup like the original Game Boy when optimized for light, sound, and magnification.
It feels good to be getting the VR Office Experiment going again after the holiday break! It also feels a little daunting, as this means tracking all my VR time throughout the week and posting about it every night. And then doing videos on the weekend. I definitely will change my schedule after the Experiment is over, but I’m committed to sticking with my plan.
To that point, I did begin using a daily survey today. It’s pretty boring at the moment, but hopefully something I can show off during the Week 5 Wrap Up Video this weekend! I’m tracking straight usage, productivity, and feelings across roughly 10 survey questions. More to come!