Day 24 in the Virtual Office
Total Time in VR: 5 hours and 37 minutes (across 7 VR sessions)
Use Cases: Focus Work (50% – 2 hours 48 min), Team Meetings (24% – 1 hour 19 min), Community Time (18% – 1 hour), MiniMindfulness (9% – 29 min)
I did not expect to spend so much time in Focus today, after the shock yesterday from going in and out of 1:1 meetings and Focus. But I had less meetings today, and since this experiment is intended to push the pedal as far as it can go, when the opportunity arises, I took that chance and jumped into Focus whenever I could today. And it was good today. I didn’t feel that same emptiness from yesterday. I think it might be because yesterday I was having great conversations one-on-one, and then I was alone for a while. The “working alone” part isn’t the issue, it’s the hard shift from social to solitude, at least that’s my best guess for the moment.
I got to do Community Time today with my whole team, and I proposed a “team building exercise”. We went into Walkabout Minigolf and set our Locomotion to 2.0 (some of the team are getting used to flying in VR). Then we lined up out in the water around Welcome Island and took off like a little train, following the lead of the person in front. I’ve read that when you do things in unison (flash mobs come to mind) it causes a bonding element. I was at the back of the train as we approached the large pirate ship. I shouted “let’s jump it!” The person in the lead rose out of the water and appeared to be jumping just the “boat” portion. I shouted “all the way over the highest mast!!!” and responding to the leader, all of us shifted into an almost vertical climb high into the sky. As we crossed the top mast, I shouted “back to the water!!” and we descended again in a straight line down to the water below. It was thrilling. We were in that moment TOGETHER. I can remember it right now almost 12 hours later, as if it’s still happening. And that is powerful. That is team building on a whole new level, and I was thrilled with how it went. Hopefully as our tolerance for “flying in VR” increases, so will our speeds (it goes up to 5.0).
**if you try this experiment yourself with friends or colleagues, it is crucial to have everyone in a spinning chair. The key to reducing motion sickness is to do all the turning physically, not using the controller as the mechanism. In minigolf, you just hold the putter straight in front of you and steer with you body. And the body is tricked and motion sickness reduces.
Cup Half Empty: Not too much to complain about today. I was kicked out of Workrooms once today, back to the main menu. We had a Workrooms update a couple days ago that appears to be a “bug fix update”, so maybe they still have a few bugs to swat. I had a meeting in the afternoon with one person joining me in VR and another joining via the Web Portal. On Web Portal, he mentioned that he was seeing some white flashes in the Portal that made it hard for him to focus on the screen. It could be a hardware thing on his end, or it could be a software thing. I will make sure to take note of any times I hear that feedback in the future. I’ve had TONS of people join via the Web Portal over the past year (which is how long I’ve been using Workrooms), and I’ve never heard this issue before. The Web Portal is crucial though, as we want to make sure that VR isn’t a requirement to join virtual meetings. That’s how you scale it across the spectrum and create a little FOMO along the way.
Cup Half Full: I’ve already hit the biggest half full thing today, the Community Time Pirate Ship Jump. I wish I’d taken a picture, but I couldn’t as I was truly living in the moment. VR felt so much better today than yesterday. One of my questions on my daily VR Survey is “How excited are you to do VR tomorrow?” and my score was low yesterday. But I’m committed to this experiment, so I didn’t let a lack of enthusiasm stop me. I’m glad I didn’t because today I had the same energy that I had at the beginning of this thing. And an idea I had about building team bonds through unison VR flight proved to be pretty cool.
The wind is back in the sails as I approach the weekend. I didn’t let a rough day of VR yesterday stop me from going ALL IN with my Focus Time today. I have some ambitious plans for my VR filming sessions this weekend, so I need to keep the energy up!