When the pandemic hit and almost all office-based jobs transitioned into a work-from-home setup, employees gladly accepted the change. How could they not when commuting no longer took up a chunk of their morning, and they had more time for sleep or other tasks? It seems most companies are continuing to head towards virtual workspaces, including Facebook.
READ: WFH is Great — Or is it?
What working from home might look like in the future?
Slack, Zoom, and Google Meets are some of the widely used online tools by remote employees. And while all these offer conveniences, Facebook is looking to reinvent the work from home experience through their “Horizon Workrooms” VR app. It essentially allows people to work at an office from the comfort of their homes. “It’s an internet that we are part of, or that we can be inside of,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg explains.
What exactly is Horizon Workrooms?
“Workrooms is a virtual meeting space where you and your colleagues can work better together from anywhere,” Facebook announced in a press release. “Join a VR meeting as an avatar or dial in from a computer. Use the virtual whiteboard to sketch ideas. Bring your computer and keyboard into VR to work together with others, or just have expressive conversations that feel more like you’re together in person.”
How does it work?
Horizon Workrooms make it possible to be in the same room as people you’re collaborating with through virtual reality. Instead of simply seeing blocks of faces on your computer screens, you’ll immerse into a digital space as a personalized avatar. The full experience requires an Oculus Quest 2 headset and a separate hand tracking device. Those who don’t own these gadgets may still join the conference, appearing as video call participants.
Zuckerberg said Facebook had been testing the idea even pre-pandemic, and the company now uses Horizons Workroom for internal meetings. As they delve deeper into the metaverse, he hopes people will think about them as more than a social media network.