Study finds VR is less productive and more stressful

A man in a virtual reality headset works in the office using motion tracking controllers.

A photo: Gorodenkov (Shutterstock)

All the wealthy Zuckerbergs and like-minded people in the tech world are convinced that the future is all we live, love and work in the virtual reality of the “metaverse”. But new study results suggest that working in virtual reality will not actually increase worker productivity, comfort or well-being. On the contrary, in fact.

As noticed PC gamerA research group at the University of Coburg in Germany conducted an experiment. The guys put together 16 people, 10 men and 6 women, and had them work for a week in virtual reality using basic desktop settings and Oculus Quest 2 virtual reality headsets. The results of this week’s study were then published in an article titled “Quantifying the effects of working in virtual reality for one week“. Very catchy!

A week-long study shows that working in virtual reality reduces productivity and can cause migraines.

Participants worked for seven days in VR with 45-minute lunch breaks and were asked several times a day to rate their experience in VR compared to working in a typical real office on 10 dimensions, including perceived performance, frustration, and well-being. . , and anxiety. Participants were also asked specific questions related to virtual reality, such as whether they felt unwell or if their eyes started to hurt. The research team also monitored their heart rate and typing speed.

It turned out that study participants felt like they had more work to do than in a typical office and felt more anxiety and stress when trying to do their work in virtual reality. This resulted in a 14% drop in performance, which they themselves described, and “frustration” increased by more than 40% from baseline. All this contributed to an overall decline in mental well-being. And, as you might expect, the participants suffered in different ways from increased eye strain, visual fatigue, nausea, and migraines as a result of spending so much time in virtual reality.

Two people actually had to withdraw from the study due to frequent migraines and severe frustration, nausea, and confusion before the end of the first day of the study.

Read more: The metaverse is already here for the cows, and it’s very sad

To be clear, this is just one study in a field that is still quite young. In fact, one of the main purposes of conducting it was to provide data that future researchers can use to further study the topic.

Some may be inclined to blame the negative findings on the hardware/software that was used in the study, including Chrome Remote Desktop and standard budget VR headsets, but the paper explains that the researchers intentionally used medium technology because it is closer to yours. average desktop experience. And look if the future is a metaverseit should work for everyone on any budget, not just the wealthy who can afford a $3,000 PCVR setup.

But yeah, overall not good news for Zuck. In conclusion, here is the conclusion of the research team from the article:

Overall, this study helps lay the groundwork for future research by identifying current weaknesses and identifying opportunities to improve the VR experience. We hope this work will stimulate further research into long-term productive on-site work in virtual reality.

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