Being at a loose end over the weekend, I finally succumbed to purchasing the latest version of Microsoft Flight Simulator.
Maybe I was reliving my youth and fantasy parallel career, or simply that after 2 years of being stuck at home, a subliminal message from my subconscious, that I need to get out and about again… a good omen to a business trip in my near future maybe!
Either way, by Saturday afternoon I was high above the Alps, running my A320 down to Italy, hoping for that strange sense of satisfaction you get when you are actually able to land the thing.
The view, graphics of course, were simply stunning and a huge upgrade on the last version I had from around 2004.
As fun as this was it did also get me thinking about the role of immersive simulation in the workplace.
What I mean is, that if I (was younger &) fancied being a pilot, it is something that I could now realistically try and get a much more immersive, authentic experience, than I ever could 20 years ago.
It is plausible to try, and see if you like it, before fully committing to in-person training than ever before. (and understand the sheer volume of pre-flight checks, air traffic control, and navigation tasks needed as part of the job too).
Similar, if I want to be a racing driver, train driver, truck driver, bus driver or excavator driver these are all things I can try beforehand… even medical professionals and surgeons have simulators too.
But what about the collections professional or contact centre agent?
Now I know these are not going to make the next video game bestseller list.
In fact, it may not ever be more than even moderately interesting… but as a concept, virtual-like reality, giving potential employees a sense of what a role is, could be really powerful in helping them understand what is involved… to try before they start…
And, with the ability in a simulation to make as many mistakes as you like, it could really help with training too.
All of this leads to the potential for lower costs to hire, more committed employees, reduced attrition, and higher quality of work on the job… and the benefit may not only be one way!
Creating better jobs that fit
Being fully transparent on a role, and providing a realistic immersive experience, could also be highly instructive letting employers know what works and what does not…
Getting the data, can force robust thinking on role structure, office environment, and especially employee-customer interactions, something that can be difficult today. Having all this in a VR-type environment could really help.
This may make for better roles, and environments… all the more attractive to gain and retain staff…
Maybe there is a future in this metaverse thing after all…!
(… although given my subsequent rather bumpy landing in Bologna, just be glad I will be sitting in economy, heading off to a business meeting, rather than upfront behind the controls on the flight there!)