Brings Remote Teams Together With Immersive 3D

Back in March, when the online training company where Alex Sheshunoff worked went entirely remote, he figured it wouldn’t be too long until they were all back in the office as well. But as September rolled around and they still weren’t back, company culture was beginning to suffer. New hires appeared via video conference whom no one had met in person. A feeling took hold that they were going through the motions of work instead of working together as a team. They tried to be lighthearted in some of their meetings, but, as Sheshunoff explained, “A video conference meeting in a funny hat is still just a video conference.”
Curious how widespread the problem might be, the team commissioned a survey of 1,006 people and confirmed theirs was not an isolated experience. Of those who had at least one video conference per day, 34.4% report feeling “burnt out by video conferencing” and about the same amount agree that  “video conferencing fatigue is a growing problem.”
“We’re just not wired to look at a grid of 12 faces from inches away,” Sheshunoff said of video conferencing, “The result is exhausting, rarely productive, and never fun.”
So Sheshunoff started looking for new ways to bring people. The solution became 
Launched just before the holidays, RetreatWorks uses what is called immersive-3D for people to interact using figures or avatars that best represent them. “It kind of looks like a video game,” Sheshunoff says, “but instead of blowing up a spaceship, you’re building trust with colleagues through activities like virtual scavenger hunts, get-to-know-you bingo, trivia, drawing games and boat races.” And unlike virtual reality, no special hardware or bulky goggles are required.
It seems to be working. “Everyone loved it!” said Stephany Murillo of Redfin. Tammie Houston of PointWest Credit Union in Portland, Oregon said. “Everyone had a blast and is still talking about it. This is one we’ll never forget.”
The most popular activity is dancing, perhaps because most people’s avatars dance much better than they do in real life. Even as their event approached the scheduled end of their event, a group of realtors recently wanted to keep dancing. “Our team had other things we needed to do, so we left them to keep dancing,” Sheshunoff laughed. “We just asked them to turn off the lights on their way out.”
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