With most countries slowly opening up again and allowing us to return to a relatively normal life, excitement over being able to meet family, friends and colleagues is growing. And while we are finally able to socialise in person again, the last year has shown everyone how important it is to maintain close contact with loved ones and also with colleagues and teams. At Tyto, we have used the past couple of months to find new ways to not only collaborate better but also to socialise and create a feeling of closeness even though we are physically separated. This is especially important and relevant to Tyto as our team is distributed across Europe.
As part of our Tyto Labs initiative, we first turned to VR to explore if the hype around the technology is justified and how we can leverage it for us as an agency internally as well as externally. When rolling out this project, it was important for us to include every employee right from the start – innovation and creative ideas are driven by people with different and diverse experiences and knowledge, so it only seemed logical to get everyone involved. Every team member was equipped with an Oculus Quest 2 headset and had one single task to start with: have fun! Explore the technology, understand its capabilities, its limitations… Play games, meet in virtual spaces with friends and colleagues, or visit the international space station (though some will join me in arguing that not everyone can stomach zero gravity in VR).
Simultaneously, we started using VR for short team meetings, using an app called Spatial.io which allows you to set up avatars, modelled after your (or a chosen) picture. While you can’t see people’s faces like you would on video calls, there is less lagging, and it feels more like a natural conversation compared to Zoom or Teams calls. The possibility of integrating Slack channels, Google Drive or Microsoft suite’s products or pretty much anything that can be googled makes this a lot of fun while also being productive. VR is brilliant for short meetings or brainstorms – especially if you’re like me and like to walk around a bit during creative sessions.
More recently, we have turned to VR to enhance our social team events. Not only have the past months restricted the way in which we as a team could interact but as a location-agnostic agency, we don’t always have the chance to get together in real life. VR is a great way to get around this. One app we can certainly recommend is Walkabout Mini Golf which allows you to play 9- or 18-hole courses with up to 5 players all while talking to each other. We held our first VR mini golf competition during our virtual Spring Break event and we had some ‘tee-rific’ fun with team members from all across Europe playing golf in their own houses. It’s a very enjoyable experience which certainly beats any Zoom quiz – we had an ‘un-fore-getable’ day. And who knows, we might be starting the first agency VR mini golf league.
So far, our experience has been nothing but positive, but we will be exploring the technology even further to potentially build use cases for better collaboration with Tyto team members, clients or press. So stay tuned!