Quantifying the Effects of Working in VR for One Week

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PubDate: Jun 2022

Teams: Coburg University of Applied Sciences;Microsoft Research;University of Cambridge;University of Primorska

Writers: Verena Biener, Snehanjali Kalamkar, Negar Nouri, Eyal Ofek, Michel Pahud, John J. Dudley, Jinghui Hu, Per Ola Kristensson, Maheshya Weerasinghe, Klen Čopič Pucihar, Matjaž Kljun, Stephan Streuber, Jens Grubert

PDF: Quantifying the Effects of Working in VR for One Week


Virtual Reality (VR) provides new possibilities for modern knowledge work. However, the potential advantages of virtual work environments can only be used if it is feasible to work in them for an extended period of time. Until now, there are limited studies of long-term effects when working in VR. This paper addresses the need for understanding such long-term effects. Specifically, we report on a comparative study (n=16), in which participants were working in VR for an entire week – for five days, eight hours each day – as well as in a baseline physical desktop environment. This study aims to quantify the effects of exchanging a desktop-based work environment with a VR-based environment. Hence, during this study, we do not present the participants with the best possible VR system but rather a setup delivering a comparable experience to working in the physical desktop environment. The study reveals that, as expected, VR results in significantly worse ratings across most measures. Among other results, we found concerning levels of simulator sickness, below average usability ratings and two participants dropped out on the first day using VR, due to migraine, nausea and anxiety. Nevertheless, there is some indication that participants gradually overcame negative first impressions and initial discomfort. Overall, this study helps lay the groundwork for subsequent research, by clearly highlighting current shortcomings and identifying opportunities for improving the experience of working in VR.

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