Meeting meetings. Can we make them happier?
That’s how groups walk the line: on the one hand, fun elements can make meetings more interesting and inspire ideas, but on the other hand, such meetings are more difficult to set up. up and as a gimmick. “We see specific challenges in social connections,” Teevan said. Microsoft, like Facebook, is aggressively seeking to invent meeting tools. One is the Together Mode it creates for Teams software, using artificial intelligence to cut users ’profiles and put them in a virtual setting.
Teevan said workers feel increasingly isolated from remote work and are already desperate for connections. His research inside Microsoft shows that workers are becoming more agile around videoconferencing, which can lead to poor judgments. “We are the ones codifying our existing social networks,” he said. Games can expand networks, improve trust, and even deliver better decisions.
Sílvia Fornós, a PhD fellow at the Center for Computer Games Research at IT University in Copenhagen, helped organize a week-long summit on Gathering, a virtual space where users can hold meetings in a pixelated, 8-bit environment, after he found Slack and Zoom unsatisfactory for connecting with conference partners. Instead of being distracting, Fornós said, the ’80s style added an informality and comfort to the meetings.
However, real connection is lacking, he found. “Team bonding is a fundamental part of multidisciplinary research and has a direct impact on our work,” he said. “We need to find a middle ground, like hybrid spaces that offer the flexibility of virtual spaces with the possibility to socialize and attend in person when that’s needed.”
That’s the middle ground of meeting technology where the tube and need to penetrate, and Facebook hopes Horizons Workroom will meet that need-no matter how ridiculous it may feel to talk to your boss’s animated avatar in the virtual reality. Even King admitted that the Horizons Workroom was “a little classy for me.”
The solution could be located somewhere between traditional and game -like videoconferencing technologies, suggests Jeremy Bailenson, a communications professor at Stanford University and the founder of the Virtual Human Interaction Lab. This summer he did an experiment which worked well, with 102 students coming in over 60,000 minutes on both Zoom and the VR Interaction platform.
“Should we keep Zoom or should we use VR? My answer is yes, we should do both,” Bailenson said.His work, which comes out this week, shows that kind in the meeting is important. “If you have a head to speak and everyone is just listening, Zooming is good for that,” he said. “But if you need to do an action or have a little conversation in a small group, immersive VR is better for that.” He knows that VR is a much better way for people to read non-verbal expressions such as leaning or eye contact, which are essential to trust and understanding.
But Bailenson admits that VR isn’t at the point where we can use it for more than a few minutes at a time before our minds heat up.