Yesterday our boss asked everybody to start working in a virtual office once and for all. I was there a few times while the construction was going on — helping to set up my workplace. I confess I used to have a sceptic attitude towards VR some time ago. I thought it was just another marketing gag for increasing sales of videogames or videos but I have finally changed my mind.
In our company, we all have been working remotely for a long time. You know, Slack, Trello, Git… The boss decided this right away because our product is socially important and we do not want to increase unnecessarily its prime cost. There are 4 of us in the team — 3 coders and a designer. Bob has been taken in recently and he is still learning how to code, but let’s talk about him later.
I usually wake up closer to lunchtime, so by the time I put on headset and got into VR, everybody was already there. The boss was again drawing some schemes on the board, Bob was at his workplace, John and Elly were discussing something aside. Having said “hi” to all I switched to a separate channel with the boss. After half an hour we agreed on the further work plan and set the deadline. The boss filled out necessary columns and a new task popped up on our holographic wall, the one of my concern. During this time, Bob’s avatar suspiciously was not moving, but it did not disappear either — which happens in case if you need to take off our headset and to take a leak. I have heard that the boss acquired some feature for the Virtual Office, which controls Reddit-work time-lovers, but I never got a chance to see for myself its efficiency until now. A black cloud started forming over Bob’s head, at first barely distinguishable but then already clear rumble of thunder echoed in my ears. The boss was standing and smiling, probably being happy of how fast he managed to evaluate the efficiency of his investment. After a few minutes, Bob started moving sharply and mumbled in the common chat that he had been distracted by his mum. Having seen this show, I lost any desire to pay attention to FB while describing another function.
By the way, the boss thought about us as well. In the evening, everyone could see the statistics of the day, how many lines had been written, etc. I managed to fix an old bug, which immediately resulted in getting a few more positive reviews on our glowing wall. A notification about an automatic credit transfer to my account at the end of the workday made me feel warm even though I do not think I will be happy about it as much soon. But it is better to feel nothing than to worry non-stop about if I get my salary at the end of the month or not. Anyway, money is not the key motivation in our company. Working with great guys in a large bright office, literally sitting on a couch at home and dictating a code which can be checked out right away — that works for me.
During breaks we were wandering around a park under the Thumb Tower, watching the Quidditch final on Jupiter, then we helped to decorate the central square for the weekend holiday, so I started even forgetting about daily workout, but my headset version does not work that way. Unobtrusive avatar slowing down by 90% and a banner (size of a house) can be really convincing. Sometimes I get too involved and could even fall asleep there, in virtual reality, if there were not special blockings and developer notifications. However, I get even more distracted by notifications of my girlfriend messages, who really cannot get out of a habit to text, even though an app to make calls from the outside has been released.
My buddy has told me that if start working in VR — it will be better to connect in a bathtub with nutrient solution, but after a few hours spent coding in headset — I am more keen on going to a real swimming pool than hunting a virtual deer. Measure is treasure — as usual.