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How companies can use virtual reality to train their managers to handle coronavirus at work before reopening offices

using virtual reality technology
  • There is often no easy way to handle a difficult situation at work, but you can practice how you respond. 
  • Virtual reality tools, like tech startup Talespin's new training modules, are helping managers handle difficult conversations surrounding topics like layoffs at work. 
  • These skills won't be new for most people, but they are useful to practice for managers who are facing unprecedented situations at work, said Stephen Fromkin, cofounder and chief content officer at Talespin.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Picture this scenario: You're the chief operating officer of a company, and a distraught employee has just come to you with concerns about major layoffs at a competitor. They're understandably anxious about layoffs at your company, as well as their own financial security.
"I mean, I've got kids in college. My girls, they've worked too hard. I can't let them down," they say.
How exactly do you respond?
There's often no easy way to handle a tough situation in the office. And the novel coronavirus pandemic has created a number of complicated and stressful situations for both companies and their employees. From questions over mental health to employees fearing they may soon be laid off, managers have to spend a significant amount of time quelling worker fears.
While you may not know exactly how to respond to the employees' concerns, you can practice. And technology like virtual reality is one way some companies are training employees to navigate reality during a global health crisis.
VR has already found a wide variety of applications during the coronavirus pandemic. Hospitals, for example, are using virtual reality simulations to train doctors and nurses who have expertise in other areas on how to treat coronavirus patients, CNN reported. Computer software company MeetInVR is developing a tool for companies that want to host virtual reality meetings.
Now Talespin, a tech startup developing virtual reality trainings, has released a new tool that handles conversations during a crisis. The company raised $15 million in series B funding to extend their VR training programs in March, and it has Fortune 500 clients like Farmers Insurance.
Using Talespin's new VR training, leaders can practice having difficult conversations with employees during a crisis. The scenario above featuring the concerned employee is one that the company actually provides training on. Talespin also has VR courses on other common office topics, like firing a disgruntled worker.
Stephen Fromkin, cofounder and chief content officer at Talespin, told Business Insider that training using VR can be useful for uncomfortable situations because it makes it feel more real, even though there is no true replacement for real face-to-face interactions.
"You're having a real experience," he said. "You're having a true conversation. You interpret that in a way that allows learning to be more effective."
Social distancing has made VR a more viable option for employee training because it doesn't require workers to interact face-to-face, compared to more traditional options like scenario role playing.
But the average person likely doesn't have access to a virtual reality headset. For this reason, Talespin is also making their tool available on computers, so workers can also train at home on their laptops.
Fromkin said the company had already been planning to release training for employers on how to handle a crisis, but coronavirus simply sped up the process. These skills probably aren't entirely new concepts for most workers, but they're important for many who are facing unprecedented challenges at work, he added.
"At its core, a lot of these skills are not skills that are going to be brand new to people, but how they're being applied is important to what leaders are facing today," he said. "The more typical skills that they have been trained on might not be enough to really address the nuance of what employees are going through."
SEE ALSO: Companies need to help employees manage stress and mental health during these difficult times, according to a top exec from PwC
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* This article was originally published here Press Release Distribution

Source - https://www.businessinsider.com/?hprecirc-bullet

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