Wouldn’t it be nice to have an office on the beach or in a forest? One company, Mure VR, thinks they might have the answer to your cubicle-inspired prayers.
John Paul Sartre famously said that “Hell is other people” and if you’ve ever had to share office space with coworkers you know that it’s true. Apart from that, most actual offices are an exercise in soul-crushing tedium. Even if you’re lucky enough to work at one of those hip new companies that are all about the interior design, you still face the same environment every day, over and over again. The same views out of your window, the same ceiling, it’s all so depressing.
They say that a change is as good as a holiday and psychologists and other scientist interested in mental well-being tend to agree tend to agree. For one thing, open plan offices have been shown time and again to destroy both productivity and morale. Giving someone both fresh new stimulating environments and a sense of privacy makes them better at their jobs and more mentally healthy. Knowledge workers, people who write or who have to do complex mental tasks benefit from having long periods of time without interruption, another thing that even regular offices don’t provide, since a ringing phone or knock on the door can reset your whole mental chain.
Nature Gets Personal
With Mure VR you can cut off the distracting outside workspace and instead sit next to a stream or on a beach. We’re animals evolved to live in and be fascinated by nature. Discovery is pleasurable to us. Cold tiles and fluorescent lights not so much.
That’s where the Icelandic company’s Breakroom application comes into play. Breakroom provides the user with a natural environment in which to work.
The idea certainly isn’t new. There are a few similar apps already out and we’ve spent quite a lot of time in Virtual Desktop ourselves. That program isn’t so focused on nature and you can buy all sorts of scenes. Personally we love sitting in Rick’s garage lab from Rick and Morty.
It’s also not a an idea the Mure came up with yesterday, as you can see in this original 2014 startup pitch.
Although we haven’t had a chance to try Breakroom yet, working in software such as Virtual Desktop has proven to be very pleasant and, if you are a decent touch-typist, poses no issues in terms of interfacing with the machine
Doing it Right
The difference in Breakroom may come down to the approach and attention to detail. The Mure VR team have put a lot of thought into the environments and subjective experience itself. They’ve brought in a top environmental psychologist to consult on the project and it’s going through a lot of testing and tweaking to achieve the desired effect. That suggests that in the end Breakroom may be something special.