There’s no question that we live in a global economy driven by large, distributed workforces. But while our global economy reaps many benefits, having a distributed workforce can be a double-edged sword for businesses. On the one hand, a distributed workforce brings diversity to the table and enables access to talent outside of physical borders. Having employees stationed around the world can help expand a company’s reach and ultimately drive growth. On the other hand, having a distributed workforce can create inefficiencies if workers aren’t aligned with best practices or given the right tools to effectively communicate, share information or remain engaged.

Finding a way to communicate effectively is one of the biggest challenges that enterprises face when it comes to training large, distributed workforces. Trainers need to consider the various locations that employees reside in, adhere to different language speakers, and understand that in-person training isn’t always a viable option. While there are many ways to train employees virtually, training teams must keep these communication challenges in mind when weighing their options in order to find a solution that empowers them to communicate effectively across the entire organization.

Data sharing, alongside effective communication, is another key component when it comes to training a distributed workforce successfully — and a lack thereof can lead to serious consequences for businesses. Take a large global enterprise with a division in Spain and another in Brazil, for example. Operations might be running smoothly, until one day both divisions face the same issue. The division in Spain takes one approach to fix it, captures meaningful data and within weeks resolves the issue. The division in Brazil takes a different approach and doesn’t resolve the issue for months, falling behind in productivity. Throughout this entire time, neither division knows that the other is facing the same issue, there is no communication regarding their successes and failures, and no data is being shared within the broader company. As enterprises look to improve their training programs and invest in new training tools, data sharing is an important capability to keep in mind.

Engagement among employees is another key challenge that enterprises tend to face during training initiatives. Whether it’s soft or hard skills training, often employees will skip through learning videos, multi-task or get distracted.

Enterprises invest a lot of time and money into training programs, and training professionals put a lot of effort into rolling them out and evaluating content and performance — while it’s in their best interest to leverage a training platform with a strong return on investment (ROI), it’s also in their best interest to make sure employees find value in their training and remain engaged throughout the entire time.

A lack of engagement during training may seem harmless, but it could be the difference between an employee putting themselves and others at risk in a real-world scenario, impacting productivity and ultimately costing their company money.

For enterprises, it’s evident that there is a need to invest in holistic global solutions that have the power to unify large, distributed workforces while keeping employees engaged across all aspects of training. While there are many technologies in the market for training teams to consider, virtual reality (VR) offers an all-in-one solution.

VR training platforms can enable access to credible off-the-shelf training modules and advanced content that’s suitable for needs across almost every industry. Distribution methods are flexible and can be tailored to the end users’ specific needs, including language preferences. Speed of implementation, access to content, and rich data sharing won’t get disrupted while using VR, and the nature of the technology streamlines communication and eliminates the need for trainers to travel extensively. Enterprises can deploy training modules at scale to anyone in the world, track progress and capture data — all in one central environment.

VR platforms also offer some of the most realistic virtual training out there, meaning that high-risk and emergency training scenarios can be recreated in a safe and simulated environment anytime, anywhere. For large, distributed workforces, this results in the same standard and quality of training at a lower cost, with almost no chance of injury or dangerous outcomes occurring.

Finally, VR empowers training teams to engage their workforce in an exciting new way. When using a VR headset, employees are completely immersed in the virtual environment and have no choice but to focus on what’s in front of them. The general VR space has grown rapidly over the past few years gaining the attention and imagination from everyone, leading people to want to try the technology out for themselves — even if it’s for training. There’s no question that people around the world will begin to take advantage of VR in their everyday life, and now enterprises can take advantage of VR to unify and strengthen their organization’s training programs, too.