Will VR impact physical office demand?

I’ve been imagining for a while now that VR could one day replace most, if not all, physical offices. After watching Facebook’s latest demo of Oculus, I’m even more certain that it would.

The purpose of an office, according to Jacob Morgan, is to:

First, to foster collaboration and communication. Second, to have a level of transparency. And third, and most important, is to create an experience.

I believe VR can easily replicate most of the above. Imagine appearing as your avatar in a meeting room with everyone else all while sitting on your living room sofa. When you’re done, you can take off the headset and go back to working on your laptop at home. Working from home isn’t new, the trouble has always been meetings and collaboration. VR is about to solve that from wherever you are.

What is clear is that technology will only get cheaper, faster, and smaller. Which means more people will have it and be willing to wear the headsets for longer. Cartoon avatars will make way for true-to-life representations.

As a property investor, what I’m particularly interested in is the impact VR will have on commercial real estate. If VR can replicate the purpose of an office, would companies invest less in commercial real estate? If you could do most of what is needed from home through VR, why would anyone make daily the rush hour commute? Could commercial real estate find a new purpose? Will people then spend more time at home driving demand to better residential?

To extend the impact, what will it mean for business travel and employee mobility? Could a team be made up of talent from anywhere in the world?