According to latest beta, Valve SteamVR software can add floating desktop windows to VR games, allowing you to monitor other applications without leaving VR. It is a useful addition that allows players to follow everything from Discord, Twitch chat or Netflix during a lower intensity game. The road to VR propose you can even watch YouTube on longer flights Elite Dangerous.
The ability to interact with the rest of the desktop from the SteamVR dashboard is not a new feature, but recently Valve has made the system more flexible. Earlier this year, it added the ability to view individual application windows in the dashboard and be virtually connected to VR controllers in play. This made the apps visible at a glance, but so far it lacked the ability to float windows constantly in the game.
With the latest release, you can still choose to have the window attached to the driver, or pull it off to float in virtual mode. The windows are only viewable when you play the game, but you can open the SteamVR menu to interact with them by using the VR controller as a mouse pointer.
New floating windows are available from SteamVR version 1.19.6. This software version is currently available in beta, but is relatively easy to select through the SteamVR properties window (you can access it by right-clicking on it in your Steam game list). Despite all the new features added to the VR platform, there are no signs of SteamVR version 2.0 Valve yet teased early last year.