The metaverse and the future of work
By Tiberiu Toca, SciTech Investigations Editor
In the past few years, we have all become accustomed to distance learning, and the world of work has not looked different. But how will the workplace evolve, and what can graduates expect? Epigram SciTech explores the metaverse and its implications for the future of work.
Is remote work here to stay? Many professionals seem to agree. Advances in technology have made it possible for us to experience virtual reality in ways previously imagined only in science fiction. As a result, immersive workspaces have been created that allow us to work from anywhere in the world.
The metaverse has the power to fundamentally change the way we do business. However, it is unclear how exactly a 3D Internet, which serves as shorthand for the metaverse, will change working conditions. This is partly due to the fact that the technology needed to fundamentally transform workflows has not yet been fully realized, as well as the fact that it is not yet clear how users will interact with the metaverse.
We have focused primarily on the proportion of workers who will physically return to an office in our discussion of the future of work. Will we adopt the hybrid of work from home and the office or go back to the pre-pandemic model of near-universal personal work? This is a familiar choice for students stuck in ‘blended learning’ limbo.
Or should we follow the lead of well-known businesses like Yelp, Twitter (until November 2022 due to Elon Musk’s acquisition), and Airbnb, all of which have embraced remote work?
The term “metaverse workplace” describes virtual reality environments that enable you to work more productively, adaptively and creatively from anywhere in the world. This eliminates the need for expensive office supplies and equipment. The ability to create a virtual workspace within the Metaverse where real individuals can physically be there and interact with each other via digital avatars has the power to completely change the way people function online.
Furthermore, the metaverse is a social environment that can foster connections and reduce loneliness among remote workers, especially those who often feel it when working from home. Employees can communicate face-to-face with colleagues, participate in group activities and attend company events in the metaverse. It allows people to focus on attention-demanding tasks in a distraction-free environment using the collaborative tools and resources on the Metaverse.
Of course, opening a corporate office in the metaverse presents some problems. It is impossible to reduce the price of purchasing VR headsets and other related technology and it is difficult to train employees to wear them. The privacy and monitoring issues surrounding tracking employee performance, as well as the requirement for businesses to establish rules and governance mechanisms for behavior in the metaverse, can create obstacles for HR departments. While working in the virtual world still requires the same level of participation as in the physical world, just with different boundaries, some people may worry that this is the tragic story of how automation is wiping out yesterday’s jobs.
It is critical that businesses continually monitor employee satisfaction and solicit feedback as they begin to experiment with what an office in the metaverse might look like. Early studies on the effects of full-time VR employment indicated reduced productivity, increased levels of burnout, and negative effects on health. In contrast, research at Accenture found that 30 minutes is the best time frame for a metaverse session. Therefore, business managers must decide how best to integrate VR and the metaverse into their current work patterns.
Businesses benefit financially when they pay less for office space and rates. As virtual workspaces are customizable and scalable, they can be adapted to meet the requirements of companies of all sizes and accommodate growth. Additionally, companies can add or remove employees as needed. This is beneficial for fast growing businesses.
The nature of jobs may change as a result of persistent, decentralized, collaborative and interoperable digital content, and every organization will need to explore this possibility. Anchoring digital information to equipment will enable new repair and installation workflows for technicians and customers. Retail professions can be impacted by customizable digital signage and price tags. Collaborative 3D simulations will revolutionize the way we make complex decisions, and this is just one of many ways virtual worlds will change the way we work.
Featured image: Unsplash / Eddie Kopp