Is the Metaverse the future of work?by
Employers should capitalise on this new and exciting technology but, says Neal Riley, it will take a seismic shift in approach if you don't want to get left behind.
The last two years have seen a drastic shift in the way we work, and with continued advancements in technology, we can expect to see further changes to the modern workforce. Hybrid working has become commonplace with most organisations searching for new tools and technologies to make the home workplace more accommodating. But a new trend has emerged that might fill this gap: the metaverse.
What are the initial predictions?
Meta’s vision of the future almost certainly expands beyond ‘How do you view a virtual concert?’ and looks to embed itself in every aspect of daily life. In a recent report, Gartner predicted that by 2026, 25% of people will spend at least one hour a day in the Metaverse for work, shopping, education, social media, or entertainment. The most interesting concept perhaps is that of working in the metaverse.
Employers will need to become more agile in how they manage their teams to ensure they utilise this new, as yet untested, platform for work
The way we work has to change as we move away from 2D screens and towards this new, immersive world. It could mean moving away from the norms of our working life, such as the typical five-day work week in an office with commutes. But this will bring about a new challenge for leaders: how to strike a balance between the new virtual world of Meta's vision with the world we currently live in. Employers will need to become more agile in how they manage their teams to ensure they utilise this new, as yet untested, platform for work.
The promise of Meta’s ‘verse’ is to significantly shift the landscape of business. This includes everything from the move from physical to digital goods, the emerging creator economy, and the rise of decentralised currencies and transactions.
What are challenges and opportunities?
There’s serious questions about how quickly the hardware can support a typical 8-hour schedule. Whether the software is ready and up to the task of enabling a full day of work, but also at a price that will tempt organisations to make the shift to a virtual workplace. But more obvious than this would be the physical challenges of wearing a VR headset while operating a laptop and not being able to see the keyboard. Not to mention other mundane tasks such as drinking a cup of tea or coffee while working without being able to see where you put your cup down.
One of the biggest challenges, for leaders in particular, will be balancing the value of virtual working with the realities of in-person benefits. Many organisations continue to operate with a hybrid work model and are challenged with replicating in-office interactions and experiences while at home.
Leaders in particular have struggled to prevent their employees from feeling invisible or unheard, but they also struggle to recognise and reward the accomplishments of their employees. Therefore, we can question whether a virtual office within the Metaverse will help to mitigate these issues or heighten them.
The move away from post industrial revolution norms: a 5-day work week, an office, commutes, will be exacerbated by a world with virtual and physical manifestations. Perhaps we will begin to see more flexibility in when we work, as well as where, as we shift to a more virtual work environment.
What are the biggest challenges?
Meta’s push, as well as others who will try to compete with Meta to make a multiverse rather than a single Metaverse, will do everything they can to encourage everyone to engage with their platform. As we’ve seen with the advent of the 21st century, we are not as ready for this as we think we are. The future of a virtual world, the dream (or nightmare) of cyberpunks, is driven by an organisation shown to be incapable of moderating disinformation campaigns rampant on its platform.
Employers will need to capitalise on this new technology and that takes a seismic shift in approach to not get left behind
In terms of what the workplace will look like in a digital environment, it doesn’t matter if it will be a Metaverse, Microverse, or a Googleverse, the challenges will remain the same. Yet, virtual space by its nature can shift much faster than anything most businesses have seen before.
Are you ready for a seismic shift?
Meta’s push will be to encourage everyone to engage with their platform, but this will be the same for their competitors. The challenge for the workplace if adopting the technology will be navigating the new and emerging trends and making them a reality faster than their competitors. Employers will need to capitalise on this new technology and that takes a seismic shift in approach to not get left behind.
From our own point of view at Adaptavist, early investment in the capability to adapt is at the forefront and are long-held tenants in the DevOps world. This is because organisations will have to accelerate their innovation and agility investments to stay ahead of the rapidly shifting landscape. While there are obviously challenges to overcome and reach the positive possibilities a workplace Metaverse may bring, we look forward to seeing a bright future for it ahead.