The metaverse offers promise to reinvent hybrid models by balancing remote work with social connections formed between avatar versions of employees in a virtual world. This emerging model holds the potential to enhance team collaboration, accelerate learning, and spark creativity. Learn the latest metaverse trends to watch in this blog.
Hybrid work environments – the answer to many of the issues of remote working experienced during the pandemic – have increasingly been adopted by global enterprises in all industries to offer work flexibility along with in-person collaboration employees desire.
Now the metaverse can take hybrid work into its next evolution – bringing together the advantages of the work-from-home environment with the social connections, teamwork, and fun of the virtual world.
In this exciting next phase, employees will work in a persistent immersive mega virtual smart space akin to a universe where people have seamless digital experiences that can extend to the real world.
Employees with 3D avatars of themselves will inhabit virtual office spaces to meet and collaborate with their teams remotely without feeling distant. Many metaverse solutions for the workplace, like Microsoft Mesh, NextMeet, and Meta’s Horizon Workrooms are already gaining popularity for work meetings.
Metaverse advantages in a hybrid work model
When operating in the metaverse, organizations reap all the benefits of remote work, including reduced operational costs for real estate and facility maintenance. Here are some of the other key benefits:
- Enhanced learning and development – Through virtual learning, the metaverse can enable better collaboration, enhance learning outcomes, and improve employee training
- Improved attrition and talent – The metaverse can reverse the rising attrition rates many companies experience when returning to in-office work by employees who leave because they prefer remote work. With metaverse, companies can differentiate their employee value proposition around collaboration and relaxation activities, resulting in better retention.
Organizations can deploy metaverse applications throughout the employee lifecycle, including attracting talent by distinguishing themselves, developing skills through virtual training, and engaging employees so they stay with the company
- Better collaboration across geographies – As metaverse adoption increases, organizations will be able to further distribute employees geographically. Tasks like design work, planning, and strategizing that require teamwork and are difficult to perform in regular virtual modes can be done more effectively with creative virtual tools within the metaverse. This will enable increased talent sourcing for strategic roles from tier-2 and tier-3 cities as the metaverse diminishes the barriers to effective collaboration across geographies
- Greater work-life boundaries – Metaverse can overcome remote workers’ top concerns of feeling isolated, having limited social interactions with coworkers, and lacking boundaries between work and personal time.
A fully immersive metaverse environment functions exactly like an office space where employees can have the impromptu interactions needed to build a shared organizational culture. When working in the metaverse, employees work in different environments than their homes, providing a barrier between jobs and leisure
Challenges to the metaverse in hybrid work
The metaverse will have some challenges to overcome and these include:
- Higher initial investment – Operating within the metaverse requires a high initial investment for developing metaverse platforms and procuring hardware. The low maturity of technology and hardware required is an obstacle to large-scale commercial adoption
- Employee stress – Working in the metaverse for long hours is strenuous for employees who can feel fatigued and lose their sense of reality. Another employee concern is digital privacy and security
- Graphic limitations – The metaverse technology available today only supports cartoonish avatars that do not look realistic or show human emotions, significantly limiting the effective expression of thoughts and non-verbal cues
Most organizations are following a wait-and-watch approach when formulating internal and external metaverse strategies as most metaverse solutions offered today are in their initial development stages.
Widespread metaverse platform adoption is likely to take a few years because the infrastructure, applications, and computing power requirements for a very immersive metaverse experience are not yet available on a deployable scale. However, the metaverse offers an enticing value proposition that should be closely watched.
You can also view our LinkedIn Live event, Trust and Safety (T&S) in the Metaverse | With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.