Did you believe that the metaverse is this virtual reality version of the internet?
A space where we can interact with each, play games, and try on clothes virtually, among other things using funky animal avatars. Well, as it turns out, the reality is a bit more sedate.
We have not accepted this entirely, but some might argue that we are already living in the metaverse and have been doing so for quite some time. This is not some conspiracy theory, nor are we living in some crazy alternative world where we are plugged into the Matrix.
Or are we?
I’ll leave it to you to decide whether we are already living in the metaverse or gearing towards it. Let us look at how hybrid working or work from home will evolve with the onset of the metaverse.
Is metaverse really such a promising feat for the future of work in our society?
4 ways metaverse can improve remote/hybrid working
1. Sharing Experiences
To understand how metaverse can improve remote/hybrid working in the future, let us first look at how companies have visualized the workplace over the years. The 3D floor plan has replaced the 2D floor plan. The 3D floor plans allow the office views to spin around, to be zoomed in and out, and in real-time. The software that enables this is not new; believe it or not, this enhanced workplace experience has been around for a while.
As organizations increasingly shift to a hybrid work model, they wish to provide a standard and shared experience to their employees who are no longer attendees of a standard physical workplace.
As per McKinsey, ‘workers are hungry for trust, social cohesion, and purpose.’ It is also suggested that employees are looking for a hybrid office model that combines the physical and digital environments, believing that it shall allow them to achieve a better work-life balance compared to how things used to run pre-pandemic.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, working from home could have been an isolating experience since one was bound to feel disconnected from the rest of the team working from the office. And any uncalled-for background noise would have been impressment at least and could have been seen as unprofessional or disrespectful at worst. This occasional interruption is now more accepted and an expected ‘flavor of life.’
2. A Virtual World
Humans are social animals; we have a need to interact with one another. In other words, we need to share experiences even if we move to a hybrid office work model. Interactions we have daily in a physical office space are now being recreated in the digital environment. Software solutions like Microsoft Teams and Zoom are constantly innovating and adapting to this change. Hence, conference calls feel less like listening to a lecture and more like people sitting next to one another in real life.
Post covid, most employers are discovering that they can maintain productivity while giving people their time back. Remote work and hybrid work have become not just accepted but also dominatingly popular. Most professionals now expect the option of remote/hybrid work from their employers.
But with this flexibility in attendance at the office comes a lack of familiarity with the workplace. Employees and coworkers feel more like visitors to the office. They no longer intuitively walk the halls knowing where the scheduled conference room is or where to find their workspace.
In such a situation, one immediate use of the metaverse comes from providing those coworkers/visitors with a digital view of the workplace. So they can get familiarized with their office space while working in a hybrid model. The metaverse stimulation will give them a 3D view of their workplace. This will make them more comfortable and more efficient once they arrive onsite. This is especially helpful for those individuals who suffer from social anxiety or autism. They can get used to the office virtually first, so they don’t get overwhelmed when they have to attend the office in person.
A virtually stimulated office will allow them to walk through the virtual office and get a feel for where everything is and where their desk is located within the context of the metaverse. Even in the virtual environment, these remote workers are part of the office. They then have software that enhances and brings sought-after engagement and shared experiences among their coworkers. This will help people get more disciplined and productive while being extremely convenient.
3. Hybrid Support
Most companies have already started utilizing the metaverse to enhance their employees’ experiences by visualizing the workplace in two or three dimensions. As office visits are becoming less frequent, a 2D or 3D environment can help them feel less like visitors when they go in. Employees develop feelings of being there daily by using the metaverse to familiarize themselves with the office digitally.
The covid pandemic was something nobody expected, but now it has been some time since the shock of things has settled; I believe now the corporate environment will now start prioritizing how to best provide a shared experience and build familiarity. If the goal of a company should be to create a workplace atmosphere that has a learning culture, space for ideation, creativity, and collaboration.
4. Virtual Troubleshooting
Some of the more technical aspects in which the metaverse can be utilized include - operating a building, facility maintenance, space management, and asset management. A technician can virtually pick up a piece of equipment and take it apart virtually to identify the problem. This feature of the metaverse is available today and has been around for quite some time now. Not just corporations and government agencies but schools and universities can benefit from this. Predicting patient outcomes and structural engineering can easily become more economical and efficient using this.
Moving the office to the metaverse will provide employees and organizations with more such facilities, which will ultimately help them to achieve their objectives.
It is safe to say that metaverse is the future of working. Most people, especially after the pandemic, prefer to work from home or work in a hybrid work model. This allows individuals to manage work better. Many companies are working on making this experience better for their employees.
Metaverse is already being used to mend the distance between the home and office, as we discussed above, and will continue to do so. Currently, the metaverse is majorly used to provide stimulation of the physical office space, but it is quite possible that in the future, it might completely replace the physical office space; it is more convenient for employees and more economical for employers.
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