Every ten years or so technology takes a huge leap forward. The way we work is often at the center of that change. Paper and filing cabinets gave way to desktop computers and the internet. Then the Blackberry and iPhone ushered in the age of the mobile and a new way of working from anywhere.
Today, we stand on the brink of the next fundamental change in computing platforms. A world in which we don’t just connect on different screens and devices, but in different realities. This blog will show you what the future of work will look like with a step into the fascinating Metaverse.
In this blog you will find:
What is the Metaverse?
When we think about the future and its technology, it’s easy to understand the Metaverse as an internet you can step inside, whether through a virtual reality headset, mixed reality smart glasses, or even via a mobile device. Much like the internet, the Metaverse gives us new innovative ways to create, play, socialize, shop, learn and work. However, this concept won’t be built by a single company.
The Metaverse doesn’t belong to Meta. Instead, the Metaverse is the future of work, connection, and commerce. So, organizations are investing in tools and services like Meta Quest, Meta Portal, Meta Horizon Workrooms, and Meta Spark to bring the Metaverse into reality.
The big question is, how did we get to the concept of the Metaverse?
At Workplace from Meta, customers have been talking about the four major trends that will influence the future of work and bring forth the Metaverse:
1. Connecting the Frontline 👨🏽🏭👩🏻⚕️👷🏽
With the rise of the pandemic, 80% of the global workforce moved from the office to the comfort of their home. Frontline employees in retail and healthcare were the ‘heroes’ of the pandemic. However, as everything begins to open, frontline employees have reported they are suffering from or feel at risk of burnout. As well, most employees were considering leaving the frontline employment or were actively looking for a new role.
The reason, at least partly, for resignation is because frontline employees feel like they aren’t benefiting from the same advances offered to knowledge workers — whether that’s greater flexibility, better technology or just a louder voice.
2. The Power of Community 🏽🏿 👏🏼
At Workplace from Meta, the mission is to bring the power of community to everybody at work. Initially, organizations didn’t really get the concept of community. The term ‘community’ just wasn’t part of the vernacular. And now?
The last two years taught businesses the power of community. It wasn’t until we were all forced apart that we realized how much we valued being together. Business leaders around the world now understand it’s their people not their products that make their organization what it is.
3. Employee Experience 🌟🧑🏻💼👩🏼💼
The rise of the importance of employee experience is the tangible result of the power of community. It’s a sign that businesses are restructuring to put people at the heart of everything they do.
Previously, employee experience began as a desire by employees to be given more of a voice inside organizations. Instead of a ‘desire’, now employees demand a voice.
4. The Good (and bad) of technology 💻📱🖥️
Technology that helped us stay connected came into its own while millions of people were forced to work from home. But even while we relied on video conferencing, messaging, or live broadcasts to communicate with each other, we also came to understand more about what today’s technology can’t give us — that real sense of being together.
The Vision For the future of work
The four trends we covered above have built the vision for the future of work. Technology plays a huge role in making work easier, better, and more productive. Although the Metaverse may change the way we experience work, it won’t change the things that make it meaningful for employee experience — being seen, heard, and valued.
As well, culture plays a significant role in determining what the future of work will look like with technology. Workplace from Meta is built to combine culture and technology that works for everyone, everywhere. The very basis of Workplace removes barriers that prevent people from feeling connecting and creating a sense of belonging across organizations. This very concept will be carried forward into the Metaverse to create the future of work — a future that will be:
- More flexible & connected
- More inclusive & accessible
- More personalized & authentic
Let us dive deeper into what the future of work will look like in action!
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What will it be like to work in the Metaverse?
Today, hybrid and remote workers often shuttle between kitchen table, living room, office, cafés, co-working spaces and more. While the flexibility is great, working this way makes it impossible to own any one space, desk or even a desktop configuration.
With the future of work, the Metaverse will offer new and powerful solutions to that challenge. An internet you can step inside of will allow millions to take their personal or shared work bubble with them wherever they go. This is called the ‘infinite office’ which falls broadly into three types.
#1: Your private virtual office. 🏢
As VR (virtual reality) technology evolves, with a more comfortable design and high resolution visuals, a new kind of workspace will emerge. As you step into your private virtual office, you can arrange multiple screens in a configuration that is perfect for the task at hand. Keyboards and other physical devices will be synced with the VR platform and rendered inside the virtual space.
The passthrough capability (that is, the ability to ‘see’ the real world even through a pair of VR glasses) will allow you to define the boundaries of your virtual space, as well as see your physical surroundings when you look beyond those boundaries. That turns your virtual private office from a purely VR experience into one that encompasses mixed reality.
A host of productivity tools from the ‘on-screen internet’ will integrate, too. Got a Zoom call coming up? No need to leave your virtual office; just tap the Zoom app and you can take the call via a new floating virtual window.
This is the reality emerging now: a personal, mixed reality work bubble that we can take with us anywhere.
#2: A magical shared space.✨
For many, the work bubble they most often inhabit is a shared space. This is a room in which colleagues share new ideas, collaborate, and connect.
Right now, we’re still accustomed to the idea that this kind of close, collaborative work bubble with an in-person feel depends on being together in the same room. The Metaverse explodes that reality and replaces it with another — a reality in which we can access that shared room from anywhere.
Team members will be able to digitally map their office space, including the desks, whiteboards and walls – creating a twin of the room inside virtual reality. Once complete, it becomes possible to be in the room either physically or virtually.
#3: The truly infinite office. ♾️
Imagine sitting on a park bench on a sunny afternoon. You soak up the sound of a breeze in the trees nearby and watch people stroll past on their way into the city. Now imagine that your work – screens, apps and tools, 3D models, even your colleagues – can be right there with you, summoned by a voice command or a gesture. That’s the end point of our journey towards the infinite office.
But in the years ahead, we believe the reliance on screens will diminish. Instead, we’ll project digital objects across our view of the physical environment. That means that every aspect of your real-world working life – documents, devices, apps and even colleagues – can be virtually layered across your environment, blending seamlessly with the world around you. The boundaries that separate physical and digital – and that tie ‘in-person’ collaboration to a shared physical location - disappear.
How inclusive will the Metaverse be?
In the coming decade, VR and AR (augmented reality) environments will unlock new ways for workplace teams to live out their values. That means new ways to be together, learn from one another, and build team spirit. All this will unfold across three dimensions.
Inclusive presence. 🧠
Thanks to VR and AR work environments, the busy parent can be present at that crucial strategic meeting while staying home. The wheelchair user can take that tour of the new factory, even if the physical version would have been inaccessible. Everyone gets the chance to be ‘in the room’ - to shape that crucial strategic or creative decision, to bond with colleagues, and to do their best work.
Additionally, those with disabilities and people who are neurodiverse won’t be limited by the physical spaces and tools available to them. Instead, they’ll be able to personalize their surroundings – sounds, colors and more – and their workstations, to suit them. Physical presence is a privilege all too often taken for granted by those who don’t face obstacles that can prevent it.
Remote and hybrid teams will be able to come together in AR and VR environments, inviting a chance to be face-to-face with colleagues, create meetings that lead to new projects, or share a simple joke. All these moments add up to something greater – company culture.
Metaverse mentors. 👩🏾💻
We all understand the informal learning that comes along with sharing a space – an office, factory floor, studio – with more experienced colleagues. Because the Metaverse will allow physically distributed teams to be together in-person, it will reignite this age-old form of workplace learning. But the impact of the Metaverse on workplace learning goes even deeper. AR and VR environments will allow for entirely new kinds of workplace learning experiences, too.
Master mechanics will walk apprentices through the replacement of a serpentine belt. Trainee surgeons from around the world will stand with a heart surgeon as she fixes a rare heart defect. Customer service representatives will come together in VR to roleplay scenarios and take feedback on body language.
Be in the room.📍
The Metaverse offers the chance to redesign this hierarchy of spaces. The way we think about and use physical spaces at work isn’t just a matter of practicality. It’s also governed by value judgments and hierarchies of perceived importance.
Humans are inescapably social creatures and we’re hardwired to want to be together. By allowing new ways to make that happen, the Metaverse will offer organizations the chance to re-design workspace culture by hosting different spaces for high-performing team members from across the organization, wherever they are in the world.
How will workers be represented in the Metaverse?
Work inside VR and AR environments will allow for powerful new forms of personalization. We’ll be able to choose and customize our workspaces depending on the task at hand and our own preferences. And by creating or customizing our own avatars, we’ll have near-limitless control over the way we show up in virtual environments. This can be seen in two ways.
#1: The right space. ☑️
If we want to do our best work, environment matters. When it comes to stepping inside the Metaverse, that is a huge deal. That’s because working in an internet you can step inside of will mean the ability to choose from a vast array of fully immersive VR environments and customizing them around the tasks we’re performing. Or we can drop a customized AR layer over our view of the real environment in order to reshape it around our needs in the moment. In fact, inside the Metaverse, human imagination will be the only limiting factor on the workspaces we can design and use.
#2: Your true self.💗
As work moves into the Metaverse it’s crucial to ensure that we allow everyone control over the way they show up in the AR and VR worlds they enter. That starts with ensuring that everyone, whoever they are and whatever they look like, can build, and refine an avatar that captures their unique physical presence.
In virtual environments, everything about your appearance will be near-infinitely customizable. That will be fun, but it will also challenge traditional, and often unfair, expectations when it comes to appearance and expression of personal identity in the workplace.
Those expectations often play out along specific lines, in particular gender, ethnicity, and age. As we build the future of work inside the Metaverse, we have the chance to upend these kinds of inequalities. Individuals will be free to design their avatars as they wish. And organizations can hold democratic processes, across remote teams, if they wish to create new virtual dress and avatar codes.
When will the future of work begin?
The future of work starts now, it will bring new possibilities across screens, devices, and realities. It will increase our feelings of presence, productivity, autonomy and belonging. But although what comes next is exciting, it’s what we do today that will count.
Because the future of work in the Metaverse is built on a simple truth: What matters there, in the virtual world, will be the same things that matter here, in the physical one. So, it’s important that organizations are doing everything in their power right now to lay the foundations for the future.
Workplace from Meta is here to help because this, after all, is what we do. We make communication easier, employee engagement better and culture stronger. We use powerful features like Live Video, Knowledge Library and Groups to bridge the gap between leadership and frontline, in-office, and remote employees, and between the digital and physical worlds. And we’re investing in work tools built for the Metaverse.
Already Using Workplace?
If you’d like to learn how to take your Workplace platform to new heights and increase employee experience in the workplace to produce better results, we’d love to chat! Give us a shout and we’ll help you create a strategy to put employee engagement first.
Not using Workplace yet?
Want to see how Workplace could take employee experience to the next level? Give us a shout! We’ll help you to brainstorm ideas on how to utilize Workplace to achieve your organization’s goals and objectives.
From this brainstorming session, we’ll help you to see a visual blueprint that will show you how your existing technologies and Workplace from Facebook can integrate to help close the gaps between your business goals and objectives and your technology capabilities.