Just a couple of years ago, it would have been hard to imagine what the workplace of the 2020s would have looked like. It took a global pandemic to spur many to rethink their office and work operations, with many ditching closed offices and embracing a future world of virtual reality and hybrid working.
What is ‘the metaverse’?
A term originally coined in 1992 by science fiction novelist Neal Stephenson, the metaverse describes a future online world where people can move around as 3D avatars and interact with other people and experience real-life scenarios like doing business. This virtual world, which will be made possible through augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), can be quite parallel to our own actual world.
Sounds like a futuristic science-fiction movie, right? The metaverse has already been used in online digital games to enter and interact with other players; there are virtual reality headsets that provide immersive experiences, including 360-degree views of the digital environment and motion-capture gloves that offer a physical sense of touch.
But can we work in the metaverse?
Covid-19 lockdowns had forced offices to reconsider ways of collaborating, connecting, and interacting and this had led to finding new ways to go about our lives. Despite the fact that virtual meetings can never replace the real thing (as of now), hybrid working has proved to be more effective at balancing work and life, improving digital skills, and ensuring a better job performance.
Perhaps the greatest impact of the metaverse will come from the world of work. Using the pandemic as a catalyst to build on remote work trends, enabling in-person contact and the spontaneity that it affords, combined with the freedom to work from wherever/whenever, could be truly revolutionising for companies and employees alike.
What could the metaverse workplace look like?
No more working remotely: Till now, technology has not been able to replicate the experience of actually being present with team members in person, but rather has been used mainly to maintain communication and interaction at work regardless of distance. Through the metaverse workplace, you can interact with team members in virtual workspaces as 3D avatars, allowing you to simulate the real world in a more effective way.
Solving issues in 3D: Engaging with ideas and solving problems visually using 3D models is a more effective approach to problem-solving. Similarly, anything in the metaverse workplace can be rendered in 3D, providing a more precise assessment, design, and decision-making process with fewer time restrictions and costs.
You need not worry about physical space: Space will never be an issue in the metaverse workspace. When physical space becomes digitised, you have people who are present in the same physical space and people who are remote coexist together in a single virtual conference. These metaverse workspaces can be expanded easily. However, for real-life team connections, regular in-person meet-ups are essential for team building and bonding.
No dependence on hardware: In the metaverse workspace, rather than requiring conferencing equipment to hold a meeting, 3D avatars will be able to meet face-to-face through digital workstations and only need virtual whiteboards to jot down the ideas.
A report by Bloomberg states that the economic prospects of the metaverse are expected to reach 800 billion by 2025 and 2.5 trillion by 2030. We can conclude from all of this that the metaverse is here to stay. With companies like Facebook, Sony and Microsoft gearing up to join the Metaverse environment, should you be left behind? For the rest of us, innovation in technology development will be key to making the metaverse accessible and practical. In the near future, we will all be part of this new universe, and we need to train people in this field to bring it to life.