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The metaverse and the future of work

In the past few years we have all become accustomed to remote studying, and the world of work has looked no different. Epigram SciTech investigates the metaverse and its implications for the future of work.

By Tiberiu Toca, SciTech Investigations Editor

In the past few years we have all become accustomed to remote studying, and the world of work has looked no different. But how will the workplace evolve, and what can graduates expect? Epigram SciTech investigates the metaverse and its implications for the future of work.

Is remote work here to stay? Many professionals appear to concur. Technology advancements have made it possible for us to experience virtual reality in ways that were previously only imagined in science fiction. Because of this, immersive workspaces have been created, enabling us to work from anywhere in the world.

The metaverse has the power to fundamentally alter the way we conduct business. However, it is unclear how precisely a 3D internet, which serves as a shorthand for the metaverse, will alter working conditions. This is due in part to the fact that the technology needed to fundamentally transform workflows has not yet been fully realised, as well as the fact that it is not yet clear how users will interact with the metaverse.

We have primarily focused on the proportion of workers who will physically return to an office in our discussion of the future of work. Will we adopt the hybrid of working from home and the office or go back to the pre-pandemic model of almost universal in-person work? This is a familiar choice for students who have been stuck in the limbo of ‘blended learning’.

Or should we follow the example of well-known businesses like Yelp, Twitter (until November 2022 due to Elon Musk’s acquisition), and Airbnb, all of which have embraced remote work?

The term "metaverse workplace" describes virtual reality environments that enable you to work more productively, adaptably, and creatively from anywhere in the world. It eliminates the need for expensive office supplies and equipment. The ability to create a virtual workspace within the Metaverse where real individuals can physically be there and communicate with one another via digital avatars has the power to completely alter the way people operate online.

Unsplash / Israel Andrade

Furthermore, the metaverse is a social environment that can foster connections and reduce loneliness among remote workers, especially those that frequently feel it when working from home. Employees can interact with coworkers face-to-face, participate in group activities, and attend company events in the metaverse. This allows people to focus on attention-demanding tasks in a distraction-free environment using the collaborative tools and resources on the Metaverse.

Naturally, opening a corporate office in the metaverse presents some difficulties. It is impossible to minimise the price of buying VR headsets and other related technology and is difficult to train employees to wear them. The privacy and monitoring issues surrounding tracking employee performance, as well as the requirement for businesses to establish rules and governance mechanisms for behaviour in the metaverse, may create obstacles for HR departments. While working in the virtual world still requires the same level of participation as in the physical world, just with different boundaries, some people may worry that doing so is the tragic story of how automation is eradicating yesterday's jobs.

It is critical that businesses continuously monitor employee satisfaction and solicit feedback as they start to experiment with what an office in the metaverse might resemble. Early studies on the effects of full-time VR employment indicated decreased productivity, increased levels of burnout, and negative effects on health. Contrarily, research at Accenture has found that 30 minutes is the best time frame for a metaverse session. Therefore, business executives must decide how to best integrate VR and the metaverse into their current work patterns.

Businesses benefit financially when they pay less for office space and rates. Since virtual workspaces are adaptable and scalable, they can be customised to suit the requirements of companies of all sizes and accommodate growth. Additionally, companies can add or remove employees as necessary. This is advantageous for businesses that are growing quickly.

The nature of jobs may alter as a result of persistent, decentralised, collaborative, and interoperable digital content, and each organisation will need to investigate this possibility. Anchoring digital information to equipment will enable new repair and installation workflows for technicians and clients. Retail occupations may be affected by adaptive digital signage and price tags. Collaborative 3D simulations will revolutionise the way we make complicated decisions, and this is only one of many ways virtual worlds will change the way we operate.

Featured image: Unsplash / Eddie Kopp