How the Metaverse May Modify the Workplace


Imagine a scenario in which you could conduct business meetings on a space station while floating around and taking notes, or you could teleport from your London office to New York without ever leaving your home. Do you feel under pressure because you have too many meetings today? Instead, why not send your AI-enabled digital twin to lighten your workload? Noticias Metaverso en español The term “the metaverse,” first used by author Neal Stephenson in 1992 to describe a future virtual reality world, offers only a small glimpse into the future vision of work. The metaverse is difficult to define precisely, but it is generally understood to be a network of 3-D virtual worlds where users can interact, transact, and establish social bonds using their digital “avatars.” Imagine it as a virtual reality adaptation of the internet we use today.

The metaverse, while still in its infancy in many ways, has suddenly become a lucrative industry, with technology behemoths and gaming behemoths like Meta (previously Facebook), Microsoft, Epic Games, Roblox, and others all developing their own virtual worlds or metaverses. The metaverse uses a wide range of technological platforms, including gaming, machine learning, blockchain, 3-D graphics, digital currencies, sensors, and (in some cases) VR-capable headsets.

How can one access the metaverse? Many current workplace metaverse solutions only need a computer, mouse, and keyboard, but in order to fully experience 3-D surround sound, you will typically need to put on a VR headset. However, there has been significant advancement in computer-generated holography, which does away with the requirement for headsets (either through the use of virtual viewing windows that produce holographic displays from computer images, or through the use of specially designed holographic pods that project people and images into actual space at events or meetings). Haptic (touch) gloves, which allow users to interact with 3-D virtual objects and feel sensations like movement, texture, and pressure, are another innovation being made by companies like Meta.

You can make friends, raise virtual animals, create virtual clothing, purchase virtual real estate, go to events, create and sell digital art, and make money all at the same time in the metaverse. But up until recently, there wasn’t much discussion about how the developing metaverse might affect the workplace.

That is currently altering. The pandemic’s effects, particularly restrictions on in-person meetings and travel, are driving businesses to look for more genuine, cohesive, and interactive remote and hybrid work experiences. New immersive forms of team collaboration, the emergence of new digital, AI-enabled coworkers, the acceleration of learning and skills acquisition through virtualization and gamified technologies, and the eventual rise of a metaverse economy with entirely new businesses and job roles are at least four significant ways in which the metaverse appears set to reshape the world of work.

Like Being There: Collaborating with Others in the Metaverse
A world of virtual work will benefit from higher levels of social interaction, mobility, and collaboration thanks to the metaverse. The immersive reality platform NextMeet, with its headquarters in India, focuses on interactive working, collaboration, and learning solutions. Its goal is to end the loneliness and worker disconnection that can come with remote and hybrid work. I spoke with Pushpak Kypuram, the founder and director of NextMeet, who provided the following explanation of their virtual workplace solution’s inspiration: “Keeping employees engaged has emerged as a top challenge for many companies, especially with the shift to remote working brought on by the pandemic. 20 people can’t be kept interested in a video call’s flat, 2-D environment; some people don’t like being recorded; and you’re not simulating a real-life situation. Because of this, businesses are utilising metaverse-based platforms.

Understanding Center Collection
Rethinking the Work
past the notion of “normalcy.”
Employee virtual avatars can walk up to a virtual help desk, give a live presentation from the dais, relax with coworkers in a networking lounge, or roam a conference centre or exhibition using a customizable avatar thanks to NextMeet’s immersive platform. Participants enter the virtual world using a desktop computer or mobile device, choose or create their avatar, and then use keyboard shortcuts to move around and occupy objects in the environment. As an illustration, Kypuram uses the onboarding of new employees. “If you’re onboarding 10 new coworkers and show or give them a PDF document to introduce the company, they will lose focus after 10 minutes,” says Kypuram. Instead, we direct them to a 3-D gallery or hall with 20 interactive exhibits where they can learn more about the company. You compel them to roam the virtual hall rather than read a book.

Other metaverse businesses place a strong emphasis on office solutions that reduce the social isolation of remote work and video meeting fatigue. A UK-based start-up called PixelMax assists businesses in developing immersive work environments that foster collaboration, employee wellness, and teamwork. Their virtual offices have the following features and can be accessed using a web-based system on your computer without the use of headsets:

“Bump into” encounters: Thanks to PixelMax’s immersive technology, you can see your coworkers’ avatars in real-time, which makes it simpler to stop them for a chat when you run into them in the virtual office. In a recent interview, Shay O’Carroll, co-founder of PixelMax, said: “During the pandemic we lost a lot of this vital communication. Research suggests that informal and spontaneous conversations account for up to 90% of business communications in fields like R&D.
Well-being spaces: These are areas set aside for users of the internet to relax and try something new. According to Shay O’Carroll, “We have developed wellness spaces modelled after forests or aquariums. Perhaps they are even on the moon. On-demand materials like classes for exercise or guided meditations may be found in these areas.
Delivery to your physical location: Customers can add functions that let you order takeout food, books, and other items online and have them delivered to your physical location (e.g., home).
Live status tracking: Just like in a physical office setting, you can move about and get a broad view of the workspace, see where coworkers are located and who is free, stop by for a quick chat, etc.
The ability to link various virtual workplaces is the ideal, according to Andy Sands, co-founder of PixelMax. It is currently creating a virtual workspace for a collection of 40 top interior design manufacturers who share space in Manchester, England. “Community building, interactions, and conversations are key. We want to make it possible for employee avatars to switch between a manufacturing and an interior design world, or to watch a concert in Roblox or Fortnite, for example.

Working remotely can be stressful. Nearly one third of remote workers in the UK reported having trouble separating their personal and professional lives, and more than a quarter reported finding it challenging to unwind after the workday is over. By simulating the experience of entering the office each day, working, and then leaving after finishing your tasks and saying goodbye to coworkers, virtual workplaces can better define the boundary between personal and professional life. Your avatar in the virtual workplace gives you a way to communicate your status, such as whether you’re in a meeting, out for lunch, etc. This makes it simpler to stay in touch with coworkers without feeling tethered to your computer or phone, which is a common source of stress in traditional remote work situations.

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