meaning | The Metaverse: our future workplace?

Written on 23 Feb. 2022 at 18:13Updated 23 Feb. 2022 at 18:17

According to Mark Zuckerberg, who describes it as the future grail of social interactions, Metaverse, an immersive virtual universe, is set to transform our lifestyles, starting with our relationship with the world of work. And although it is still too early to say that Meta will host the headquarters of the future tomorrow, one thing is certain: the pandemic has already prompted profound changes in the organization of work. Remote work, Zoom meetings, flex office, coworking… Both employees and companies strive for greater flexibility and switch to hybrid mode. In this context, office real estate professionals are reinventing spaces and experiences; today in the real world and tomorrow in the virtual world!

Headquarters moves into the Metaverse

“Imagine. You’re sitting at Starbucks with your coffee, and with a snap of your fingers, your work screens appear before your eyes when you left them at home. Do you have a problem? Instead of calling a colleague, the latter ‘teleports’ for you”. This is how Mark Zuckerberg described his vision of Metaverse (1) last July, immediately applying this innovation to the world of work. Elsewhere, his group, renamed Meta, launched Horizon Workrooms as its first application. This virtual reality remote work service, accessible via a VR headset, outlines the Future of Work.

Pioneering companies are already moving into the Metaverse. Thus, PricewaterhouseCoopers has just acquired still virgin digital land in the video game The Sandbox, to “build” a consulting center there, to help brands unfamiliar with Web 3.0 to take advantage of the new opportunities that this technology offers. For its part, Prager Metis, one of the leading international audit and consulting firms, was the first to officially open its headquarters on the Metaverse Decentraland platform.

A promise that will take time to keep

By presenting itself as an immersive world, much more interactive than Zoom or Teams, but also much more collaborative, Metaverse promises to improve the virtual work experience. Distorts time and space and thus positions itself as the telecommuting platform of the future, the missing brick between remote and face-to-face.
Does this mean that tomorrow m2 offices will be replaced by cm2 pixels? Nothing is less secure! First of all because technologically we are still very far from the promise of Meta. So, if the crisis has reassured managers about their employees’ telecommuting performance, it has also produced another certainty: human interaction cannot be completely replaced by virtual tools. Body language, informal exchanges around the coffee machine, brainstorming in the meeting room play a significant role in team cohesion, motivation and attachment to the company and promote creativity and innovation. In the same way that 100% remote work is rarely the option managers choose today, 100% Metaverse is clearly not a consideration!

Experience at the heart of new workplaces

Responding to this trend of hybrid work, office real estate experts have been able to reinvent spaces in recent years to more closely intertwine digital and physical experiences: offices run as a service, coworking… In these structures designed to offer optimal working conditions for all employees and the fulfillment of companies’ new needs, comfort and flexibility take precedence.

The gradual arrival of Metaverse in the business world now places these professionals in the development of workspaces on the front lines. The expertise they have acquired in the physical world will be adaptable in the virtual world. Good news for VSEs and SMEs who would not have the internal resources or the funds to pay for a virtual country or a digital architect to design their offices in Metaverse. They will thus be able to benefit from relevant turnkey solutions, as they already do for their offices within services or their coworking spaces.

At this point, imagination will be the only limit. And while it’s hard to predict what shape offices will take in the future, one thing is certain: Metaverse or not, employee experience and well-being will be more than ever at the heart of these spaces.

1. Poscast The Verge, July 2021

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