Some weeks ago, the founder and CEO of Meta -the new name given to Facebook- Mark Zuckerberg, presented in a video the bet the technological company is making with the metaverse. A virtual reality designed to simulate, almost perfectly, the non-virtual reality. Can it change the way we work forever?
Metaverse and work: the investments show the relationship
One of the fields that could be benefited from the development of the metaverse is the laboral one. Zuckerberg already presented, some months ago, the ‘Infinite Office‘ project, a shared workspace that takes remote work one step further. So much that the office becomes accesible from every corner of the world. Each employee has their avatar and can interact with those of their colleagues. But does this offer an added value? Will the virtual reality a proper alternative to physical interaction? Those are two of the main questions that will be answered by time. But we can already predict the largest tech companies are already answering them by themselves.
That is due to the big investments in the metaverse, both those happening already and those that are yet to come. According to Bloomberg Intelligence, more than 800 billion dolars will have been invested globally in 2024 in the development of the metaverse. And, specifically in the work world, the estimations say that, within the next decade, almost 25 million workers will use virtual reality frequently in their jobs.
The possible advantages and inconveniences of the union between VR and work
After the pandemic, the way we used to work has already changed. The hybrid model, that combines work in the office and work from home, has become really frequent; and virtual reality could fix some of the disadvantages remote work presents. Being in a cubicle or always sitting in the same place will become, even more than now, a thing from the past. The predictions are that the variety of places and ways of developing tasks with the metaverse will be almost infinite. Moreover, the feelings of not belonging to the company due to the lack of real interaction, as well as workplace FOMO, could disappear.
The metaverse could reforce creativity, exchange of ideas and the necessary socialization with the teammates. And, for some sectors, it could bring structural changes. Imagine visiting the house you want to rent through a virtual tour. Real estate is just an example of the possibilities of change metaverse offers.
Nonetheless, not everything is positive. Developers, employers and lawmakers need to have in mind new challenges for security and privacy; they could be a consequence of being immerse in a virtual world while developing work. Furthermore, it will be necessary to measure to what extend do employees want to work, and consequently live a big part of their lives in a simulation. There have been some experiments with VR already, and some people has also experienced headaches and dizziness because of it. These are just a few of the shades of the metaverse as a work option.
Anyway, the investments of companies like Meta, Nvidia or Epic Games, make us realize this is not a test. We will see whether the metaverse will remain a new alternative for leisure or if it also reaches -and changes- the work world.