Is the metaverse the next stage of hybrid work?

Two-thirds of employers think so – but many taking wait-and-see approach

Is the metaverse the next stage of hybrid work?

Is the metaverse key to the success of hybrid work, with employees working both at the office and at home?

Probably, according to a recent survey: Two-thirds (66 per cent) of business leaders see the metaverse as the next stage of hybrid working, finds Regus.

“Change in the world of work is almost always driven by technology. In the 1990s, email transformed the way we did business, while during the pandemic we turned to video conferencing to enable more effective working,” says Mark Dixon, Regus founder and CEO. “This data shows that business leaders expect the metaverse to have a similarly transformative effect on hybrid working.”

In June, KPMG introduced a 3D platform called the metaverse collaboration hub. And in 2021, Hyundai Card – the credit card arm of Hyundai Motor Group – decided to hold its year-end celebrations in the metaverse.

Benefits to metaverse

Seventy per cent of employers expect the metaverse to increase demand for flexible working, as it will reduce the need for staff to work from the same office location, according to Regus’ survey of 2,000 office workers and 250 senior executives in May 2022.

And this brings other benefits, including more diverse workplaces (62 per cent), improved mental health (57 per cent), reduced presenteeism (54 per cent) and better relations between remote and office-based staff (54 per cent).

About seven in 10 (71 per cent) employers also think it will present new business opportunities. And 48 per cent are looking at office space within the metaverse.

The metaverse is “poised to be much more impactful than any technology we've seen emerge before,” one expert previously told Canadian HR Reporter.

Employees also think the metaverse will improve communication (44 per cent), bring about better teamwork (41 per cent) and provide for better remote working opportunities (40 per cent).

“It will enable better collaboration for people working all over the world, reducing the need to commute and allowing greater flexibility in people’s day-to-day working schedules,” says Dixon.

Earlier this year, the Employment and Education Centre in Brockville, Ont., started using VR to assist clients and students who are looking for extra guidance with career exploration. Also, Prince Edward Island is using VR technology in hopes of recruiting doctors into the province.

Wait and see

The metaverse may become a standard component of a hybrid working life – enhancing it, enlivening it and helping to bring colleagues together, even if only their avatars are in the same room, according to Regus.

However, while (46 per cent) of workers believe their employer will be an early adopter of the metaverse, 63 per cent think their employer will wait to see how other businesses fare before investing themselves, according to the survey.

Only six per cent think their companies will adopt the tech in the next 12 months, and 33 per cent expect it will take three to four years.

Inside the metaverse, 63 per cent of employees are concerned about their employer collecting their data and 61 per cent are concerned about being monitored by their employer, according to a previous report.

For all the talk about the metaverse, few employees are truly aware of what it is.

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