Employees fear surveillance in metaverse

While workers see benefits of new tool, they're also anxious and suspicious

Employees fear surveillance in metaverse

It seems employers are much more likely than staff to want to try out the metaverse thanks to employee monitoring concerns.

Specifically, 77 per cent of employers are interested in immersive work and 69 per cent say they are very familiar with the metaverse. These numbers are significantly lower at 57 per cent and 42 per cent, respectively, among workers, according to a survey by ExpressVPN.

“Employers are much more likely to express excitement, curiosity, and optimism when it comes to the prospect of a metaverse workplace, whereas employees tend to express anxiousness and suspicion about it,” it says.

In considering the metaverse:

  • 66 per cent of employers are excited compared with just 46 per cent of workers
  • 54 per cent of employers are optimistic compared with just 32 per cent of workers
  • 24 per cent of employees are anxious compared with just 14 per cent of employers
  • 16 per cent of employees are distrustful compared with just 10 per cent of employers
  • 20 per cent of employees are suspicious compared with just 16 per cent of employers

In June, KPMG implemented introduced a 3D platform which it calls 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.

Positive vs. negative

Among the workers who express interest in working in the metaverse, many picked the following reasons:

  • increased work-from-home flexibility (45 per cent)
  • it’s an easier way to collaborate with co-workers (36 per cent)
  • increased job opportunities (33 per cent)
  • ability to “travel” virtually (33 per cent)
  • more social interactions (32 per cent)

However, surveillance will be an issue in the metaverse, finds ExpressVPN’s survey of 1,500 employees and 1,500 employers in the United States.

“Employers need to pay close attention to how surveillance activities in virtual workspaces could impact the adoption of the metaverse, as well as morale, retention, and recruitment,” says the software company.

“While employee monitoring may provide peace of mind to employers who are overseeing a remote workforce, the reality is that surveilling employees could be detrimental when it comes to their willingness to adopt a metaverse workplace. Morale could also drop due to feelings of mistrust from employers.”

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.

“Employee monitoring software has become a popular way for employers to keep an eye on their employees during the rise of work-from-home, and the metaverse will only increase the potential for surveillance activities,” says ExpressVPN.

Online surveillance

Employer plans

Employee fears

Real-time location

39 per cent

51 per cent

Real-time screen monitoring

39 per cent

50 per cent

Time tracking

39 per cent

47 per cent

Websites visited

37 per cent

42 per cent

Social interactions

33 per cent

41 per cent

Recordings of meetings

32 per cent

41 per cent

More than a third (37 per cent) of employees working in companies using monitoring software have been trained on it or have signed consent agreements, but not all employees were provided the same information, according to a previous report.

Latest stories