Potential Metaverse Applications for Remote Teams

If you work a corporate job, you have likely experienced remote or hybrid work in the past couple of years. As coronavirus mandates ease and many companies are returning to physical offices, plenty of individuals still want to hang on to working remotely.

Freedoms discovered amidst the pandemic, the lack of a commute or squeezing in a midday workout, is too good to let go of for many. A quick search on LinkedIn will reveal thousands of companies that still operate 100% remotely. It’s unclear what percentage of companies will remain remote but working from home is here to stay in some capacity.

In the early days of quarantine, offices scrambled to keep their communications fluid and effective. However, the kinks and pitfalls of remote work are smoothing over as companies continue to adapt. Team communication platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Slack have become increasingly intuitive, and new hires are expected to pick them up as they go.

The Metaverse in the Context of Remote Work

The question now is how remote work will transcend physical distance and become increasingly integrated? How will social engagement and interaction, the main component lacking in remote work, advance and improve? Mark Zuckerberg’s 2021 Metaverse presentation attempts to answer these problems with virtual reality applications.

“Over the last year and a half, a lot of us who work in offices have gone remote. And while I miss seeing the people I work with, I think remote work is here to stay for a lot of people. So we’re going to need better tools to work together. Let’s take a look at what working in the Metaverse will be like. Imagine if you could be at the office without the commute, you would still have that sense of presence, shared physical space, those chance interactions that make your day, all accessible from anywhere,” said Zuckerberg.

Zuckerberg posits that working inside virtual workspaces will become the norm for business. Of course, only time will tell how companies implement the Metaverse in their workspace, but it’s clear that improvements need to be made in the way people interact remotely.

A 2022 Global Culture Study by O.C. Tanner Institute found that people excel when working remotely on creative tasks but fall short when trying to complete work that requires better integration and communication.

Along the same vein, digital agency Wunderman Thompson’s Into the Metaverse report found that 64% of digital users wish virtual conference platforms would feel more like physical spaces.

The Metaverse for Socialization and Team Engagement

Large offices often hold community morale and social enrichment in high regard. This is the motivation behind your weekly work happy hour, break room parties, or company softball league. Any true fan of The Office knows that some of the best episodes involve holiday parties or other extracurricular events.

How can remote work teams offer some sense of the typical office experience for their employees? Perhaps Zuckerberg’s conception is wrong, and the Metaverse is better suited for enriching team socialization and community.

Here are some ways modern remote companies are currently utilizing the Metaverse as a social network.

U.S. marketing agency The Starr Conspiracy employed virtual reality headsets to reengage employees as the coronavirus pandemic induced isolation and fragmentation among employees.

As a company that once regularly enjoyed creative engagement events, springing $300 per Oculus Quest 2 headsets for each of their 72 employees was a no-brainer. The company now has employees meet for virtual happy hours and quiz nights.

In an interview with WorkLife, a newsgroup focused on detailing the intricacies of modern work life. The Starr Conspiracy details how its team is receiving new virtual reality events. Brett Starr, CEO of the Starr Conspiracy, says the company response is mainly positive.

“Companies should meet in the metaverse because it is a more organic and engaging experience than solutions like Zoom or Teams, which are stilted and unnatural, like having conversations via walkie-talkie,” said Starr.

Accenture, a global IT consulting firm, purchased 60,000 of the latest virtual reality headsets in 2021. This move was to further communication and solidarity between remote team members and clients.

However, the investment brought so many rumors and questions that their Metaverse Strategy & Extended Reality Lead, Nick Rosa, took to Twitter to explain the move.

“1) Yes, we’re providing “full 6dof self-contained latest generation #VR headsets” (And not cardboard as someone suggested… ) 2) Yes, the number is “higher than any other company in the world has ever deployed” (We’re Accenture, of course),” tweeted Rosa.

Oculus Quest 2 headsets are now included in the new employee package at Accenture. The company completes its onboarding process in a custom-designed virtual map dubbed “The Nth floor.” In addition to receiving onboarding instruction and conversing with teammates, trainees can also participate in icebreaker virtual games to get to know one another.

The idea of a virtual meet and greet over some silly minigames sounds a bit lame, but it shines compared to the alternative of a routine Zoom meeting. “Walkabout Mini Golf” is a favorite for employees of Mural, a digital interfacing company. VR mini golf is easy to pick up and has less pressure than its real-life counterpart.

Games like these connect employees worldwide over a simple yet communally engaging activity. They replace human connections that are usually overlooked in a remote office setting.

While live office employees may connect over a shared lunch or sharing an office space, remote companies look to the Metaverse to fill in socialization gaps. As a result, we will likely see Metaverse’s socialization for remote offices continue to blossom.

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This post was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Featured Image Courtesy of: Pixabay.

 


Dane Dickerson
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