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Is Metaverse just a trend or is it here to stay?

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By Annil Chandel is CEO and Co-Founder, Wurkr

‘Metaverse’ has become a commonly used term these days. It is a concept from the future that offers immersive experiences. Is it just a fad or is it something that will stay long enough to take us into the future? Something that many organisations, decision-makers and startups ponder about.

The pandemic has been the major driving force that made the remote working model a household term. The inevitable future of the workforce was later accelerated into what is exercising currently – a mix of remote and the conventional working model. It is also known as the hybrid work culture, something that Microsoft’s 160000+ employees are trying to inculcate at Microsoft.

I have spent enough time in this space, I regularly discuss and debate the open-ended question of what actually will form the future of the current workforce. What I have realized are a few important factors that would bring about the much-needed workplace revolution in the coming years.

My conclusions, backed by evidence and data, lie within the premises of a sustainable future. This will include flexibility, environment friendliness and exceptional employee engagement as key factors that guide the future workforce.

As proven by recent studies, employees love flexibility in their life. They appreciate organisations that value their employees. In that regard, we have a reason to believe that the hybrid revolution ultimately will be with employees and will let companies have a better relationship with their employees.

Around the same time, the concept of Metaverse was introduced by the mainstream as well as many startups and small-timers. They brought their ideas of their own into the equation.

The concept of Metaverse made us realise the existence of so many options that were otherwise not even imagined. It enabled employees to co-work just like in a real ‘physical’ environment even though they logged in from different places. It enables global and distributed teamwork to be effective and capable of functioning just like a team that meets every day in their physical office.

However, if you look closely, it was nothing new except that it ushered a hybrid and flexible work culture to the mainstream. Even before the pandemic broke out, there were serious discussions on moving forward from the conventional work cultures. According to Microsoft’s research, about 73% of employees want flexible yet remote working options to consider staying in the organization.

The pandemic might have made it a little earlier, but the future always lied with hybrid working and distributed-global teams. The said situation comes with a lot of caveats – starting from lack of continuity in crucial discussions, inability to collaborate effectively or even feeling isolated while being cut off from their teammates.

These issues are also there among the office-going crowd who are working alongside their teammates who might be distributed across the globe. This is where Metaverse and virtual workplaces find their relevance.

Making the best out of the current situation and despite the massive challenges, companies regardless of their sizes and structure, managed to develop successful company cultures. They also achieved their milestones and built an efficient system of work at their companies.

Hybrid work culture is slowly becoming the norm. If metaverse and hybrid working coincide with each other, we will soon be seeing people log in to their offices while being location independent. A study conducted by Lenovo says that close to 44% of employees showed their willingness to work in the metaverse. About 44% of employees also feel that working in the metaverse will enhance their productivity levels.

This brings us back to the question – Is the metaverse a viable solution to the challenges of Hybrid Work cultures? Is the metaverse practical?

The answer would be a yes and a no. Metaverse might not continue the exact way it is currently designed to look like. It will undergo a huge number of evolutions before it becomes accepted as the norm; just like how the traditional workspace also underwent a lot of iterations before settling down within the office spaces. From having easier access to VR and AR technology to designing an error-free metaverse workspace, the metaverse is currently only scratching the surface of being the future of the workforce.

Is the metaverse practical? That would be a different and also difficult question to answer. As discussed just above, it depends on the iterations that it will go through especially in the departments of data security, privacy, sustainability and also a lot more. But I do think it’s practical and could be the very answer to the employee experience that we are all craving. But it has to be designed to suit the needs of the employee, environmental sustainability and something that would bring the world closer to itself rather than create voids in communication and understanding everywhere it is implemented.

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