Metaverse In A Hybrid Workplace

While cyberspace has kept evolving over the last 25 years, the term “Metaverse” has emerged to further facilitate our physical lives. I


As the pandemic with all its unending cycles keeps rolling, the reality of a hybrid workplace is not likely to ebb. With people split , some being in real workplaces and some working from home or actually, anywhere, the challenge of productivity, engagement and impact is obvious. Corporations are struggling to explore a range of technology solutions that can help them resolve these challenges in the days of the “Great Resignation”.  This is where Metaverse is seen as a possible panacea.

While cyberspace has kept evolving over the last 25 years, the term “Metaverse” has emerged to further facilitate our physical lives. It is anchored in the vision of an immersive internet with a gigantic, unified, persistent and shared realm. It sits at the confluence of a range of emerging technologies like Virtual/ Augmented/ Mixed/ Extended Reality to create an omniverse, a venue of simulation and collaboration, integrating digital and physical reality to varying degrees. 

So why will Metaverse trends will interest the HR world? 

Employee Engagement Levers: There is huge fatigue with the current overload of sessions on Zoom, Teams and others. This burnout is a huge people risk in most corporations. In many ways, this is triggering the huge exodus of talent. Metaverse possibilities will enhance the use of digital solutions to offer life-like avatars in place of video platforms. It will make online collaboration more fun and effective.  The pressure on employee appearances will ebb and the emphasis will return to actual work. And the advantages of spatial computing can then have unlimited benefits.

Remote Collaboration will be enhanced: With a spatially distributed workforce, the remote working environment needs to get more immersive. Metaverse solutions will allow everyone to feel they are in the same room, irrespective of their physical location. Tools that enable a sense of a more unified workplace will enhance both inclusion and collaboration, minimising the very palpable “presenteeism bias” that one hears of today. 

"While cyberspace has kept evolving over the last 25 years, the term “Metaverse” has emerged to further facilitate our physical lives," Prabir Jha, Founder CEO, Prabir Jha Peopel Advisory

Organisation Design Changes: the convergence of metaverses, digital platforms, decentralised and open applications will create a very different paradigm of workflows. Many new job roles will get created along with a new web of inter-relationships. The ownership of intellectual property and a rejig of skill sets are possible concomitant shifts. This will demand a huge culture change management effort by organisations. 

Health & Safety Challenges: Not every change is an unmixed blessing. In the likely new immersive digital world, the dangers of psychological ill-health are likely. Also, there will be growing risks of dehumanising and excessive monitoring. HR will need to carefully sift through its policy regime choices to ensure a healthy equilibrium between the virtual and physical. It will need to ensure healthy metaverse working practices. 

The moment is a crossroad. The opportunity ahead is both disruptive and scary. While metaverse will not replace the real workplace it sure has the potential to multiply employee  (as also a customer) engagement and experience. While a lot is already in the works. It will demand bold and responsible enterprise thinking to be the positive game-changer it can be.  It will also need sustained user education, onboarding, and change management to move it from a world of sci-fiction to a new world of organisational effectiveness. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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