The last couple of years has changed the world of work forever. How we work is much more important than where we work. Technological advancements like the metaverse, virtual and augmented reality, and artificial intelligence are also driving changes to jobs, tasks and skills.
Whatever the future holds, the key to success is bringing together the best of the physical, hybrid and virtual environments to unlock the full potential of your workforce.
Organisations will need to reimagine their approach to remote teamwork to replicate social connections, friendships and collaboration that, until now, people could only achieve on-site and in-person. Metaverse will open up the possibility of new forms of work in what Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg calls the “infinite office”.
In other words, workers using virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) will be able to create and share collaborative online worlds where they can socialise, play games or work together on projects from wherever they are as digital nomads. Having said that, mass adoption and execution is a journey to be had!
Let’s sample a few developments on the impact of Metaverse on the future of work. In enterprise settings, this will take the form of immersive collaborative working environments. Meta (formerly Facebook) is famously betting big on its Horizon platform, which includes a working environment known as Horizon Workrooms. Nvidia is also promoting its Omniverse collaborative working tool as a Metaverse platform. And Microsoft’s Mesh platform adds avatars and mixed reality capabilities to its Microsoft Teams collaborative working environment, to give users a taste of Metaverse-like functionality. Meanwhile, video conferencing platform Zoom is rolling out persistent functionality, such as meeting rooms and whiteboards, in order to make the leap from providing a simple communication tool to a full, Metaverse-like collaborative working platform.
Whether or not we are ready to start wearing VR headsets in order to work collaboratively and take part in more immersive and engaging virtual meetings, training sessions and sales pitches remains to be seen.
A recent conversation with a Gen Z student intern brought about a reality check, where he was categorical that the Metaverse as a phenomenon and wearables are as cumbersome as they can get, they will have to be commoditised as another way of work, which is a good decade away.
Gen Z are now ageing out of education, entering the workforce and bringing a new outlook on work with them. They’re the least likely generation to stay in a job they’re unhappy with, whether that’s due to lack of aligning values, insufficient salary or being underappreciated. Where quiet quitting was the trend of 2022, Gen Z have taken it to the next level with ‘rage applying’ — channelling their anger at their jobs or bosses into mass applying for other jobs in the hope someone will come up with a better offer. And the word of mouth is pretty unfiltered, so errant employers are likely to be called out.
A World Economic Forum white paper has come up with key scenarios of what the future of work might look like by 2030 to help organisations prepare based on different combinations of technological change, learning evolution and talent mobility. Some of key predictions are workforce autarkies (self-sufficiency), mass movement, robot replacement, polarised world of automation, machines and algorithms doing most of the world’s production and empowered entrepreneurship.
Workplace wellbeing is set to become one of the employers’ main weapons in the increasingly competitive war for talent. Happiness and wellbeing are of great value to employees, although, according to a survey by Indeed, only 49 per cent say their employers are measuring them.
Whether it’s the “well” we operate in, closed to infinite exposures outside or the perception of being “well” as a mental makeup in the corporate world, people practices have become more granular. Add the heady mix of DEI, ESG goals and employee right forums, tomorrow is a path strewn with both opportunities and survival for employers.
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