The evolution of the Metaverse is poised to be one of the greatest disruptors of the near future. As companies begin to realize its immense potential, we’re likely to see not just more frequent interactions, but more types of interactions take place in extended reality platforms.
At Virbela, the development of immersive spaces, like our private campuses designed for the world’s leading companies, is based on significant research and insights. Organizational psychologists, led by Virbela co-founders Alex Howland, Ph.D., and Sheldon Brown, work with experienced XR designers to solve challenges at a grand scale. Here, we’ll take a look at the insights that are driving the Metaverse’s growth, so that you can learn more about how they may shape your company’s future.
Social Interaction Is Changing
As far as deep insights go, this one may seem obvious, but the way workforces interact has changed radically in recent years. Digital natives have stepped into leadership roles. A pandemic shifted our expectations of work-life balance.
The means and quality of social interaction is crucial to high-functioning companies, though. Group conversations, informal run-ins while moving from place to place, and the ability to get to know a broad variety of people lead to meaningful company growth. It’s especially important that staff can see and interact with leadership in order to create broader inclusivity and encourage achievement across individuals of different backgrounds.
Technology like video conferencing can overcome distance and help form relationships in smaller groups or one on one, but it doesn’t work very well for larger groups.
Plus, video fatigue is real. Even as we get used to days full of video meetings, they can still be draining. This is especially true for those who may be self-conscious on camera or who may wonder if they’re being judged on appearance-related characteristics rather than the merit of their work.
The Metaverse can energize rather than drain. It can help connect large groups of people sharing a common experience, like a kickoff in a boardroom or a big company announcement in an auditorium. When the meetings are over, you can return to your own private office within campus or experience other parts of your company’s space, based on your agenda for the day.
And when the day is over? Virbela users report feeling like they really went somewhere.
Silos Don’t Have to Be an Issue
As more natural social interactions are restored to daily operations, the Metaverse can overcome another threat to remote-first companies: siloing. Silos refer to the isolation of teams or departments. While everyone may be giving their all to their taskwork or brainstorming, it’s a reality that success doesn’t happen in a vacuum.
It’s important to know what’s happening across your company if you want to really make a difference in your everyday work. This can only happen if your company creates access to other initiatives besides the ones you work on yourself. Do you know who’s attending what meetings? Can you talk to different kinds of people at your company without having a formal reason?
In physical offices, these interactions may not always be groundbreaking, but they can lead to bigger things that move the company forward. Many organizations lost the value of this interconnectivity when transitioning to remote work, but the Metaverse can bring it back to life in an organic way that video can’t achieve.
Common areas, space for big meetings or socializing, and scenes inspired by nature or cultural events help staff get to know each other, across any structured hierarchy. While you may not want to flatten your organization entirely, it can be helpful to have relationships across departments, between leadership and staff, and amongst people who may have entirely different backgrounds.
Inspiring Offices Can Drive Innovation
Along with the need for transparency and interaction, one interesting impact of the switch to remote work was just how much it drove the reorganization or creation of home offices. In many ways, this was great. Your staff may have found shopping for home furnishings enjoyable and expressive as long as it wasn’t too economically stressful.
There may have been a surge in productivity as people felt more in control of their environment and could self-direct their schedules more efficiently. In fact, we know that some people became so productive that it came full circle and burnout took hold as the pandemic continued.
One of the takeaways we can apply to the Metaverse is the idea that environmental control, especially in the context of work-life balance, means something to staff. We can also understand that people like pleasing environments and have the potential to do better work when they like where they are. This is one of the driving forces behind why people work in large cities. The job markets may be stronger and possibly more demanding, but they can also come with great scenery, gorgeous offices, interesting artwork, amazing views, and other cultural signifiers.
In the Metaverse, these delighters are entirely possible to create, customize, and scale. In Virbela, we’ve got tons of these secret delights: a beach, a speedboat, a lighthouse tower, a nightclub, a mountain trail with a campfire along the way, a watchtower over a virtual ocean, a lake, subway stations, and more.
The insight is simple: Work can be joyful, and when it is, it can be more effective, too.