There’s a bit of an open secret in the tech world, and it has to do with how companies develop the next big thing. When enterprise-level companies are looking for progressive technology to power their market objectives, they often look to the technology young people are using for fun.
This technique of grabbing inspiration from already energized sources isn’t new. Think about how often you use Slack. There was a time—ancient history in the tech world, but not really that far back—when messaging technology was considered faddish; goofy, almost. Why would you use this lightweight platform when you have email or (gasp!) phone calls?
Well, today, we know that goofy can be good. Human interactions run the gamut. But we also know that communication technologies like Slack can be ultimately pretty serious. Work gets done across channels, and independent working relationships form across direct messages. Knowledge shares and trust building happen in this so-called lightweight platform.
When we extrapolate this theory into the future, we find a clear example of where interactivity is at its richest. Into gaming? Doesn’t matter. Millions of people are, and their interest—or obsession, in some cases—is paving the way for what’s next.
The connections made possible in these gaming platforms is a result of avatar interaction. By entering virtual worlds as an avatar, or character figure that you can customize to express yourself, you’re able to walk, talk, move, and meet just like you would in the real world (like an office or a college classroom).
For companies on the lookout for what’s ahead, this is where you’d find your clues. And the theory holds: virtual worlds are taking over remote work, education, and events.
Interpersonal connections get super-charged when organizations can design branded spaces, like configurable offices, meeting areas, common spaces for socializing, classrooms, and more. The benefits are catching on:
- For staff: Less commuting and lower personal expenses, like lunch, wardrobe, or pet care
- For students: Easier access to class as part of a vital work-school-life balance
- For organizations: Lower real estate costs as office space demand starts to recede in favor of virtual
But the main value prop for so many companies is seeing how people relate. This is exactly what we’ve learned about prior technologies: the more people feel like they’re part of their own online community, the more engaged they become.
While most successful companies know innovation is a hallmark of growth, there are also ways to repurpose and elevate what’s already working and make it your own. When it comes to virtual offices, that’s exactly what’s happening.