The rapid development of technologies that allow creating the so-called metaverses will soon have an impact not only on the entertainment industry, but also on the labor market. A growing number of experts and consumers believe that the metaverse will change the workplace and the way we work, something that began during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In January, Lenovo conducted a study on how the Metaverse could change the way companies and employees work. Commissioned by Lenovo, YouGov surveyed about 7,500 working adults in the US, UK, Brazil, Singapore, China and Japan. It turned out that almost half of the respondents (44%) would like to work in the metaverse and believe that it can increase productivity. 20% said they didn’t want to work in the metaverse, 21% said they didn’t care, and 15% said they didn’t have an opinion about it yet.
More than half (51%) of those surveyed said that “the speed at which their employers are adopting the Metaverse is an indicator of readiness for changes such as the use of virtual or augmented reality in workflows.”
At the same time, 59% believe that their employers are either not yet aware of the metaverse or are not making enough efforts to introduce such technologies into the workplace.
Those surveyed in China (54%), Brazil (53%), and Singapore (51%) were most optimistic about the use of the Metaverse in the workplace — they believe that their employers already have enough opportunities to implement new technologies. Less than others, such sentiments are shared by those surveyed in the UK (30%) and Japan (18%).
The researchers note that the introduction of metaverse technologies into work processes will only strengthen the fundamental changes in the labor market that began during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the beginning of the year, the American consulting company Bain & Company, in its study on the labor market, said that “the COVID-19 pandemic has become a catalyst for changes that have been long overdue.”
Ken Wong, President of Lenovo Solutions and Services Group, said, “The pandemic has challenged all of us to adapt to new work environments, forcing organizations of all sizes to change at an exponential rate. The Metaverse provides companies not only with new opportunities, but also with new technological challenges, such as the development of their computer networks, their integration with other working devices, more affordable and more flexible IT solutions.”
“More companies will start adopting ‘distributed workspaces,'” Erin McDannald, CEO of Baltimore-based virtual office technology company Environments, told Quartz in mid-February.
Ms. McDannald believes that the metaverse will be the only solution in cases where employees cannot do work in person, as was the case at the height of the pandemic.
“One day we will all realize what we have lost and gained in 2020,” Ms McDannald believes.
Demand for the services of companies developing virtual offices within the metaverse is growing. Microsoft is already planning to integrate its Mesh virtual and augmented reality platform with the Teams online conferencing program, and Meta (formerly Facebook) has created the Horizon Workrooms virtual work service using Oculus virtual reality helmets. The Gather startup, founded in May 2020, has already raised $77 million from investors to develop metaverse technologies, according to Protocol. TeamFlow, founded in January 2021, has raised $50 million from venture investors, and Virbela, a virtual workspace developer founded in 2012, has grown 3.5 times in 2020.
Experts believe that the metaverse is relevant not only for small and medium-sized businesses, but also for large corporations.
In mid-January, it became known that the world’s largest retailer, the American network Walmart, plans to develop its own cryptocurrency, NFT tokens and virtual goods. Back in November, it became known that Nike filed several trademark applications in the United States at once, which will allow the company to sell virtual branded clothing and shoes, the US Patent and Trademark Office received seven applications from Nike that relate to Nike trademarks. Just Do IT, Jordan and Air Jordan and their images. In December, Nike officially announced the purchase of RTFKT, a startup that specializes in the design and creation of virtual reality items.