Metaverse: Office of the Future (default)

The world of work is constantly changing, but from time to time a defining moment happens that changes things forever: the Industrial Revolution. Railways. The Car. desktop computer. Internet. The next step: Hybrid work?

The transformation of the office began with the digital revolution and the introduction of personal computers in the 1970s. But only in recent years has the transition toward hybrid work accelerated thanks to technological advances and the epidemic. Hybrid work is here to stay: no matter if it’s a home office, classic office, or co-working spaces.

At a time when virtual and digital work platforms are becoming increasingly important, we have to ask ourselves what exactly the future of work will look like and what role will technology solutions and physical offices play in the future. How will we be able to successfully bridge the gap between the virtual and real workplace and metaverses in the future?

The office as a digital place

Today’s office is no longer a static physical place – it has turned into a digital building. The data is no longer stored on the site, but is in clouds around the world. Employees can choose between different workplaces and formats: Hybrid work allows employees to work from home and from flexible workplaces, i.e. completely independent of the location. So the office as a place of communication has become more and more important: in addition to the equipment and office design, the reason why people come to the office plays a major role. The office evolves into a place for collaboration, social exchange and creative creativity. For example, meetings can be held in open spaces – using digital whiteboards, open seating and tables with adjustable height. This promotes creative exchange in groups or during brainstorming sessions. The trend is towards collaborative areas in which virtual reality goggles open the door to the metaverse of the future.

But the pandemic has also accelerated change: the attitude of many employees to their working conditions has changed dramatically. Hybrid work has gone from being a “fun” to a “must”. In a recent study, more than 70% of applicants stated that they now insist on flexible work policies. For companies to remain attractive to new talent, there is no way around mixed business models. A company based in Bavaria can hire an employee who lives in Berlin for a job that previously required them to move to Munich. In a mixed world, he can easily check in via Zoom from a co-working location or from home and visit the headquarters in Munich two or three times a year. This is not only an advantage for employees, who no longer have to choose between their dream job and their beloved homeland. This opens up a much larger pool of talent for companies that they can attract for themselves and their business.

Virtual Offices – The Next Step: Metaverse?

Technology continues to be a driver of this change: Specialized technologies are emerging to help organizations meet the challenges of a distributed workforce. The essential provision of a reliable digital infrastructure to all employees has become a norm over the past two years – both at home and in the office. In addition to the necessary hardware, modern companies now give their employees access to digital communication and collaboration tools.

Innovative startups are currently testing possibilities to connect a virtual workforce to an on-site workforce. For example, office space could be converted into enhanced shared workplaces in the near future. With the help of virtual reality devices, employees appear in a virtual space and thus can interact with each other. Employees already work together in spatial project rooms by installing dynamic content on virtual walls and creating a common area for collaboration. Other solutions provide the ability for virtual check-ins and status updates to help teams perform their jobs more effectively. It is not far from the default image of the hologram.

The “Metaverse” currently being discussed is the next step that will change the nature of the classic office model: a peek into the future that shows that working in front of screens will not be the norm, but rather interacting in an alternate world using virtual reality headsets and augmented reality glasses. This means that video conferencing will be a completely different experience as our avatars meet as 3D images in whatever virtual environment we see fit – remote work will become more focused. Given the widespread expansion of 5G as a driver of development, this scenario is no longer as far into the future as one might think.

Future Office – a place for social exchange

In short, it can be said that we are only at the beginning of a radical change. Fifty years ago, typewriters and fax machines were the norm in offices – fifty years from now, perhaps the Metaverse will be the norm for collaboration. What hasn’t changed over the years: the office’s role as a place of social exchange. Studies have shown that many remote workers miss spontaneous interactions with their colleagues. This applies not only to private issues, but also to work on joint projects. In an increasingly digital world of collaboration, the office is increasingly becoming the focal point of exchanges between people. In the future, the office will be a place of creative exchange, a sense of belonging to a company and a platform to enter the global world of work via digital technologies. So companies that rely on flexible work solutions today are well on their way to being able to respond quickly to changes in the world of work in the future.

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