Is the Metaverse Suited for Remote Work Yet?

In a new study, 18 people spent a week working in the Metaverse. Two of the participants dropped out within hours, while the rest felt demotivated, frustrated, and tired, according to the researchers.

The Metaverse is usually linked to the entertainment and gaming industries. However, ever since the COVID-19 pandemic started, there has been a growing interest in the Metaverse as a tool for remote work.

Companies are investing billions of dollars in Metaverse technology. Many workers, 8 out of 10, believe that their future work will involve the Metaverse in one way or another. However, a recently conducted study has found that the Metaverse is not yet suited for remote work.

The Metaverse in the Context of Work

During the pandemic, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in remote work. And while some people have taken to it like fish to water, others find the lack of human interaction and face-to-face collaboration challenging.

The question many have had since is how remote work will be able to transcend physical distance and become more integrated? How will we improve social engagement? And of course, how will we make remote work feel more like… well, work?

Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse presentation last year attempted to answer these questions with VR, showing how to utilize the technology for business meetings and even educational purposes.

Zuckerberg explained that they aim to make it so that you can be with anyone you want, anytime you want. That would allow people to collaborate more effectively and be more productive.

A recent Global Culture study revealed that while people are productive on solo work tasks when working remotely, they feel much less productive when it comes to collaboration. The Metaverse seemed like the perfect solution to this problem.

How the Current Metaverse Affects Work

To test how the Metaverse affects work, 16 people were asked to spend a week working in the Metaverse.

Researchers from Coburg University, the University of Cambridge, the University of Primorska, and Microsoft Research tried to simulate as realistic an experience as possible by setting up a virtual office environment in the Metaverse.

The recently released report compares the performance of these people, working on their tasks in a normal environment and a common Metaverse setup, during a regular 40-hour work week. The results? The Metaverse still isn’t there. 

A majority of people expressed negative emotions towards the Metaverse setup with:

  • 50% feeling eye strain
  • 42% experiencing frustration
  • 11% experiencing anxiety

Overall, the subjects reported feeling less productive than they usually do.

The most interesting part of the study is that 2 participants were unable to complete even a single work day in the Metaverse. That happened due to multiple factors, including lack of comfort and migraines.

The Potential of the Metaverse

What does this study mean? Should we collectively pull the plug on working in the Metaverse? No, of course not.

While it’s true that some of us may be overly enthusiastic about the potential of the Metaverse, it’s also important to remember that the technology is still in its early stages. It will take time for the Metaverse to mature and for us to learn how to use it effectively.

Today’s tech may not allow for comfortable or productive work sessions but in 10 years? We might not even recognize the Metaverse just look at what the US military has in mind for the Metaverse.

Closing Thoughts

The Metaverse has the potential to change the way we work, but it’s not there yet. We need to be patient and allow technology to grow and evolve. In the meantime, we can continue to work on improving our remote work setups and learn how to use the Metaverse effectively when it’s ready.

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