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The pandemic accelerated our virtual world of work. For many, in-person gatherings turned into video call-only meetings overnight. Tools and platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Workplace from Facebook became mission-critical to collaborating with teammates and getting work done.
Now, some companies like Meta (née Facebook) and Microsoft plan to create the platforms and tools for organizations to operate in a virtual workspace—for employees to go beyond two-dimensional Zoom calls and interact with colleagues in three-dimensions via an avatar in a virtual environment.
A virtual workspace is an online environment where employees communicate, collaborate, and/or work. Many are already familiar with two-dimensional virtual workspaces thanks to remote work. If not, think platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams.
While three-dimensional virtual workspaces are less common, some companies are aiming to make them the next wave of how we work. What’s the difference? Instead of seeing coworkers on a video-call grid, employees in a three-dimensional workspace would join them (with an avatar) in a virtual office.
Meta/Facebook is not the only gig in town. A number of companies have already made waves (i.e., investments) in building the metaverse. Gaming platform Roblox has shared its vision for a place where “people can come together within millions of 3D experiences to learn, work, play, create and socialize.”
Meanwhile, Epic Games (the company behind Fortnite) has raised $1 billion from investors to help with its plans for building the metaverse. Companies like Microsoft and chipmaker Nvidia have also expressed intent to build the metaverse.
Diversifying the tools your organization uses in a virtual workspace would help mitigate a problem like this from happening again. But there are other implications for a virtual world of work—especially with Facebook at the helm.
Facebook trying to lead the way into a virtual world could require even more personal data and offer greater potential for abuse and misinformation when it hasn’t fixed those problems in its current platforms.
"It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver." - Gandhi
Metaverse: A Primer
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