The term metaverse was originally coined in 1991 by science fiction author Neal Stephenson in his novel Snow Crash. In it, he describes the Metaverse as a kind of global virtual reality in which people walk around as avatars. The whole thing is somewhat reminiscent of today’s massively multiplayer online role-playing games. Except there’s no game, no high score, and no set goal. The Metaverse should be seen as much more than a compelling vision that could revolutionize our everyday lives in the long term.
Meanwhile, the metaverse has taken on many different meanings. Basically, it can be understood as a virtual reality or an augmented, digital world. At the same time, the Metaverse is not just a pure gaming world, but rather a place where people can work, learn, store and interact with each other.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are forced to work from home. This circumstance could lead to the metaverse playing an even greater role in the future. After all, why should we continue to stay in spatially limited offices when we can also do our work from anywhere in the world? Some companies, such as the Japanese IT company Fujitsu, have already recognized the benefits the Metaverse offers for the working world. Fujitsu plans to locate a majority of its employees in a digital office by 2025. This is to be created on the “World without Walls” platform, which was developed by the company itself.
Other corporations have already followed this trend and are increasingly relying on virtual offices and meetings. For example, Microsoft recently announced that it will hold all internal meetings in its in-house VR platform “AltspaceVR” from now on. Google and Facebook are also planning similar steps and are investing more in the development of corresponding technologies. The reason for this trend is simple: people are becoming increasingly mobile and flexible. As the world becomes increasingly connected, they are able to work from anywhere. However, this also means that classic offices are becoming less and less important. But even if traditional offices are becoming less and less important, they are far from obsolete. Because especially in times of globalization and the increasing interconnectedness of the world, it is important for companies to have a physical location where employees and customers can meet and exchange ideas. Furthermore, offices also enable people to work together on projects and inspire each other.
Nevertheless, it is undisputed that the future of work will lie in more and more virtual offices. Because the benefits of this new way of working are simply too great: virtual offices allow people to work from anywhere and thus better manage their work-life balance. They are also more cost-effective and ecological than traditional offices, as they do not require large spaces and thus produce fewer CO2 emissions. So for companies, switching to virtual offices makes both economic and environmental sense.
But there is another, much more important reason for the change: The world of work is in a constant state of flux – and companies must adapt to this change in order to be successful. So it’s important for companies to switch to virtual offices to stay competitive. But the transition is often fraught with challenges. For one thing, employees need to get used to the new work environment and learn to work from anywhere. Second, companies need to build their infrastructure so that communication and collaboration work smoothly even in a virtual environment.
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