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Will the Metaverse impact the future of work?

There’s a new topic grabbing the attention of Corporate America leaders: Metaverse. Can you define this ubiquitous term? You’re not alone if you’re confused. 

Between Facebook changing its name to Meta (with lackluster results), and the booming world of NFTs and cryptocurrency, an entirely new digital world is being constructed. 

The term Metaverse conjures a Matrix-esque image of people sitting in rooms wearing headsets and fully immersed in a digital world. That’s not the case, at least for now. But this new digital experience may impact the way companies operate.  

Here are a few of the implications for the future of work, including VR job interviews.  

What is the metaverse?  

Spoiler alert: There is no metaverse, at least not yet. There are several different virtual worlds, like online gaming universes Fortnite and Roblox, that exhibit traits of a metaverse. Fortnite even hosts concerts and has spaces for players to hang out and chat, instead of playing the game. Despite this, it, and other games of the same vein, don’t fully encapsulate what the metaverse is capable of yet.  

Simply defined, a metaverse is any digital environment where a digital avatar you create can interact with other players or users’ digital avatars. As of right now, video games are some of the most complete metaverses, but Facebook and other companies are actively pioneering new technology with professional implications.  

A level up from Zoom 

Virtual meeting tools like Zoom have become a mainstay over the past two years. People are accustomed to seeing our coworkers, family, and friends as 2-D images on our screen. The basic premise of the metaverse is to take this concept and step it up to a 3-D interactive environment that facilitates not just meetings, but also other aspects of everyday life, such as attending sporting events, traveling, and a world of endless other possibilities.                    

One interesting piece of software is Horizon Worlds, a fully immersive VR workspace currently in its beta developed by Facebook.  

While it has been met with poor reviews, and even assault allegations, Horizon Worlds is a platform where companies can schedule ‘in-person” virtual meetings between team members, host presentations, and essentially perform all the functions of humans, but in a digital setting. We’ve all gotten used to, and somewhat fed up with online meetings, and this tech stands to be another logical step for virtual communication and collaboration in the digital work environment that is showing no signs of going anywhere, with workers continuing to demand hybrid and work from home accommodations in their jobs.  

Not to be outdone, Harvard Business Review reported, “Microsoft is positioning its cloud services to be the fabric of the metaverse, using its Mesh platform to enable avatars and immersive spaces to thread into the collaboration environments, such as Teams, over time.”  

In addition to this, Microsoft’s recent acquisition of Bungie, the game development studio responsible for the original Halo games, indicates its intention to invest time, effort, and billions of dollars into the concept to implement it into the daily lives of the users of their software across the globe.  

All the strides being taken by tech giants like Microsoft and Facebook raise questions of what the future of the day to day working life will look like. As companies begin to invest heavily in this technology, they will gain the power to dictate the future of the platform, and leading some to wonder about the freedom of users within the space.  

The new interview 

The metaverse holds endless opportunities to replicate face-to-face activities, and interviews are no exception. The Financial Times conducted an interview with former Deputy Prime Minister of England Nick Clegg fully in the metaverse. Perhaps further down the line, we will see meetings, job interviews, and day-to-day work take place in a digital world that is similar to ours.  

Despite this, there are still some limitations to what the software can do. Key differentiators in interviews, such as body language, eye contact, and other traits which help a hiring manager deduce the viability of a candidate are impossible to observe in the metaverse, and as a result, the technology is currently more of a proof of concept, at least as far as job interviews are concerned  


The widespread implementation of this technology is farther away than it seems. A few key limitations are still in place that are preventing the world as we know it from turning into the matrix, particularly the fact that the hardware is not accessible to all, both from a cost standpoint, as well as an adoption standpoint. VR headsets alone run from $400 for the cheapest commercial hardware and can range up to the tens of thousands for headsets and tech which is specific to various professional applications, such as healthcare and construction.  Until virtual reality headsets become less cost-prohibitive, they will not be common enough to justify the implementation of this technology on a widespread scale.  

Instead of sitting on the sidelines as this new technological innovation happens before our eyes, take this time to inform yourself and your colleagues on the implications the tech can have not just on your company, but on your industry as a whole so that when the shift towards the metaverse begins, you can be prepared.  

Future or failure?  

Between a pandemic, civil unrest, inflation, and recently, potential foreign conflict, it seems as if we need an occasional escape from reality. The metaverse presents a disruptive opportunity to change the working world as we know it. If you said to someone three years ago that we would all be working from home, interacting through our computer screens, they would have called you crazy. So, who knows if three years from now we’ll be back together in person or gathering in the metaverse? Only time will tell.