According to Renaud Ghia, President of Tixeo, the future of telework is not in the metaverse, for several reasons.
In recent years, the telework has largely perpetuated in companies, as a one-off benefit or a permanent way of working. Companies have transformed at breakneck speed in order to gain flexibility and meet the new expectations of the Frenchwhich today are 56% to work in hybrid mode. Some actors go even further and start talking about a change in working methods collaborative with the metaverse: the Internet of tomorrow where you can move using an avatar in a fully virtualized universe. But this innovation, which some players are considering applications in areas such as culture, e-commerce, or training, would it not be utopian for teleworking?
Why make it simple when you can make it complicated ?
the metaverse allows you to be aware of the workspace and to immerse yourself in a virtual world with your collaborators, while being able to see their avatars and know their activity in real time. Knowing what others are doing at a given time is also a necessary condition for any remote collaboration solution, but this advantage is not only possible in the metaverse, other solutions also offer it and without additional constraints.
Indeed, the metaverse requires to be equipped with a virtual reality headset so that you can interact. Expensive equipment but above all quite heavy for a day’s work, which risks being very problematic for people affected by cyberkinetosis, a physical ailment which manifests itself in the virtual world as motion sickness. According to a survey of the National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety (ANSES) published in June 2021, this phenomenon would affect 30 to 50% of users.
In addition, the impact of the action in this immersive 3D world is much higher than on traditional collaborative tools, even in 2D. In the metaverse, it is much more complex to find a file in a folder since you have to move with your avatar and go to where the modeled object is. Whereas opening a computer window and clicking on what you are looking for would only take a second. Small remote collaboration actions then become large actions that also require a lot of spatial memory.
This immersion in the metaverse complicates collaboration and undermines its effectiveness by adding many constraints. It could be possible for a few minutes a day; but imagining a day or even whole weeks of remote collaboration in this virtual world seems to be counterproductive and disconnected from the social issues that teleworking can generate.
An avatar at the expense of the human
According to a recent study by Future Forum, the number of employees declaring themselves on the verge of burnout rose by 8% between May and August 2022 to reach 40%. In a very tense economic and social context, companies must keep the physical and mental well-being of employees at the center of their concerns and do everything to prevent them from feeling isolated and demotivated. So can we really talk about being human in a totally virtualized world, disconnected from reality and in which we interact with 3D avatars? It is an illusion to believe that the metaverse would make it possible to break the isolation of employees and it would be a mistake to imagine strengthening the cohesion of a team without its employees being able to see and discuss directly.
The French do not seem ready to telecommute in the metaverse. According the barometer multi-screen uses 2022, produced by the research agency Iligo and published in May 2022; for 81% of French people questioned, the metaverse is above all a means of entertainment. So what alternatives to the metaverse for a future of teleworking allowing innovation, productivity and employee well-being at the same time? If virtualizing our work environments at all costs clearly does not appeal to employees, then why not import the virtual into their professional reality? The augmented reality and its many fields of application could then respond effectively to these issues.