As technology advances, blurring the line between the physical and digital world, the metaverse – VR (“Virtual Reality,”- an experience where people can meet and interact like in “real life”) may alter how business is conducted. We dive into how the metaverse may change how and where we work.
Read to find out:
- What is the metaverse?
- What sort of opportunities lay within the metaverse?
- Do we need the metaverse in our work?
- What is a metaverse office?
- What role is the metaverse playing in Commercial Real Estate?
- Should you invest in a metaverse office?
- Expert forecasts on the metaverse
What is the metaverse?
The “metaverse” is an umbrella term for a virtual environment or “world” that facilitates various user interactions using augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and blockchain. Far from a short-lived fad, experts predict that the idea and technology behind it is more than another new online trend. Many call it the next generation of the internet – a safer, more decentralized Web 3.0.
What opportunities lay within the metaverse?
The vision of the metaverse is to move us beyond the flat, 2D internet experience and into an immersive virtual reality. Users will be able to “step into” the metaverse via a personalized avatar and do a variety of activities, e.g., work, learn, shop, collect digital art and collectibles (NFTs), and attend events (product launches, fashion shows, or music festivals), tour, and more.
Augmented reality (AR) will be facilitated by technologies such as VR (virtual reality), XR (extended reality), and MR (mixed reality), integrating digital information into the user’s physical environment in real-time. An experience we may be familiar with from the likes of Snapchat filters or the interactive game “Pokemon Go”.
Do we need the metaverse in our work?
With employees working from dispersed locations (home offices, company satellite offices, hub and spoke offices), it became evident that video calls and chats were going to become the best alternative to in-person contact, especially in light of restrictions and lockdowns. As far as this solution served its purpose of bridging the gap, at the same time, for many it became apparent that video thumbnail online call settings were not the optimal environment for long-term collaboration and engagement. Little in-person interaction, and feelings of isolation, became a challenge for employees who struggled without the dynamic face-to-face communication.
A virtual, metaverse office room mimics a physical meeting setting, letting attendees interact as they would in real life. No need to exchange meeting links for various platforms. Users can simply “walk up” and chat with their colleagues. With further developments in VR or AR headsets, the avatars will even be able to accurately reflect individuals’ body language. In contrast to thumbnails and video calls, communicating in this immersive way promises to boost engagement and productivity. This is particularly useful for training, onboarding, staff parties, or even during business meetings with clients, partners, or product launches.
What is a metaverse office?
Decentralized and remote companies can entirely rely on a metaverse office as their virtual location, while companies with a physical office can incorporate such a workspace solution as an addition. Businesses can choose between platforms specifically designed to support the structure of office work (such as Microsoft’s “Mesh” or Meta’s “Horizon Worlds”) or opt for an option that involves creating a fully custom-made metaverse “workspace” from scratch within a particular functioning metaverse.
Productivity and collaboration are boosted when employees can brainstorm, interact, and communicate naturally; this is exactly what the metaverse aims to facilitate. But the benefits stretch further beyond just work itself. Casual social interactions with work colleagues will become more natural thanks to customized avatars, bringing the impromptu water-cooler conversation to a new digital level. The metaverse is a solution that will help create a level playing field, eliminating proximity bias between employees working from the office and those joining in remotely.
Commercial Real Estate in the metaverse
The metaverse offers opportunities to countless industries. In the case of the commercial real estate industry, augmented reality promises twofold opportunities. On one side, companies can buy unique parcels of land in the metaverse, building up their Real Estate Portfolio just as it is done in the physical world.
Others can use this technology to elevate their current services by presenting digital walk-in tours, and visualizations of estates or buildings to their clients. This means distance is no longer an issue. Company decision-makers would be able to “walk through” a digital twin of an office, assessing all aspects of their potential new space, including visualizing the fit-out, furniture, and possible workspace arrangements.
The technology will allow architects, construction firms, and other professionals to work on virtual models and stakeholders and clients to design and manage the construction process.
To look at the examples of other industries, automobile manufacturer BMW built a metaverse version of its entire factory (including physical assets, systems, and processes). It can be expected that numerous manufacturing and engineering companies will follow in the company’s footsteps. Law Firms and major Banks such as J.P. Morgan also reported opening offices in the metaverse and making plans to explore new possibilities of operating their services there.
Should you rent an office in the metaverse?
The question remains, should you rent an office in the metaverse?
The answers, as subjective and complex as it is – depending on your business type, industry, company goals, and future plans – could be a “Yes, if….”. What does this mean?
It means you should certainly consider a metaverse office for rent if…
- You operate your business across various locations and want to create one uniform workspace platform for all your employees to gather into – as would be the case with a physical office. It’s a great place for staff meetings, onboarding, training, and more.
- You want your company to remain at the forefront of cutting-edge technology. For businesses with a forward-thinking approach and particular interest in engaging millennials and Gen X customers or employees with their products and technologies, the metaverse office is an opportunity not to be missed.
- Your clients are in the metaverse. Of course, for businesses who have identified a significant clientele presence in the metaverse, renting or buying an office there means gaining the advantage of being in the epicenter of where it all happens.
- You are in the event industry or frequently organize product launches or happenings for clients and partners. There is no better way to provide your guests with an unforgettable and immersive experience than to switch your webinar or video-conference events for a virtual yet, in-person alternative.
Expert forecasts on the metaverse
- According to “New Market Research” report published by Global Market Estimates, the global metaverse market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 45.5% between 2022 and 2027
- KPMG gathered the opinions of 15 leading global voices from the field of Extended Reality (XR), putting the increasing interest in metaverse into perspective. According to them, already by 2023 many board meetings will occur in the metaverse. What’s more, people are predicted to spend more physical conscious time in the metaverse than in the real world – applying for jobs, earning a living, shopping, meeting friends, and even getting married in the metaverse
- Gartner, a technological research and consulting firm, speculates that up to a quarter of consumers will spend one hour per day in the metaverse by 2026. Bill Gates, on the other hand, forecasts that all business meetings could be moved to a 3D world where each individual is represented by an avatar in as soon as 2-3 years
The metaverse is great but…
As companies look to create the most advanced versions of their metaverse offices, it is important to ensure that their real-life locations also provide a suitable environment for employees. The real-world experience and environment of your company office should not be disregarded, as the right workspace can bring you a range of benefits – from attracting the right talent to ensuring productivity and strengthening your brand image, and more.
What office will be best for your company? In the case of Google, a Collaboration Hub helps them increase employee engagement and boost innovation. A Hub-and-Spoke office allows firms to manage office space better while catering to the needs of their employees. A Hybrid office, which was adopted by companies such as Spotify and Microsoft, can increase flexibility while lowering costs.
While for some, a serviced office will best answer their needs, for others, a traditional office will be the right investment. What matters is that your workspace helps your business grow!
Rent office with ShareSpace
Are you in the process of finding the right office space for rent for your company?
Whether you are looking for a small start-up-style office, a premium space to accommodate a large firm or anything in between, you can use ShareSpace’s powerful Search Tool for an easy 5-step office search. As the world’s first end-to-end marketplace, at ShareSpace, we empower landlords and clients to communicate directly, negotiate and transact office space using our convenient tools – from an all-in-one communication dashboard to a safe, blockchain-based online signature.
Have more questions or need help finding your new office space? Contact us, and our Advisors will be happy to assist you and create a free office space comparison, so you can make the most informed choice about your new workplace.