Meta has long been on the rise when it comes to virtual reality, and its latest report shows businesses need to be, too, to stay competitive.
Nearly a third of the workforce in the US and UK works remotely, so businesses need to redefine their approach to community and inclusion and explore innovations like the metaverse and virtual reality, according to a new report from Meta on the future of work.
“Over time, this will push companies to seek more creative and innovative ways to interact with their increasingly distributed, hybrid teams to provide themselves with the immersive and immersive experiences they expect,” the report said.
For this research, Meta said it interviewed 2,000 employees and 400 business leaders in the UK and US to gather data on the changes they expect to see and how they are preparing. The company also said it’s asking experts inside and outside Meta to get the future direction of the business and the changes they expect in the coming years.
Budgeting for VR and AR
One of the main findings is that as remote and hybrid working becomes more common, businesses will start investing in VR headsets rather than laptop upgrades in response to employee demand. According to the report, nearly 74% of business leaders spent last year investing some of their technology budgets in augmented reality and VR technology, or the metaverse.
Use cases for VR technology include metadata storage
Some use cases for VR technology could include human resources teams that “host more engaging onboarding and training sessions,” as well as creative teams that can work together on physical concepts or designs wherever they are, the report said.
According to the report, another opportunity to develop more virtual collaboration will be digital engagement through the metaverse, as it is “a platform that enables new types of collaboration and communication”.
SEE: Metaverse cheat sheet: Everything you need to know (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
The report also suggests that businesses that don’t currently consider the metaverse will begin to lag behind the competition, noting that 70% of business leaders are “willing to unleash” the benefits of the metaverse.
Meta believes the metastore should be designed to work on 2D and 3D surfaces and be interoperable across devices.
Cross-vendor collaboration will provide immersive, interoperable experiences
The report also revealed that there is increasing momentum for traditionally competitive brands to work together to create seamless, best-in-class experiences for employees to meet the growing need for immersive, interoperable services.
“To create the extraordinary employee experience of the future, the next segment of the internet will require new levels of interoperability to deepen collaboration between the tools and systems that business uses,” the report says.
With cross-provider collaboration, businesses will no longer have to rely on the myriad points system as in all other iterations of the internet, the report said. “If realized, this vision will provide endless productivity and collaboration benefits, as their digital ecosystem works seamlessly across platforms.”
Emerging technologies can benefit hiring and retention
Metaverse will also help facilitate deeper levels of inclusion. Businesses will be able to empower a diverse mix of employees to interact in their own way in the same digital environments, wherever they are – that’s what 62% of employees want, the report said.
“The organizations that will thrive in this new paradigm will be those that can see a fairer future already imminent, because they will be the ones that attract the best talent,” the report said.
In fact, 65% of employees said they are more likely to stay in their jobs if their company provides access to VR/AR technology, according to the report.
“So businesses that act early to integrate these tools into their operations will have an advantage in recruiting and retaining great employees,” the report said.
How can employees benefit from VR technology?
Using technology will create better opportunities for employees and reduce the daily frustrations of working remotely, according to Meta. For example, only 19% of employees currently responding said that video helped them feel more present in meetings, and 15% agreed that it led to greater collaboration with colleagues.
SEE: Metadata storage best uses for business (TechRepublic)
According to the report, 60% of employees already want VR headsets to be brought to their workplaces within the next two years, and 62% want to experience VR spaces with digital avatars for collaboration.
In addition, the Meta report revealed that 54% of respondents believe that organizations that create a virtual presence can create a sense of belonging in an increasingly hybrid business world. 53% said that improving work-life balance for employees would reduce presenteeism.
How to start applying this emerging technology research today?
The report made some recommendations for businesses to begin their journey into the new business world. For starters, leaders are advised to “fully embrace employee flexibility” and no longer follow the traditional five-day, nine-to-five workweek.
Businesses must also expand the scope of communication technology beyond video calling and provide employees with new tools to explore digital experiences in more immersive and engaging ways.
Finally, the Meta report recommends businesses “challenge your business’ traditional approaches to inclusion.” Be open to new ways in which technology can expand the possibilities of a truly inclusive digital experience that positively impacts everyone.”
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