In this episode of “LDS On,” CEO Mimi Brooks addresses how the ongoing pandemic has massively increased the mix of work performed remotely, which has in turn has created immense opportunities for companies to build advanced digital workspaces for improved collaboration and productivity.
Welcome to the 14th video in a series of LDS thought-leadership dedicated to the discussion of transformation management.
In each video, we address a topic of strategic interest to business leaders who are guiding their organizations through transformative change.
While the ongoing pandemic has massively increased the mix of work performed remotely, this in turn has created immense opportunities for companies to build advanced digital workspaces for improved collaboration and productivity. What we are seeing today is the convergence of two ideas that have been around for many years: extended reality and a digitally-enhanced mobile existence. This confluence is being described as the fourth wave of computing, following mainframe computers, personal computing and mobile computing. So, this is LDS On Mobile in the Metaverse of Work. Let’s get started.
We’ve come a long way since the science fiction writer Neal Stephenson coined the term metaverse in 1992, so let’s first define what we mean by this in the context of the emerging workplace:
- It embraces the use of Extended Reality or XR, including VR, AR and MR
- It facilitates remote work through virtual offices and powerful mobile apps
- It promotes the digital economy via the ability to create, buy and sell goods
- It permits the creation of virtual persona for collaborative purposes.
The proliferation of remote work during the pandemic demands mobile solutions, and in early 2022, we are seeing the emergence of virtual office software via mobile apps that go a step beyond ‘proto metaverse’ tools like Slack™ and feature project rooms with privacy and collaboration tools built in. In other words, a mobile version of the virtual office.
These virtual offices give everyone a shared space and solve the problem of collaboration and productivity tools scattered across the departments.
Bill Gates recently said that: “Within the next two or three years, I predict most virtual meetings will move from two-dimensional camera image grids …to the metaverse, a 3D space with digital avatars.”
Along these lines, in late 2021, Microsoft released Mesh, a gateway to the Metaverse, that allows people in different physical locations to join collaborative and shared holographic experiences, with the productivity tools of Microsoft Teams, where people can join virtual meetings, send chats, collaborate on shared documents, and more.
At the same time as the emergence of the Metaverse in the world of business, mobile is increasingly being used to deliver the experience of the digital workplace to what has recently become a distributed workplace of remote, in-office and hybrid employees. As the Wall Street Journal recently espoused: “The rise and evolution of the mobile workplace has been a long time coming, and in the COVID-era it is now moving at warp speed.”
Rapidly improving digital work technologies will only increase the number of people who could work at home without losing productivity. Enhanced by mobile, these technologies could increase productivity to a point where many people would be more productive working in a digital environment than a physical one.
Workers of the future will be increasingly mobile, which means they will need communication assets that are just as versatile. Think of mobile in the metaverse of work as being multimodal, incorporating tools like Group Video Chat and Live Broadcasts to create more meaningful and immersive communications. Workers now need multiple mobile facilities to get things done, and these need to be integrated, not stand alone. Feeling connected and part of the company culture is crucial, and mobile collaboration technologies like Workplace™ are designed to encompass all of these features.
As we all know, today, mobile is being used to deliver important health, safety and work-related information directly to employees wherever they are located. Workplace apps are in place that allow the most urgent messages to be sent with alerts, push notifications and text messages and serve as a one-stop repository for company policies. This has transformed the workplace into a digital workplace experience and paved the way for arrival of the metaverse.
It is also predicted that the convergence of the metaverse with mobile digital platforms, crypto currencies, data analytics and decentralised and open applications will see a new incarnation of the Internet that means leaders need to prepare for new job roles that do not currently exist, such as Metaverse Ecosystem Architects, with knowledge of technologies such as blockchain, AI, computer vision, data analytics, quantum computing and high-speed networks.
In this emerging work environment, hybrid working will no longer be about the home-workplace split but about achieving equilibrium between the virtual and the physical world. It is not hard to imagine that HR will need to develop new hybrid working policies to ensure healthy metaverse working practices.
In summary, we are seeing the tip of an emerging metaverse work experience fuse with mobile life as employers across the world continue to adapt to conditions brought about by the ongoing pandemic. A rapid and unexpected remote distribution of the workforce has meant we must remain connected, cohesive and productive under seemingly implausible realities.
In a mobile-first world, employees expect to manage their work-life in the same fashion that they manage daily life. While the metaverse promises to be a powerful creative canvas that enables organizations to create exciting new ways of working and collaboration, despite what we think the workplace experience of the future will be, there’s far more that we have yet to discover. In this regard, both resilience and adaptation are key to successfully navigating the emerging future of work.
Logical Design Solutions (LDS) is a digital strategy and design consultancy to global enterprises. We create experiences that transform business and help people work successfully in the new digital organization. Clients come to LDS because of our reputation for intellectual rigor, our foundation in visionary experience strategy, and our commitment to enabling digital transformation inside the enterprise. Learn More about how LDS has dramatically improved the way that some of the largest corporations in the world do business.