The Future of Work with Metaverse

It’s somewhat ironic that the once-celebrated liberation from the confines of the office through telecommuting has led to a blurring of our professional and personal lives. We have fought tirelessly to liberate ourselves from the physical workplace, only to bring work back into our homes and blur the lines between our personal space and the […]

It’s somewhat ironic that the once-celebrated liberation from the confines of the office through telecommuting has led to a blurring of our professional and personal lives. We have fought tirelessly to liberate ourselves from the physical workplace, only to bring work back into our homes and blur the lines between our personal space and the professional battlefield. Now, as we stand on the cusp of the next big change, the so-called metaverse awaits us with numerous surprises, allowing us to work and live in virtual realities without ever having to leave our homes.

The future of work is closely intertwined with societal changes and will not be shaped by a single technology alone, but by the interplay of different technologies. From this perspective, the workplace is just one node in a huge network of changes that are reshaping our society. Let’s take a look into the near future, the next 15-20 years, and explore the potential impact of virtual realities on workplaces and offices around the world.

The Metaverse: A new frontier for work and society

Imagine arriving at work with a simple gesture and entering a vibrant virtual office that defies the drab aesthetics of physical workplaces. Here, creativity and collaboration are not restricted by physical boundaries or the limitations of your own body. Instead, you can create environments for any type of team and bring people from all over the world together in spaces limited only by your imagination. In virtual environments, it’s even possible for virtual assistants and bots to be part of your team and you can interact with them as you would with any other team member. This is not just remote working, but a leap into a new dimension of productivity where the term “office” is redefined and the “water cooler” moments that create innovation take place in digital worlds.

Changing work landscapes and income structures

The emergence of the metaverse will not only change the working landscape, but also lead to new income structures by challenging traditional employment relationships. This is leading to a landscape where job roles are changing faster and a significant portion of employment can be considered gig work, augmented by artificial intelligence and bots. In this field, unpredictability is the only certainty, and the gig economy is not just an option, but an essential part of employment for most people worldwide. This change raises fundamental questions: If there are no more national borders and everyone can join in without barriers, what happens to salaries, global borders or countries that are less attractive?

Rethinking working hours

Given the efficiency gains from technologies such as the metaverse, we should rethink the concept of the 40-hour week and explore models for shorter working hours that allow for a better work-life balance. We will also increasingly work internationally, and fixed hours will be replaced by targeted assignments – almost like games where you just turn on, join the room, play, collect your points and then log out.

The labor market of the future

The transition to a metaverse work environment requires a forward-thinking approach to understanding the entire labor market. We will see a dramatic shift in the type of work that is rewarded. We may even see the emergence of two classes of people: those who secure high-paying virtual jobs and those who compete for the few remaining physical jobs as the majority of work shifts to virtual value creation. Our entire social system must evolve, and as a society we must decide whether we want to allow the development of two different worlds – those who remain in physical reality and those who live in virtual reality.

Redistribution of the labor market

Automation and the metaverse are both drivers of opportunity and social division, widening the skills gap and deepening the generational divide. The harsh reality is that older generations and certain gender groups are disproportionately at risk of becoming redundant. This inequality is not only a challenge, but will also impact the workforce as a whole. It is even possible that in one scenario, our productivity is so high that we no longer need physical labor. As mentioned earlier, there could even be a virtual economy where people work in virtual spaces, leaving those who do physical labor behind.

Human labor in the age of automation

With automation and the emergence of virtual entities and artificial intelligence, much of human labor could become “commoditized” and replaceable or turn into low-paying jobs. In recent years, we have seen that time for pay no longer works. It is no longer about the hours worked, but about the value created. This heralds a new era of employment where the unique contribution of each individual is recognized, which has a significant impact on the working environment.

The physical office will have to change

As the metaverse reshapes our work environments, the future of physical offices lies in their ability to provide unique value beyond the confines of traditional workspaces. No longer just places for routine tasks, they must evolve into cultural and collaborative hubs that foster creativity, wellbeing and interpersonal relationships – experiences that virtual environments cannot fully replicate. The office of tomorrow must be a blend of innovation and interaction, integrating advanced technologies for hybrid engagement and focusing on community and wellbeing to reflect the values of today. Ultimately, the physical office

Ultimately, the physical office must transform into a place that employees visit not out of necessity, but for the enriching, irreplaceable experiences it offers, so that it becomes a complementary counterpart to the virtual working landscape. This change can already be observed, as the office becomes more of a “social event space” than a “workplace”.

My personal conclusion

While we marvel at technological innovations such as the recent hype around Apple’s Vision Pro and the slowly emerging Metaverse, it is important to maintain a critical perspective. The ubiquity of smartphones, which take up much of our free time, reminds us how quickly technology can change our lives. Before another profound change, similar to what the business world has experienced with the internet, we must not lose sight of the long-term consequences. It is important to carefully consider the changes in the metaverse, particularly their impact on work, social relationships and identity. We face the challenge of preparing not only technologically, but also for the social upheavals to ensure a balanced future.

Talin Benjamin, a serial entrepreneur since 13, is the founder and CEO of MoreThanDigital. He's a recognized innovator and keynote speaker, advising on digitalization, innovation, and future topics globally. His work spans across government advisory, academia, and the business world. His mission: empowering millions with digital and entrepreneurial skills, reshaping the status quo through technology and knowledge.