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As the number of predictions for the metaverse grow, there is one unifying sentiment: Enterprises will need to be ready for the coming adjustments of work when it comes to utilizing the digital platform. Gartner, as part of a study, forecasts that in four years time, one-in-four people will spend an hour or more in the metaverse on a daily basis.

“Vendors are already building ways for users to replicate their lives in digital worlds,” said Marty Resnick, research vice president at Gartner. “From attending virtual classrooms to buying digital land and constructing virtual homes, these activities are currently being conducted in separate environments. Eventually, they will take place in a single environment, the metaverse, with multiple destinations across technologies and experiences.”

Working in collaborative spaces

A large part of this time spent within the metaverse will be for a variety of reasons, ranging from collaborating with colleagues to get work completed to using it for leisurely activities such as

shopping and gaming. Gartner adds that in this new digital space, enterprises should be able to provide a better level of engagement, collaboration and connection to their employees through immersive workspaces within virtual offices.

Resnick says that businesses can begin preparing their workforce to be comfortable using these immersive technologies by recommending employees start getting acquainted with using virtual reality headsets and accessing these digital spaces. If an enterprise starts getting its workforce prepared to utilize virtual spaces now, it will lead to lower adjustment periods once virtual workspaces become more available.

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“A big part of the metaverse is going to be feeling comfortable with this new user experience. Whether it’s for work, being social or even training, users that feel more comfortable in the metaverse will be better prepared and able to exploit all it has to offer,” Resnick said. “So assuming a large part of the metaverse will be in virtual reality (VR), I often encourage organizations to provide some of their employees with a VR headset and let them play a game that’s easy to understand and enjoyable for all ages. That way they get over the fear of having a negative experience or feeling lost in this new environment. When it comes to testing the metaverse for a work meeting or event, the attendees feel confident and aren’t spending the first 20 minutes just getting used to this new environment.”

On the business side of things, it is important for companies to acknowledge and be open with their employees on the challenges and obstacles these workers may run into, by setting goals and measuring those outcomes while mitigating the amount of busy work employees typically deal with. One specific example of this may be companies employing conversational AI to assist as customer service representatives that are easily accessible and available all the time.

Preparing for business in the metaverse

Outside of the adjustments needing to be made by employees to work in a collaborative, digital space, it is also important that businesses do their part in making sure to expand their models to both assist their workforce while also making sure the companies are not going all in on one specific metaverse. While the adoption of metaverse technologies will be a slow one for many enterprises, it is still too early to say which version will be the most popular and profitable.

SEE: Metaverse cheat sheet: Everything you need to know (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Gartner also predicts that as a part of this shared space, the metaverse will have its own virtual economy, primarily dominated by digital currency such as cryptocurrencies and nonfungible tokens (NFTs).

“Enterprises will have the ability to expand and enhance their business models in unprecedented ways by moving from a digital business to a metaverse business,” Resnick said. “By 2026, 30% of the organizations in the world will have products and services ready for metaverse.”

While it is still very early for the metaverse, it is important that enterprises begin focusing on the expansion into this digital realm, as it may be more profitable long-term to both get the workforce ready to use these features and prepare for the ways consumers will spend currency in the virtual space.

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