Shaping the future of work
Leading companies will need to commit to creating high-performing, high-belonging and high wellbeing organizations — which is why it’s time for leaders to get ahead of the curve and begin proactively taking a role in shaping the metaverse workplace of the future.
The most constructive way to tackle change is by starting a conversation around what the metaverse workplace should look like — and why — especially when it comes to addressing the shortfalls of the workplaces of the present and past.
Business leaders can start by exploring the categories and questions below. These are not the only questions that should be asked, but they can inspire others to bring many perspectives to this complex topic. With any new technological trend, there will be a learning curve around how to develop practical business applications. If business leaders want to assess and develop those opportunities, and potential threads, they’ll need a multitude of perspectives and thoughts to these questions and beyond.
Humanity over technology
What are the opportunities and challenges for creating the metaverse?
Technology can improve human flourishing if it is used correctly and intentionally. Transitioning to a new medium has the power to transform the way we work. We propose establishing guiding design principles for a just and human metaverse. These principles will provide the guides and guardrails for a metaverse that helps people live and work at their best.
How will we verify that the development of the metaverse is “human first”?
The development of the internet was driven by a business model of attention. All stakeholders should have an opportunity to shape the metaverse in a way that delivers the most benefits to humanity, rather than just companies who had early-mover advantage. Many companies have already taken this step within the context of artificial intelligence and algorithm technologies, committing to AI principles to ensure fairness and non-discrimination.
What can we learn from those who have already imagined this?
The metaverse has existed in fiction for years. Business leaders can learn from those who dreamed of a future filled with virtual and augmented reality. What are the big opportunities — and the pitfalls — they should consider?
Innovation over imitation
How do we reimagine collaboration?
It is our shared belief that whoever designs “places” in the metaverse where people thrive is going to win. The designers of those places have the opportunity to do things that couldn’t happen in a physical space. Rather than re-creating existing structures and power dynamics, business leaders should explore the ways in which the metaverse can spur collaboration and partnerships that weren’t possible before.
What is the role of the office?
In a virtual world, what role does the office play? The shift to hybrid work offers lessons in what people want out of the office — and what they’d like to see changed. How can business leaders rethink the “office” in ways that both deliver productivity and spur collaboration?
How do we leverage AI?
As we lean into the technology that will power the metaverse, business leaders will also need to consider how AI can play a role in enhancing, or impeding, a human experience, being mindful of algorithms that could cause bias and inequality.
Belonging over transactions
How do we create belonging and inclusion in the metaverse?
The metaverse represents an opportunity to bridge the digital divide. Business leaders can dramatically accelerate DEI efforts if they’re intentional about celebrating identity and creating belonging. This will require emphasizing empathy, a critical workplace skill, in the design and operation of the metaverse.
How do we develop trust?
Privacy and issues of fraud and safety remain paramount in our current online world. Fears of being spied on or how anonymity can be abused abound. Business leaders need to develop systems to address these concerns and protect employees and consumers alike.
What does leadership look like in the metaverse?
Research already shows us that leaders who embrace a clear purpose, are authentic, and who see themselves as servants to their people outperform on every metric from employee engagement to bottom line revenue. New research is needed to understand how these practices translate to the metaverse and how leaders need to evolve to continue bringing out the best in their people.