I’m going to introduce a way to supercharge your employee engagement — with inexpensive and fun technology.
Organizations are proving they can survive, even thrive, as a largely distributed workforce. In the last few years we’ve leaned heavily on Zoom or Teams for video calls to run meetings. We’ve also explored online whiteboard collaboration tools like Miro and Mural.
However, business owners, brand leaders and human resource folks are still facing organizational challenges. Especially in maintaining a strong culture and sense of connectedness throughout their businesses. Studies show that collaborative work between colleagues suffers when working remotely. In particular, siloed collaboration and acquiring and sharing new information.
Think about a Zoom call for a moment. It is a shared virtual connection between one or many, but is only live for the time the call starts and ends. Now, contrast this with a shared virtual space in the metaverse. That is persistent. Its an always-on company presence. Its available anytime and is a space for any employee or team to step into.
Organizations should consider exploring a virtual headquarters, or a metaverse office. Why? Because it helps unite largely distributed workforces. It addresses staff retention issues and can ease the onboarding of new hires. With a metaverse office, you can expect to better thread your culture when not physically together. You can bring a stronger sense of connectedness to your remote employees.
Unfortunately, many businesses don’t even consider the idea of an office in the metaverse. Mainly because they’re completely unaware or unfamiliar with what the metaverse is. Other reasons include:
They feel they’re operating fine on Zoom, Webex or Teams.
The perception of high cost and technical complexity.
They feel anything metaverse-like is for gamers and the tech elite.
They believe occasional office visits or team meetups are enough.
They think the only way to do this is to wear VR headsets all the time.
They don’t have any team or person on staff who knows this stuff.
All these perceived roadblocks can be overcome. Here’s how, step-by-step:
The only way to learn about the metaverse is to go there yourself or have team members go there and report back. So, empower a team or person in the company to kick the tires on all things metaverse. Rent or purchase a few Meta Quest 2 VR headsets for them. Set them loose with a goal of learning as much as possible. Set some exploration goal posts to drive them. Here’s two:
Ways to help folks feel more connected to the people, the brand and the business
Use cases for your industry, your customers and your products
Check out Spatial and AltspaceVR. These are two of my favorite enterprise-friendly platforms. They both offer easy and customizable virtual spaces. You can setup a virtual headquarters by selecting or customizing a pre-built environment. In Spatial, you can configure portals to link environments together. For example, you can have a lobby with clickable portals to an auditorium, a gallery, or a conference room. Also check out Horizon Workrooms by Meta. This is great for holding meetings in a shared virtual space. You can also collaborate live on a virtual whiteboard. The sense of presence you experience being in a shared virtual space is quite fascinating. The ability to build empathy with those not physically close to you is remarkable.
Once familiar with some platforms, consider which aspects of the business are ideal for testing inside of these spaces. New hire onboard sessions. Weekly status meetings. Project kickoff sessions. Weekly one-on-one meetings. Team gatherings. Start with one of these events and get on the next agenda. Use the first session to do a show and tell on how to use the platform. Get folks comfortable by just sharing your screen on Zoom or Teams initially. Have them watch your demo of your chosen virtual space. Then let folks join directly themselves. Spatial is a one-click, nothing to download platform. So drop the direct link to the space you’ve created in the meeting chat and have everyone join the space.
As you test and learn by experimenting with different platforms and processes, make sure to keep your company updated. You can think of the metaverse a new channel. You’ll need a tribe of metaverse makers from all parts of the business to ride the journey with you. As you explore together, you’ll find those sweets spots that make sense for your business.
So, you’ve got employees comfortable with virtual spaces for connecting with each other. Now look for ways to bring on some of your specific product or services into these spaces. For example, the metaverse is ideal for simulating new products or services prior to public release. You can bring in 3D models and digital twins of new products or brand artifacts. Your partners, stakeholders and customers can experience these in an immersive way. Instead of viewing images on a website or watching a video, they can step inside your space and move around these objects. Its critical for businesses to be thinking in this format, I’ve written about that here: Thinking in 3D terms will secure a brand’s future.
Seven of the largest companies on earth are committing billions to the metaverse. One of them even changed their name to reflect it. PWC reports that of 1000 US executives 66% report their companies are actively engaged in the metaverse. 82% of them expect metaverse plans to be part of their business within 3 years. Much like the emergence of the internet in the 90s, we cannot ignore these signals. The metaverse is far from here. Experimenting and adopting now can make sure you don’t get left behind. It is an ideal time to help maximize employee engagement and internal operational efficiencies.
I’m here to help businesses take first steps. That includes how to supercharge distributed teams. Also for developing clear and viable approaches to the metaverse. My ‘Metaverse for Business’ course will guide you through the fundamentals of business in the metaverse. Its a live, hands-on course for brand leaders, strategists, creatives and business owners to upskill themselves and their teams.
Metaverse for Business course
In the course, you’ll take some industry and business use case deep dives and gain first-hand experience in virtual spaces. Reserve your seat now: https://metaverse.johnduffield.xyz/
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