Why team meetings in the metaverse aren’t (necessarily) a bad idea

The partnership between Microsoft and Meta promises to democratize virtual reality and metaverses. For the professional world, this technological boom can be synonymous with progress, above all for employees.

Meetings, many go there dragging their feet. So, in the metaverse… However, the tech giants are determined to democratize professional dating by intervening avatars.

Last week, Facebook announced a partnership with Microsoft to allow Teams meetings to be held in Mark Zuckerberg’s metaverse. Even the head of Facebook caught up with this virtual world that now boasts of professionals.

So who sets up management committees with a virtual reality headset?

At first glance, not many people. However, HR professionals seem quite enthusiastic about the idea.

Ditch the classic codes

Teams and spouses (Zoom, WhatsApp, etc.) have already paved the way and made working conditions more flexible by promoting remote work.

“For businesses, it’s a tool where people can come together in one place,” explains Caroline Diard, professor and researcher in human resource management at ESC Amiens. It also drives interest for professionals in a connection from a multitude of devices: a computer, a smartphone or a tablet.

“With this tool, the gift of ubiquity becomes a reality,” begins Caroline Diard.

But what more can Virtual Reality Teams meetings bring to the metaverse? Unlike traditional video conferencing, the issue is at the level of employee representation. Through an avatar, issues of shyness, mirror image or dress code should no longer be.

Similarly, during a Teams job interview in virtual reality, candidates have no age, no color, no gender. “In a virtual world, everyone is beautiful,” jokes Caroline Diard, who highlights the possible end of discrimination.

“Represented in avatars, people will be judged only by their competences, not by their physical appearance,” notes the teacher-researcher.

However, obstacles still need to be overcome to democratize dating in the metaverse. Why so much ridicule? Above all from “the transposition of the world of video games into the world of work”, emphasizes Caroline Diard. “Being represented through an avatar is exactly what The Sims is all about.”

Therefore, the specialist foresees a period of acculturation to fully appreciate the dynamism, liveliness and playful aspect that the metaverse represents. However, this is already what employees have done with remote work. “Today it is integrated. People have acquired the tools”, notes the teacher-researcher. It also indicates a favorable period for the rapprochement of Microsoft and Meta.

“We are at the crossroads of sociological and technological access,” assures Caroline Diard.

Regulatory adjustments are expected

But the human resources expert warns that these developments must be followed by regulatory adaptation. Among other things, I point out the risks to personal data, but above all identity theft.

“When you’re in front of the camera, you see the person, an avatar doesn’t show who’s behind,” explains Caroline Diard.

Among other risks raised by the expert – and already mentioned with remote work – the exhaustion of employees and their right to disconnect. The use of remote working has generated instances of hyper-connectivity against which companies have had to prevent access to applications outside of certain time frames.

The CNIL should address these questions. As he had done during the first isolation. The National Commission for Informatics and Freedom was caught for having to turn on its webcam during video conferences. The advent of avatars and virtual workspaces promises new uncertainties about which he will have to decide.

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