31 October 2023
Curated by: Redazione IVM

The impact of the Metaverse on office design

Reading time: 2.4 mins
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There is no doubt; the Metaverse is completely redesigning the concept of space and time in the workplace.

What initially appeared to be a phenomenon confined predominantly to the consumer market has progressively shifted to the company environment, creating an entire meta-economy that is having a significant impact on the office design sector.

On the one hand, there is an evolution in working processes and methods, on the other, the approach to space organisation is changing radically.

One of the aspects that is most frequently drawing on the metaverse is “design & testing”, i.e., that set of activities that combine design/creative aspects with the phases of prototyping/simulation/verification.

Everything is aimed at achieving an important and common goal; rendering work more engaging and collaborative.

The idea may appear contradictory; how can a technology that does not allow for physical interaction render the office a more inclusive space?

The answer lies in considering the metaverse as a virtual extension of physical workspace. A neutral area in which physical and geographic boundaries dissolve and experiences are expanded.

This involves everything that relates to digital representations of industrial environments, systems, processes, goods and spaces that people can control and monitor, and with which they can interact.

A physical-digital fusion that involves businesses and professionals from the international world of “office design”.

It is estimated that 58% of organisations on a global level have experimented with the metaverse at work and that by 2027, Generation Z and Millennials – people aged between 18 and 42 – will spend an average of 4.7 hours a day inside it. (Source: research “Metaverse at work” by Nokia and the company Ernst & Young; McKinsey & Company)

These trends are paving the way for two distinct approaches in the design of virtual workspaces.

The first approach consists in the creation of a virtual office that faithfully replicates the appearance and layout of the real space. This “virtual replica” includes all the furnishing and design elements of the physical office; executive workspaces, meeting rooms, break areas and lounges, aiming to create a familiar and comfortable working environment for employees that involves them, whatever their working methodology.

The second approach, instead, focuses on the creation of a completely customisable and tailor-made environment, which radically redefines the layout and the experience of the physical office. This solution is particularly widespread in the field of training, as it allows the training experience to be amplified and optimised through interactive and engaging virtual scenarios.

There is no single path. According to the business, the organisational structure and the demands in terms of design, sector professionals and organisations can adopt a different approach, fully drawing on the advantages offered by virtual technology to improve efficiency, collaboration and overall experience in the workplace.

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