There have been bold predictions that sooner than we think, the shift to remote and hybrid working may soon be bolstered by real-world uses of a workplace metaverse. Facebook parent company Meta and others say virtualizing 3D spaces could enable seamless work transitions between the desktop and other physical environments.
But while working in the metaverse may appeal to some and intrigue others, there is a whole contingent of people – employees and senior managers – who are skeptical about how a workplace metaverse could actually play out in a real meaning. One of the main concerns dictating conversations on the Metaverse in the workplace since Meta and Microsoft announced corporate plans for virtual collaboration platforms, revolves around privacy issues.
Specifically, a new ExpressVPN survey of 1,500 employees and 1,500 employers in the United States found that a disproportionate number of workers there believe a metaverse workplace will be subject to increased employee surveillance, perhaps -be even much higher than what they are already enduring in their physical office spaces.
In fact, an earlier ExpressVPN study previously found that with the majority of employees (81%) using an employer-provided device, more than half (51%) said they knew their employer was watching. actively their communications and activities online, via platforms. like Microsoft Teams and Slack as well as dedicated employee performance services like real-time screen monitoring, logged productivity hours, as well as email and call transcripts to name a few some.
There are a number of issues that cause workers concern, including ethical issues around privacy and individual freedoms. For example, many employees are not even aware of the surveillance policies in their organization, having not been informed or not having received the policy update notice indicating that they would be monitored at the workplace. ‘coming. While monitoring employee behaviors may make sense from an employer’s perspective to inform decisions about performance reviews, the specter of “Big Brother” type monitoring overlooks the impacts it could have on morale, mental well-being and staff rights.
ExpressVPN’s new study detailed that while 77% of employers are actively engaging with immersive work environments like the Metaverse, only just over half (57%) of employees surprisingly feel the same way – despite the novelty and the gamification of the concept in the workplace. 63% of workers fear that their employers will collect their data, personal or otherwise, while working in the metaverse.
“Employee monitoring software has become a popular way for employers to keep tabs on their employees during the work-from-home boom, and the metaverse will only increase the potential for monitoring activities,” the report presumes. .
At least half of employees worry about monitoring in a virtual workspace, with real-time location tracking and real-time screen monitoring (51% and 50%, respectively) topping the list their list of concerns. 73% of employers admitted in the survey that they monitor staff inside and outside the workplace, so employee concerns about the metaverse are likely justified regarding real-time access to their devices, as well as the increased likelihood of recording their chats and tracking their time and activities in a virtualized environment.
In an interesting cross-section of working generations: 41% of Millennials, 43% of Gen Xers, and 39% of Baby Boomers felt employer oversight was a pressing issue regarding work in the Metaverse — compared to only 29% of Generation Z, who are both the youngest generation in the workforce and the most curious and enthusiastic generation (53%) about working in an immersive digital world.
But when it came to concerns about their digital privacy and security, there was more gender parity: 40% Gen Z, 46% Gen Y, 47% Gen X, and more than half (53%) of Baby Boomers felt this was the case. an area of critical concern in a metaverse workplace.
The data strongly suggests that while staff monitoring will provide employers with greater peace of mind when transitioning to a 3D immersive office, the opposite effect is likely to occur among employees, particularly a sense of distrust and the possibility of a drop in workforce morale.
“Given the reluctance of many workers to accept additional monitoring in the workplace, employers should exercise caution when planning to implement additional monitoring activities in virtual workspaces and consider whether they are worth the potential loss of trust and satisfaction among their employees,” ExpressVPN summarized. Vice President Harold Li.
The research also drew attention to tech giants which are the main drivers in this space, with the most trusted productivity veteran Microsoft (61%) among workers, along with converged hardware and software specialists Google (58%) and Apple (57%) intermediaries, and Meta ironically named the most suspicious of properly protecting their data in a workplace metaverse, earning only 36% of workers’ trust.
“To create more excitement for new technology, employers should consider educating employees on how companies like Microsoft, Google, Nvidia and others are enabling virtual work experiences and what a day might look like. in a future metaverse working environment,” ExpressVPN concluded. report. “Companies like Meta (formerly Facebook) have a long way to go to regain trust, which will inevitably weigh on consumers’ willingness to embrace the new technology.”
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