This week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the new Facebook group name and detailed his plans for the Metaverse. At the start of the 80-minute presentation, he walked into a virtual meeting room with some of his Meta colleagues to chat. Yes, it was all a little cheesy, but that part of VR and what the Metaverse has to offer could solve one of the biggest problems right now.
Like many workers today, I have never met any of the people I work with. I spent many hours chatting with them on Slack and in video calls, but never face to face, in person. I live far from the office and in a different country from most of my team, but even those within close proximity are in the same position due to blockages and office closures.
What we missed by not having these physical interactions is debated, but there is something about being able to sit around a table with your co-workers. Despite this, we have gotten used to working from home and not everyone wants to give it up.
The answer right now is some kind of hybrid arrangement, where people are spending time in the office and time working from home. However, there might be another option …
Horizon Worlds is, sorry, Facebook’s virtual reality space for interaction – sort of Second Life in VR. On top of that, Horizon Workrooms, a virtual meeting room where you can interact with your team.
The idea is that you can treat it like a regular meeting room. You can bring your computer and give presentations or take notes. Or just sit back and chat with your coworkers or at least their avatars.
While it’s unlikely to be quite the same as meeting them in person, it might provide a more natural way to have a group chat than just looking at a Zoom screen. At the very least, it could make working from home days a little more interactive.
Over time, I can see my entire work from home office being a virtual reality room. Why look at a small laptop screen when with a VR headset on you could be in front of several 50 inch screens. You can design your workspace exactly how you want it, while the only space you occupy is the chair you are sitting on. It is certainly more economical.
So, while many have scoffed at Facebook’s plans for the Metaverse, I’m optimistic that it will at least provide us with a better way to connect with others over great distances.