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Remote Work is Killing Corporate Culture, Metaverse Will Resurrect and Augment it.

Metaverse is the Future of Corporate Culture

Let’s be honest, pandemics accelerated most of the advancements in technology in less than 2 years. Metaverse which is a very popular subject for a month after Mark Zuckerberg’s declaration on his vision and Meta’s pre-plans on Metaverse. Some get very excited with the idea of living in a science fiction movie but some are suspicious about it. Whatever your thought is I am confident and sure that our reality will totally change in a couple of years. Just like 15 years ago we weren’t aware or thinking of a digital-socially connected world that is now our reality and can not live or do business without it.

What about our reality now? Where are all we standing on the basis of work/corporate life? I believe we all feel we are in some kind of purgatory. Some of us (maybe most of us) like the idea of WFH (working from home) and utilize the advantages of flexibility, such as having more quality time with family or working from a cheap and green countryside or a summer house. Some of us, on the other hand, want to collaborate, feel lonely without having a physical working environment. It created isolation for a lot of people. FOMO (fear of missing out) urged most of us and we can not move in front of the screens. As Microsoft CEO, Nadella, says there are 2 megatrends, Hybrid work and a great reshuffle of the meaning of work. Companies started to initiate permanent remote work or some kind of hybrid system. Whichever it is, we can see that remote work will be our reality for a long time. It has lots of advantages for both parties- employees, and employers-. However, there is an important disadvantage for corporations; sustaining or creating a corporate culture built on the physical environment and decrease in employee engagement. This will be a critical issue in a couple of years.

Culture, by nature, is developed when people share common values, behaviors, and habits where they socially interact and transmit them. It is something continuous and accumulated. People need to be in a common space to share those values, behaviors, rituals and transmit them to each other or the next generations. It is no different in corporate culture as well. People need to share and act upon with that culture. It’s no coincidence that digital giants set up their offices as campuses. If you do not share the same space with others, the culture starts to dilute, which is already started. We all look at other people via a screen and can not even see the back of their heads :) Nobody can go to a colleague's desk and do some chit-chat about the new campaign or have lunch together. Nobody can see other people’s desks where most of the time individual valuable items or awards were presented. Even nobody can compliment about the new dress of their colleague. No surprise birthday events in the office, no department awards or corporate values on the walls… Both brand & corporate values and personalization were the important part of office design lately, for a sense of belonging and ownership. Without those, a sense of belonging and ownership will, unfortunately, fade away!

I believe that every crisis has its own solution in itself. Pandemic accelerated WFH but it also accelerated technological advancement. Metaverse, the beyond universe, will be the future of offices, thus the future of corporate culture. The idea of office space in the metaverse is not very far away. Meta (former Facebook) and Microsoft already started creating this entirely new space. The disadvantages of remote work could be recovered by these offices in the metaverse. We could still share common spaces and interact in a corporate office sitting on our couch. Think of the corporate campuses like Google’s; most of the new graduates were attracted to the idea of working on that campus. It is part of Google’s culture. In remote/hybrid work, the effect of that campus will be fading out. But imagine, what if you can work on that campus, socialize with your colleagues from miles away, in your living room. If this seems unrealistic to you I would just remind you 15 years ago there is nothing to talk about social media investments as corporations or social media existence. It was considered a youth space for chit-chat. Now you can not set up a business without social media. We are already living in social media. Metaverse will have a greater impact on people and business in a couple of years, and we will see how pioneering companies invest in metaverse one by one. Just like Adidas has announced this week its entrance to the NFT world.

To conclude, corporations will start to suffer on employee engagement and will have difficulty to make them embrace corporate values for sustaining corporate culture, as a consequence of remote work. However, Metaverse is an opportunity for businesses to resurrect their culture. Just like every other technological or social development, early adopters will utilize this more than others. This is why companies need to start having preparations for Metaverse already!

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