Employees are far more concerned about working in a virtual office setting in the metaverse than their bosses, according to a recent study.
The survey by ExpressVPN uncovered what employers and staff think about working in the metaverse.
A metaverse workplace uses technology, such as messaging apps, video conferencing apps, and VPNs, to improve remote work and team collaboration.
But while many business leaders believe in the benefits of the metaverse in an office setting, their staff don’t necessarily share in their optimism.
Of all employers asked, 77% said they were interested in using the technology for their business. Meanwhile, only 57% of workers had the same sentiments.
Data privacy concerns
Data privacy appears to be one of the main reasons why employees are reluctant about the new workplace setting. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of workers were worried their employers could collect their data if they were to work in the metaverse.
A little over half (51%) of respondents said they were concerned that their boss might track their location in real time. Another half (50%) of them believed their company might monitor their work screens in real time.
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People working in larger companies appear to be the most concerned about data privacy and employer surveillance in the metaverse. The same is true for more experienced workers, such as those belonging to the Millennial, Gen X, and Boomer generations.
Microsoft led all tech companies as the most trusted by workers regarding their concerns with metaverse work. They are followed by Google and Apple. Meanwhile, Facebook-owner Meta is their least trusted company.
Keeping an eye on workers
The report acknowledges the importance of employee surveillance when engaging in remote work. It provides employers the peace of mind of knowing that their workers are doing their job. However, bosses should also pay close attention to how they monitor them.
The willingness of workers to adopt a metaverse workplace depends on how much they trust their employer. Their morale could significantly drop if they feel that their boss is violating their privacy in any way.
Read more: Cybersecurity, data privacy top people-related risk for companies
Employee surveillance also plays a crucial role in talent acquisition. Companies with a metaverse workplace could find it harder to recruit and retain workers if they don't respect their employees’s data privacy. That can be very problematic especially in today’s highly competitive job market.
ExpressVPN Vice President Harold Li recognises the challenges for companies who want to adopt a metaverse workplace.
“It’s understandable that people are looking critically at the metaverse, given past experiences with the way companies use new technologies,” Li said.
“It’s all the more reason that companies with a complex history need to be careful about how they proceed. A few missteps could disastrously impact the onboarding of virtual workspaces and ultimately, undermine its benefits.”