The metaverse at work is going to alienate your disabled employees, here’s why

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If you’re a business owner or leader thinking about bashing the “metaverse” button, you’re in luck.

New research appears to suggest many workers are willing to embrace the concept, despite often not being able to say why the metaverse at work should exist, how it will improve their working lives, or even exactly what it is.

A report (opens in new tab) released at the end of September 2022 claims over three-quarters (78%) of “business professionals” – presumably at all levels – want to “embrace the metaverse”, which is definitely a phrase that normal people use.

The majority (71%) of respondents said they could see the metaverse being incorporated into their working lives, and 40% saw the metaverse replacing “static collaboration environments” – presumably the likes of Slack, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or any of the online collaboration tools that have become common since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

This is despite Deepak Agarwal, Project Manager at GlobalData, admitting that, “the Metaverse is still largely conceptual” following the company’s latest report on the gargantuan size of the metaverse market. It doesn’t yet exist, but the firm says there’s $23 billion in it.

For me the metaverse is several asterisked words at once that I can’t write because I’m still on my trial period. I’m hoping that Mark Zuckerberg losing $71 billion (opens in new tab) to a buggy mess no-one can be bothered with (opens in new tab) (even at his own company) will be a wake-up call to everyone else.

A person works at their desk in Meta's Horizons VR.

This is disgusting. An affront to being. (Image credit: Meta)

“Conceptually”, using the metaverse to sit at a virtual representation of your desk, attempting basically any task with those ergonomic controllers, sounds rancid. And if I ever suffer prolonged exposure to my line manager as a Playmobil man, I’ll sell my earthly belongings and live in a cave. Giving him legs (opens in new tab) is not the point. Instead, it’s a patronising, exclusionary diktat about all the functioning limbs you need to be “normal”.

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