Latin America open to metaverse move, but what are the concerns?

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Nearly 60% of all workers in Mexico, Colombia, and Brazil appear ready to take their careers to the metaverse, a new survey finds. An even higher number of professionals are sure it will happen soon.

Virtual work in Latin America is indeed ready to launch. For some respondents — particularly in Colombia and Brazil — virtual meetings are affordable alternatives to traveling to a conference room. 

In Mexico, business professionals cited fewer distractions and opportunities for time-wasting small talk. 

“Our study found that Latin American business professionals see potential in utilizing more immersive and virtual platforms for work,” said Fabio Medina, Latin America vice president and general manager of Ciena, a telecommunications networking equipment and software services supplier based in Hanover, Maryland.

A matter of trust 

The ExpressVPN metaverse survey indicates that businesses should proceed with caution. Most employees, it seems, are protective of their privacy.

The survey showed 51% of 1,500 US employees were worried about their real-time location being tracked by their bosses. Real-time screen monitoring was of concern to half the respondents. 

An even higher number of employees, 63%, are concerned that their employer could collect their personal data under a metaverse arrangement.

Employees also indicated brand preferences with 61% trusting Microsoft with a metaverse workplace. Meta is the least-trusted company, with just 36% showing approval in the ExpressVPN metaverse survey.

The bigger the company and the more tenured the workers, the more anxiety the idea seemed to produce. Millennials, Gen X, and Boomers and companies with more than 500 employees were statistically more likely to have qualms about working in a virtual setting, the ExpressVPN report indicates.

Technology advances

As technology becomes more reliable and user-friendly, acceptance has grown. Employers and employees surveyed are in accord with the idea that working from home, or under a hybrid agreement, has increased productivity and fostered connections with co-workers. Video conferencing in particular was cited as being helpful in this regard. Under 10% of both cohorts felt that telephone calls or project management platforms fostered engagement with others.

A whopping 90% of employees agree that virtual work has increased productivity. And 88% of employers say the same. 

More findings 

Although the majority of bosses and workers are in favor of it, enthusiasm for the concept is lopsided. More employers (77%) than employees (57%) expressed an interest in immersive work environments such as the metaverse. Employers were also nearly twice as likely to indicate familiarity with the metaverse. Only 49% of employees said they were very familiar with the metaverse, compared with 69% of their bosses.

The Ciena survey also shows that employees imagine how the metaverse would be relevant to areas outside the workplace: education, socialization, and gaming. In Mexico, 60% say they would take advantage of the technology’s reach for socializing, and 69% of Brazil’s respondents would use it to pursue big winnings with online gaming. In Colombia, 63% of respondents would use virtual platforms for learning new things. 

How would workers present themselves in this new virtual world? In the Ciena survey, 49% of Latin America’s white-collar workers would choose an avatar that reflects their actual selves, 21% would idealize their avatar, and 14% would choose an image depending on the meeting.

Conclusion

Latin America appears more bullish on the virtual world than other regions of the world. More than 40% of the respondents in Latin America said that in the next two years, their workplaces will move away from the “traditional/static collaboration environment” to a more “immersive/virtual setting.” In the rest of the world, 34% of respondents agreed with that statement.

An overwhelming 81% of respondents in Latin America said they could imagine their workplace introducing virtual reality tools such as AR and VR glasses, into the workplace. In Mexico, 92% of all surveyed professionals said they would feel comfortable conducting formal work meetings in a virtual reality environment like the metaverse. Similar levels of optimism were found in Colombia and Brazil.

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