Companies are moving towards virtual staff retreats

The future of corporate bonding includes golf, escape rooms and scavenger hunts – all attended from your home office.

Why it matters: Distributed work gives rise to new ways to connect with colleagues.

  • These innovations attract venture dollars and Fortune 500 customers — and can take a bite out of the massive hospitality and transportation industry that powers corporate retreats and conferences.

What is going on: A slew of large companies are hiring new employees — and fostering the connection between existing ones — in the metaverse.

  • Accenture bought 60,000 virtual reality headsets from Meta for his staff, reports the Wall Street Journal. Now it keeps part of its orientation towards new hires in the virtual world.
  • mural, a technology company with employees on different continents, brings employees together during virtual mini golf games, even if they’ve never met in person, according to the Journal.
  • remio, which has just raised millions in venture capital is one of the startups committed to this new trend in the working world. It builds VR bonding experiences and has collaborated with companies like Google, Netflix and HubSpot, Venture Beat reports.

The big picture: The US corporate event market is worth $100 billion and includes event halls, hotels and transportation.

  • But as more personal gatherings, such as corporate retreats or even conferences and conventions, move into the metaverse, those dollars could be diverted from hospitality and transportation to VR and assistive technology.

Yes but: There are skeptics.

  • VR headsets are still quite clunky and expensive. And wearing it for long periods of time can lead to the same kind of fatigue we get from extended periods of time on Zoom, notes the WSJ.
  • Many business leaders think that in-person events are even more important now that the workforce is divided. The metaverse can’t replace the experience of live socializing, they say — at least not yet.
  • And when it comes to conferences and conventions, many of them demonstrate or show off new technology or products that are best experienced in person.

What to watch: We’re not there yet, but both startups and large companies are seeing a happy marriage between remote work and the metaverse.

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