Facebook’s Virtual Offices Are the Future of Work
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is one of the most influential people in tech. And his latest pet project is a virtual reality (VR) app called “Horizon Workrooms.”
Basically, you put on a VR headset, and you can virtually collaborate with your co-workers around the country.
With the app, you can show your computer screen in 3D as if you’re in a conference room with a projector.
In today’s Market Insights video, Steve Fernandez and I discuss why virtual offices will be a huge tipping point trend in the 2020s.
Ian King: Hey everyone. Ian King here with your weekly Smart Profits Daily YouTube update. And joining me this week again, my colleague and friend Steve Fernandez.
We have something really special to talk about today. Because a couple of weeks ago, we spoke about this idea of the metaverse: this idea of how our analog world is moving to digital.
More and more people are spending time in the so-called metaverse. And remember, I said this is really a broad idea, and it could be something as simple as the amount of time you spend on your phone every day, or also something as involved as sitting in virtual reality.
What is Horizon Workrooms and how will it be used?
Now, Steve, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, one of the most influential people in tech, was just out with news on the metaverse regarding a platform called “Horizon Workrooms.”
Basically what it is, it’s you put on a VR headset, and you can collaborate with other people who are also wearing these virtual reality goggles.
I mean, what do you think about this, Steve? Seems kind of sci-fi to me.
Steve Fernandez: It does sound sci-fi. It also sounds fascinating. I think the ability to just do that in general is a testament to where technology is at.
When I looked at that news, an example that they used was like screen sharing. For example, right now, if you were to share our screen together on Zoom or in a conference call on Zoom, it’s not super interactive. You can just see what we’re doing on the screen.
But, for example, with Horizon Workrooms, which is that metaverse collaboration venture, if you will, you can actually show your screen in 3D, as if you’re in a conference room on a projector.
It’s pretty fascinating to be able to do that.
Ian: Yeah, it is. I think that there’s also bigger implications for how we work. And I think this is a huge tipping point trend for the 2020s.
Working from home Benefits
I mean, what’s the data right now? You looked it up this morning on how many people prefer to work from home versus go back to an actual office.
Steve: It’s astounding. Of the people that are working remotely now, literally 99% would want to telecommute in some capacity in the future.
Ian: Nobody wants to go back to the office, basically.
Steve: Not full time. And it makes sense when you think about how much money people are saving by not commuting.
Ian: What’s that number? How much does the average commuter save by working from home every year?
Steve: I’m not sure on the average per se, but I did see that about one-third of telecommuters are saving over $5,000 a year just on commuting costs, which doesn’t even factor in time.
Ian: I mean, as somebody who used to take the train and the subway and the bus, I can tell you the cost of doing that every day adds up. Not only the cost of time, but also the monetary cost.
But another interesting statistic we talked about is that companies actually are incentivized not to bring people back to work. How much do they save per employee that’s working from home?
Steve: Right, they save a lot. It looks like $11,000 on average for employees that were working remotely even just half the time.
So, yeah, there’s definitely an incentive to do that. And productivity is apparently higher for remote workers. I’ve seen mixed studies, but the most recent was 77% of people reported higher productivity.
Ian: Incredible. So, I think about this like going all the way back to, like, the 1960s. Back then, people would graduate college and go work for a big corporation such as IBM or Hewlett-Packard, and they would stay there for 30 years until they retired.
I think there was a huge shift 20, 30 years ago where there was more competition for skilled workers, so you had people moving from one corporation to another every five to 10 years. Now, it seems like that dynamic is accelerating because now you can work from home, you can freelance.
The company is incentivized to hire freelance workers to work on specific projects and not have full-time employees. That makes the company more dynamic, more flexible. And then from a monetary standpoint, just having people work from home, the company saves $11,000 a year, you said. And the employee telecommuting saves $5,000 a year.
What stock and companies will benefit from Working at home?
So, I think that we’re going to see this shift increase even more. Can you tell our viewers what type of stocks or, like, what type of companies are going to benefit from this big shift toward working in the metaverse versus working in an actual office?
Steve: Sure. So, presumably stocks or companies that offer some sort of connective platform — think like Uber, where you’re connecting a person to a driver. Except in this case, you’re connecting a person to another person, or a business to a person or a group of people.
And they get a cut of that transaction that occurs on their platform. So, it’s basically a matchmaking site for freelancers and other people.
Ian: It’s like Tinder for people that want to find work, right?
Steve: Right. Yeah. It’s an interesting world.
But when you think about it, it makes sense to be a freelancer, like you said. And it also makes sense to be a company that’s hiring freelancers. Even think about, like, a startup, for example, where you’re limited in the amount of money that you can pay someone to work for you. And you may not have a huge demand right away.
Why not hire a freelancer to do an advanced job here and there and pay them hourly as opposed to giving up equity or a stake in your company or even a salary? So, on the flip side, as a freelancer, you can now work for 50 different startups if you want to.
Ian: There’s also a benefit to the freelancer because they can go live wherever they want. You don’t have to live in New York City or L.A. or Chicago. You can go sit on a beach somewhere and have a higher quality of life.
That also means they’re willing to work for less, which also benefits the company as well. So, I think there’s a lot of efficiencies that are solved by this whole idea of working in the metaverse. I agree it sort of optimizes the workforce.
So, let’s leave it there. Are you working from home now? Does your company allow that, or you do you have to go back to the office?
And Steve, I think there’s a potential Strategic Fortunes recommendation coming out that has to do with working in the metaverse. What do you think about that?
Steve: I think it’s a great idea. I know we talked about a few things.
Ian: All right. That’s it for us today. Have a great weekend, and we’ll see you next week. Thank you.
Editor, Strategic Fortunes