Eighteen people tried working a week in the metaverse and fell into fatigue, anxiety, and reduced work productivity.
A team of scientists from Coburg University (Germany) and Cambridge University (UK) conducted research with 18 volunteers who are experts working at the Universities. They will spend 35 hours per week working, as usual, then continue with the same time in a virtual reality environment.
Stress when working in the metaverse
However, the two people gave up right after the first day because they felt nausea, migraines, and anxiety. The remaining 16 continued until the end of the trial.
Participants affirmed that working with VR glasses is “the worst of the best” work methods, and its two adverse effects are on health and productivity.
Specifically, when participating in the virtual environment, the performance of volunteers decreased by 19%, and the workload pressure increased by 35% compared to a week of work in the natural environment. In addition, 42% of the participants were disappointed that they could not complete their progress on time or with poor quality when in the metaverse. In comparison, this figure in the natural environment was only 16%.
Adverse effects in metaverse are not limited to mental health. And some also have serious physical problems. In particular, all participants reported having frequent eye fatigue, fatigue, and nausea. One person even had a headache for more than three hours after 45 minutes of work. Others feel less comfortable wearing VR glasses.
The team acknowledged that they had not prepared the best VR devices during the study. However, the tested models cost about $1,000.
A survey published in April by Accenture Financial Services found that up to 71% of CEOs expect metaverse companies to impact their organization positively. 42% said the technology would be “transformative.” However, according to Fortune, the results of the above research show that applying metaverse to work is a long way from actually working.
Metaverse is an ambitious target for large companies like Meta or Microsoft. On June 21, both, along with dozens of other organizations and businesses, established the Metaverse Standards Organization. However, the list lacks names such as Apple, Roblox, and Niantic and emerging blockchain-based metaverse platforms such as The Sandbox or Decentraland.
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