The Future of Frontline Work & The Bridge to the Metaverse

Published on December 16, 2022

The future of work. These words may excite us, concern us, or even confuse us. Whatever your reaction, it’s a subject we can no longer hide from or ignore.

At Meta’s most recent event, “The Future of Frontline Work & The Bridge to the Metaverse,” a number of Workplace customers and prospects came together to discuss the challenges of hybrid work and new advancements in Meta’s technology. Business leaders like McDonald’s, Freedom, and HOYTS Cinemas took to the stage to talk about how they were preparing for the road ahead.

So how exactly are they preparing their frontline organisations for the future of work? And how can you start preparing yours?

Sit back, grab a coffee (or if it’s a Friday afternoon, grab your drink of choice) and find out what conversations you should be having right now in your workplace.

What is the Future of Work?

You might be hearing a lot of discussions lately about what the workplace might look like in the future. Words and acronyms like metaverse, VR, AR, and technology enablers are thrown around, but what does it all actually mean? And will our working lives really be that futuristic?

Believe it or not, the future described above has already started. Take hybrid work as an example. With more of us now in dispersed workforces, many rely on work video calls and online workspaces to communicate, collaborate and stay connected to each other.

“You and your team will be able to sit around a table (or float around if that is your thing) altogether!”

– Jason from Meta

The challenge many face: Current employee video meeting experiences are in 2D video conferencing worlds like Zoom or Microsoft Teams. That means everyone in your team or workforce becomes just a face on a screen. This can make it hard for employees to engage with the loss of body language and physical cues. This is exacerbated further when part of the team is in-house and a few join the call virtually. Often the virtual participants are almost forgotten about and feel completely disconnected.

How the future of work will help: In the not-so-distant future, you will pop on a headset like the Meta Quest Pro 2 that will make your meetings and calls 3D and interactive. You and your team will be able to sit around a table (or float around if that is your thing) altogether! You will be able to see each other’s facial expressions, walk around objects, work on projects together with virtual boards, and gather in 3D virtual breakout rooms. Organisations are already leveraging technology tools that combine video conferencing, team chats, notice boards, and knowledge hubs to help their employees feel more connected, informed, and educated.

What the future of work will deliver to our workplaces

  • Increase connection. People will feel more connected in the metaverse as it will reflect our real world with a greater feeling of presence.
  • Improve collaboration. Seamless virtual collaboration will make us more productive and efficient with our time.
  • Greater flexibility. Online workspaces will provide greater autonomy to choose when, where, and how you work.
  • More accessibility. Creating a greater sense of belonging by removing boundaries like geography, identity, and disability.

Now that you are equipped with a better understanding of the Future of Work, let’s dig a little deeper into how new tools are empowering leading organisations today.

Cheerful sales woman showing a design on tablet to mid adult couple looking for furniture at a home store

How Australia’s leading companies are preparing for the Future of Work

Leading Australian companies who attended “The Future of Frontline Work & The Bridge to the Metaverse” gave us a sneak peek into how they are preparing for the future of work. By leveraging tools like Workplace from Meta, they are already getting a head start. Here are some key takeaways from what was shared:

Hybrid is the new normal: With more and more employees listing flexible working as a key driver of job satisfaction, it is clear that businesses need to start implementing hybrid features in their future workplace. Many leading Australian businesses who use Workplace from Meta have said it helps them get ahead of the competition — by increasing productivity, communication, collaboration, and enhancing culture.

To quote Natalia Trapl from Freedom, “the benefits of a tool like Workplace for us are much better collaboration, connection, and community.” Natalia continues, “This has started to really build that trust and transparency with our new (and existing) employees.”

“The benefits of a tool like Workplace for us are much better collaboration, connection, and community.”

– Natalia Trapl — Freedom

Connection is a must: Frontline-first industries like McDonald’s, Freedom, and HOYTS cinemas are focusing on how they can build connections within their distributed workforces. With Workplace, they are already seeing benefits like quick and accurate communication, a feeling of employee belonging, and important employee feedback getting back to decision-makers faster.

For example, Jodi Paton from Hoyts describes her company’s frontline workforce as “geographically dispersed, not sitting at a computer all day with corporate offices, in most of the capital cities.” So how do they tackle this challenge? For Jodi, Workplace has opened up the opportunity to have a much clearer and direct line to frontline employees. “We used to be very reliant on our location managers… passing on information or sticking a memo up on the memo board in the employee lunch room… Workplace has definitely opened up our communication,” she says.

“Workplace has opened up the opportunity to have a much, much clearer and a direct line to frontline employees.”

– Jodi Paton — Hoyts Australia

People, People, People: Employee attraction, retention, and engagement are critical for the survival of frontline-first industries. Businesses are addressing this by ensuring they have the training, communication, and community tools they need to do their work. Tools like Workplace have the ability to integrate third-party platforms, bots and automation so employees can access everything they need from their mobile devices. This is a game-changer for frontline employees.

Natalia from Freedom highlights, “Our overarching vision is eventually… to provide our frontline people with one tool and one portal to get everything that they need in order for them to do their job effectively. Through Workplace they can access online learning and that’s where all of our induction, our onboarding, and our E-learning is present,” she says.

“Our overarching vision is eventually… to provide our frontline people with one tool and one portal to get everything that they need in order for them to do their job effectively.”

– Natalia Trapl — Freedom

Start at the top: Upskilling your executive team is no longer a nice to have – it’s a must-have. Two-way communication with your frontline staff boosts trust and enhances culture. Workplace has the ability to break down hierarchies and open two-way communication from leadership to the frontline.

“I think we’re very lucky at Freedom that we have a very charismatic, engaged CEO, who loves Workplace,” Natalia continues. “Together as a senior leadership team, we have a leaderboard around who posts the most, who reacts, and who comments, and that’s a common conversation that we have at an executive level monthly.” This has paid dividends in creating a culture of trust and community with Freedom’s frontline staff.

How you can prepare for the future of work

So, you ask yourself, what can leading Australian businesses like mine do right now? How can I be on the front foot like Freedom, HOYTS and Mcdonald’s and start preparing for the reality of the future of work?
We have identified four key steps you can action today:

  1. Start the conversation. Many businesses are unfamiliar with the Future of Work and its impact on their company, employees, and customers. To overcome this, create a source of knowledge (such as a group) that will follow key thought leaders, attend events, and start having internal discussions to familiarise your company with the key concepts to make the transition easier.
  2. Get strategic. Think about what gaps exist in your organisation’s knowledge. Are they embracing digital transformation? Are you still using notice boards to inform your staff? Is your frontline still disconnected from your company? Start recruiting digital native employees who understand key concepts like digital communications, VR, AR, and the metaverse so your teams can stay informed. These insights could then be used to begin developing plans for security, identity, and opportunities to improve the experiences of your staff and customers.
  3. Leverage what is available today. Digital communication tools that can connect all employees in your company are already available. Tools like Workplace from Meta are a great way to attract, train and retain your best talent. With features like live video, groups, Knowledge Library, polls, translation features, bots and integrations, you can communicate seamlessly across geographically dispersed teams and locations!
  4. Engage a hybrid Workplace expert. Embracing change can be scary, but once you are ready to take the leap, there is support to make the transition easier. With a Workplace Elite Partner like Enablo — you could have a new company-wide communications tool up and running in under 6-12 weeks!

Switch to a better way of working.

We are digitising work to help businesses, including quick service restaurants, in Australia build the best distributed workplace experience for teams. We help drive connection, communication, collaboration, and productivity for everyone, anywhere. And we support your vision every step of the way.

Make the switch to a better way of working today. Get in touch today.