Office workers are now so accustomed to Zoom calls that a greater leap into the virtualization of the workspace may not phase them. That’s just as well, because corporations are planning to onboard more of us into the metaverse just as company structures themselves morph into new operating models built on the decentralized web, or Web3.
“The combination of the metaverse and a decentralized Web3 has the potential to radically transform operating models and the labor market,” explains an article written for the World Economic Forum by Ravin Jesuthasan, senior partner and global leader for transformation services at Mercer, and George Zarkadakis, senior fellow at the GeoTech Centre of the Atlantic Council.
The main technology here is the Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO), which run on public blockchains and according to the authors are already reimagining how human communities, businesses, and labor get organized.
“In such decentralized organizations, leadership will rely on soft power and empathy, using culture and shared values to align the interests of disparate stakeholders to a common mission and purpose.”
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DAOs exploit smart contract architectures and digital tokens verified on public blockchains, such as Ethereum, in order to give members of a DAO the possibility to directly participate in its governance. Decision making thus becomes collective. As DAOs are adopted more widely, “new types of businesses will emerge that would look more like cooperatives and less than corporations, significantly reducing agency costs.”
One of the most significant implications of metaverse for the future of work relates to how work will be organized and how talent connects to work.
As reported by WEF, talent is connected to work either fixed (permanent employee) or flex (freelance) but it spies another option with much greater agility, one where work flows to talent.
The Forum also thinks DAOs will shake up conventional corporate hierarchy into a flatter construct. This would have a core group of individuals responsible for coordination of work and delivering on the value proposition of the DAO.
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A broader “contributor group” would provides specific services to execute the mission of the DAO. This includes other DAOs that provide services like HR, finance, customer service and individual contributors (gig workers or contractors) that take on projects as needed.
An even broader group of “members” will promote brands, support crowdsourcing of ongoing product innovation or otherwise contribute to the advancement of the DAO’s mission.
Each of these groups will be compensated quite differently, Jesuthasan and Zarkadakis predict. The core group will share in the total value created by the DAO less payments to the other two groups. The payments to the contributor group will vary between fixed payments for ongoing services in the case of a DAO providing HR services and more episodic payments to individual contributors as they take on and execute specific projects. Members will be rewarded as they make various contributions to the DAO with the potential for payment in NFTs with virtual-to-physical redemptions.
If companies aren’t already thinking along these lines then the message here is — get to grips with the DAO.
“In most places around the world DAOs do not currently have a legal status, which poses serious issues, especially when a decentralized autonomous organization extends its activities beyond the digital space. Regulators are still struggling to keep up with the high rate of innovation that comes from Web3 pioneers. Nevertheless, there are already clear opportunities for businesses to start thinking and piloting use cases for a decentralized metaverse future.”