Companies are opening digital headquarters in the metaverse where employees can ‘return’ to work
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many companies to think outside the box when it comes to communicating with employees —and for some that means looking beyond the physical world.
A few businesses, in a bid to find a way for workers to interact with each other during a pandemic, have turned to meeting spaces and company HQs based in metaverse platforms such as Decentraland and Cryptovoxels.
One of these companies is Neustreet, a media and data startup that helps people find the best-valued physical and digital collectibles, which opened a digital headquarters in the metaverse platform Cryptovoxels in June.
Neustreet founder and general manager Eric Witschen saw the digital land as a place where his five employees could gather, and where the company could host marketing events in the future.
After buying the land for 5.75 ether, the equivalent of more than $13,000 at the time of purchase, Witschen spent 10 days creating a digital HQ for the company himself, using Cryptovoxel’s native building program.
The final product is a three-story digital building on a private island that contains an open-plan office and co-working space on the first floor, an NFT art gallery on the second floor, and a venue space for exhibitions and events on the third floor.
Because the startup has employees based around the world, Witschen thought the “land” could be a communal location where everyone would meet occasionally. By meeting face-to-face, (or at least avatar-to-avatar) Witschen believes the company can avoid communication issues that sometimes plagues businesses with a remote workforce.
ConsenSys Software Inc., the creators of the digital wallet MetaMask, has also turned to the metaverse as an alternative meeting place for its employees during the pandemic.
The company hired an architecture firm to build them a headquarters mimicking the shape of their logo in the metaverse platform Decentraland. The headquarters, equipped with a central amphitheater and floating bar above, spans 10 parcels in the platform.
ConsenSys has already used the HQ as a venue for a party they hosted in September celebrating its digital wallet MetaMask reaching 10 million monthly active users. According to its website, the company has big plans for the digital space in the future, “We plan to meet for virtual drinks, host talks, NFT exhibits, team and client meetings.”
Fortune was unable to reach ConsenSys for comment.
While using virtual land as meeting spaces is one potential use, Neustreet chief marketing officer Tony McGuire said the company’s virtual headquarters could also be used to promote its company. The building, which is located on the only private island in Cryptovoxels, is open to the public, said McGuire. He imagines the virtual space as a potential venue where the company can host collaborative events with other brands or marketing events.
“I think it’s just gonna be another line item in a marketing budget in the future,” McGuire said.
As for Cryptovoxels, although the prices of digital land have skyrocketed since Witschen bought the company’s digital parcel this June, he has no plans to sell it.
“We’re actually having our office holiday party there next Friday,” he said.
Fortune’s upcoming Brainstorm Design conference is going to dive into how businesses are building experiences in the metaverse. Apply to attend the event on May 23-24 in New York.