By Lee Hae-rin
Six out of 10 Seoulites would rather work in a virtual setting, such as the "metaverse" where people interact with each other as avatars, rather than going to a physical office.
Seoul Woman Up, the city government's research institute for women's labor force development, surveyed 4,476 Seoul citizens ― 3,473 women and 1,003 men ― from Aug. 10 to 19, on their preferred type of workplace and announced the results Monday.
According to the survey, 65.1 percent, or 2,916 Seoulites, would prefer to go to a virtual workspace using avatars. The other 34.9 percent, or 1,560 respondents, answered they would prefer to go to an actual office.
The top reason for choosing a metaverse workspace was "to manage work and household chores, as well as childcare at the same time," said 53.1 percent of the respondents. Another leading reason was "to maintain work-life balance," cited by 56 percent of the women, or 1,288 female respondents, and 43 percent of the men, or 1,003 male respondents.
The other factors chosen in order were: because they prefer communication via avatar, at 19.9 percent, and because working in a virtual setting seems convenient, at 17.4 percent.
As for why other respondents preferred going to an actual office, "the preference for in-person communication" was the leading reason at 41 percent, followed by "professional limitations working as avatars" at 27.5 percent, and "difficulty concentrating in virtual reality" at 19.8 percent.
Regarding respondents' levels of experience interacting in the metaverse, 58.2 percent, or 2,603 respondents, said that they have experience interacting virtually, via games at 73.3 percent, avatar platforms at 40.5 percent and co-working and video conferencing platforms at 45.2 percent.
"The metaverse will help stimulate related industries as well as affect people's job types and career choices. Thus, support for career development and recruitment programs in relevant fields will be provided," said an official from Seoul Women Up.