Abstract

The adoption of hybrid workplaces has introduced significant benefits, such as enhanced flexibility, improved work-life balance, and personalized employee experiences, all of which positively influence diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). However, this model also risks creating an uneven playing field that may reduce inclusion, thereby affecting engagement, satisfaction, and the overall employee experience (Schertler et al., 2023). For example, diminished social presence can erode trust, hinder collaboration, and weaken team cohesion (Florian J. Meier, 2023). Additionally, proximity bias based on an individual's location can further exacerbate these challenges (Williamson et al., 2024). The Metaverse offers substantial opportunities to establish an inclusive hybrid workplace by tackling key challenges such as isolation, proximity bias, inclusion, and collaboration. Utilizing its features, organizations have the potential to foster a more equitable, engaging, and unified work environment. Thus, this study aims to investigate issues surrounding two essential aspects of inclusion—social isolation and proximity bias in hybrid workplace and exploring how the Metaverse can effectively address these challenges. For this study we plan to use three stage qualitative research process. Stage 1: Pre-test, Stage 2: Experiment, Stage 3: Interviews. We plan to perform pilot research before doing the major interviews, so that we could ensure objective of the study would function in reality. There’s scant evidence that organizations have experimented Metaverse technology specifically to address challenges related to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in Hybrid Workplace. So, we expect this study will add more rigor in literature of workplace by investigating the complex dynamics among technology, the evolving hybrid work model, with crucial emphasis on DEI.

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