Korean firm Kakao faces internal resistance over metaverse work system

Korean firm Kakao faces internal resistance over metaverse work system

Kakao, the South Korean tech company, has reportedly announced that it will be changing its Metaverse Work System, to allow employees to work remotely while remaining connected to each other online at all times, after receiving criticism for intrusive monitoring,

Namkoong Whon, CEO, Kakao, in an announcement directed towards employees, stated that he will consider making changes to the ground rules, which includes the rules involving mandatory real-time voice communication among coworkers and specified working hours.

Namkoong added that employees can vote if they need to implement the real-time voice communication policy post the beta test of the innovative work system.

Under the company’s proposed Metaverse Work System, which was disclosed by the firm at the start of the week, employees will work remotely while connecting with coworkers virtually, simulating a real office scenario.

Despite the policy's name, no work will be performed on any metaverse platform. Employees are instead expected to communicate via a variety of online communication methods as if they were working from a virtual workspace.

They would use Kakao Work, a business chat platform that supports text, phone, as well as video communications. The proposal went on to say that real-time chat apps like Discord will be used for participatory team meetings and communication.

It also mandated that employees work from 1 pm to 5 pm. Prior to this, the firm had a flexible working hour policy that allowed employees to choose when they wanted to start and end their shifts.

Under the new regime, staff members will work online for four days per week. Meanwhile, they will continue to connect offline for meetings for the rest of the day, but not strictly at the workplace.

The latest working system is set to start on July 1, thereby discontinuing the work-from-home arrangement that has been in effect ever since the coronavirus pandemic hit.

 Employees were outraged by the revelation and took to publishing their complaints on an internal online community forum.

Workers compared the virtual work system to a panopticon prison, which is a concept in which prison cells are set in a circle surrounding a central observation tower so that prisoners can be always watched.

Despite employee outrage, Kakao has stated that the new work policy will remain in place.

Source credit: http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20220601000181