Virtual World Platform Rethinkly Aims to Tackle Mental Health Issues in the Workplace
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), long-term ill health is a significant contributing factor to economic inactivity in the UK, as workers take time off to deal with their problems. A considerable portion of these issues is related to mental health. However, Rethinkly, a self-described “virtual world platform,” believes its solution can help employees deal with their problems in the workplace.
Rethinkly’s office software is already being used by organizations such as the NHS in the UK and IBM. Citing its own research that 81% of employees “feel like miscommunication is common in the workplace” and 1-in-3 feel they can’t show their true feelings in this setting, it claims its platform can make workers feel more comfortable expressing themselves, thereby improving collaboration and productivity.
The ONS found that the number of people taking time off work increased by nearly half a million between 2019 and 2022, and separately, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) found that last year, 60% of poor health absences were related to mental rather than physical issues. Rethinkly aims to address this issue by creating a virtual world that empowers people to communicate and express themselves in ways that they would feel uncomfortable doing in the real world.
By creating a virtual world, Rethinkly aims to eradicate “all real-world references” to elicit neutrality. Workers can then create avatars of themselves that can emote for them, which the company claims can provide “enough detachment for reflection and transparent communication.”
Images are also used abundantly in Rethinkly, to help people express themselves in ways that they can’t or don’t want to with words. The NHS has also used the platform to help patients who find it hard or impossible to use words to communicate as well.
Rethinkly also says that the software can be “used under expert direction – which may be appropriate for particularly complex issues including the mental health sector,” and that “users can be taught how to use the software within minutes,” ensuring that everyone can benefit from it. VR is also being researched in this context, perhaps indicating possible future integration with the technology.
Andrew Jackson, co-founder of Rethinkly, notes that “there is a direct payback both financially as data shows spending £1 will get them £5 back, and in growth by unlocking innovation and creativity.”
Rethinkly’s virtual world platform offers a unique solution to the growing problem of mental health issues in the workplace. By creating a safe space for employees to express themselves, Rethinkly aims to improve collaboration and productivity while also addressing the mental health crisis that is affecting so many workers in the UK.
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