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How is the metaverse addressing the crippling impact of social anxiety in the workplace

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35% of UK workforce are unable to fulfil ANY kind of public communication without acute anxiety  

Rethinkly’s software is currently being used by IBM and the NHS as government injects £400 million into employee wellbeing  

In the wake of discourse surrounding organisational productivity, absenteeism, mental health issues and long-term sickness, new national research from the UK’s leading virtual platform – Rethinkly – unveils a first-of-its-kind study addressing the crippling impact of social anxiety, inhibiting millions from feeling happy in the workplace. Government reports from the end of last year indicate that the UK’s collective productivity is currently at its lowest and continues to rapidly decline post-pandemic. What was originally speculated to be a ‘symptom of laziness’ or ‘quiet quitting’ is now emerging as an inherent issue at the core of many UK businesses – a worsening epidemic of social anxiety. 

Anecdotal testimony is available on request. Common symptoms of social anxiety include: 26% of workers who feel workplace tension and confrontation are the hardest part of their role, in addition to 18% who worry they will be judged for making a mistake. Used widely within the NHS and by corporate firms such as IBM, the Rethinkly software removes all real-world references to create a safe space that is designed to inspire autonomy of expression.

Today, Rethinkly’s enlightening research highlights that miscommunication might be at the heart of this pattern and in turn, is worsening mental health issues in the UK’s workforce as an alarming 35% of workers admit they are unable to fulfil any kind of public delivery – presentations, client meetings, etc – without some form of anxiety. To this end, 15% are increasingly taking time off due to feeling so challenged resulting in a disproportionate dip in productivity (28%).  
Staff can anonymously enter a virtual world, alongside their colleagues, and communicate using avatars. Co-founders – Andrew Jackson and David Tinker – discuss why miscommunication exists in so many offices and further outline how virtual reality tools can be used to promote better well-being. 

Key stats:

  • 25% feel that they have no voice in the workplace 
  • 35% say they are unable to fulfil any kind of public delivery – presentations, client meetings, etc – without acute anxiety
  • 28% say that the inability to communicate within the workplace has had the largest impact on productivity 
  • 18% worry that their employees will judge them for making a mistake, so, therefore, do not take any accountability 
  • 22% say that verbal communication with bosses and peers is the hardest part of the job 
  • 26% harbour all workplace tension and find confrontation too difficult 

In line with the Chancellor’s acknowledgement of high economic inactivity levels and reports of long-term absence due to poor mental health, Rethinkly’s data goes some way in explaining that an inherent culture of fear is a fundamental culprit in contributing to absenteeism and feeling disconnected from work. Almost one in five (18%) state that they worry their employees will judge them for making a mistake, and a further 35% are unable to fulfil any kind of public delivery without acute anxiety, subsequently stunting growth and effective communication.

How does Rethinkly work:
The research further unearths that toxic relationships with peers and managers might be the fundamental cause of poor workplace communication. With a quarter (26%) confessing that they harbour all workplace tension, the impact of which is now observed in money lost. reports suggest that poor communication was found to be costing UK businesses the equivalent of £7,675 per employee per year. 
With words in the physical realm serving less of an effective solution, Rethinkly harnesses virtual reality to allow individuals to express themselves when speaking becomes near impossible. 
The platform offers coaching and wellbeing support for every employee, providing not only benefits in terms of scalability but also cost-effectiveness, coming in at a fraction of the price compared to individual coaching. 

Andrew Jackson, co-founder of Rethinkly, comments on the instrumental value of creating a psychological safe space to improve communication at work: 

“Most challenges at work stem from a lack of or just bad communication. Communication challenges are directly aligned with morale, productivity, and commitment which have real business impact. Effective communication and building a strong culture based on healthy engagement are often talked about but surprisingly difficult to achieve. But when organisations start to embed and grow critical communication skills and adopt them as a competitive advantage, they can start to see a significant shift in their trajectory.
“Ambitious organisations are using tools like Rethinkly to discover what their talent really thinks and feels only then do you have real power through more comprehensive data to make positive changes.”

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