Skip to content

Engage the Rightway on Health, Safety, and Wellbeing: Harnessing Virtual Reality for Cultural Transformation

In the world of large-scale construction projects, ensuring a solid approach to health, safety, and wellbeing amidst leadership is paramount. Tideway, the driving force behind London's Thames Tideway Tunnel project, recognised the need for a unified vision to foster a safe and productive workforce. Laura Bromley, Tideway's Health, Safety, and Wellbeing Engagement Lead, sheds light on the challenges that have reshaped their approach to cultural transformation. 

The Challenge of Mixed Messages 

Bromley recalls the initial hurdles Tideway faced in establishing a strong health, safety, and wellbeing strategy across its network of contractors and partners.  

"We didn’t have any sort of behavioural programme within the Tideway team," Laura explains. "Our client team had very little exposure to behavioural science and why it’s important." 

To address this challenge, Tideway sought to develop an engaging program that aligned with its core values while complementing the initiatives of its joint venture partners.  

"We wanted a new approach, consistent with what people on-site were being told, but better suited to the office environment our people work in," Bromley emphasises. 

The Birth of a Vision: Embracing Innovation 

Determined to chart a new course in cultural transformation, Tideway issued a call for solutions that exceeded traditional training methods.  

"We didn’t want your usual 'sit in front of a PowerPoint all day'," Laura says. "We wanted it to be interactive – to give people an experience they would think back on, and a message that was sticky and long-lasting." 

Tribe presented a proposal involving virtual reality technology as a means of engage leaders. 

"It was quite a challenge – to do something that had never been done before," Laura reflects. "But with the VR elements Tribe suggested, it was something completely new and really fresh." 

Harnessing the Power of Virtual Reality 

VR technology offers an engaging approach to training, transporting participants to immersive environments where they can interact with scenarios relevant to their work.  

"In a typical training session, everyone puts a headset on, then suddenly you’re transported to one of the famous London landmarks where we work, meeting people who work for Tideway and hearing how they feel about it," says Laura. 

Despite the initial novelty of VR, Laura acknowledges the importance of ensuring accessibility and user-friendliness.  

"We are very mindful of that when we develop content with Tribe; that there’s going to be confusion around using the VR kit," she notes. "So the content is very welcoming and introduces them gently and simply to this whole new world." 

The Road Ahead: Continuous Innovation 

As Tideway continues to embrace VR as a tool for cultural transformation, Laura emphasises the importance of ongoing development and adaptation.  

"We want to keep building our courses; the last thing we want is something that stays the same for five years," she asserts. "It has to grow and develop along with the project." 

Looking to the future, Laura envisions VR as a catalyst for sustained engagement and innovation within the construction industry.  

"Within the construction industry in general – that’s what everyone is striving to do," she concludes. 

Find out more