The Office Reset podcast #07: Avatars and influencing employee behaviour, part 2


In part 1 of this special avatar series, we discussed how avatars can help with zoom fatigue and allow us to express our personalities in the workplace.

But there are long-term consequences to think about too – as my guest Professor Rabindra (Robby) Ratan, associate professor and AT&T Scholar at Michigan State University’s Department of Media and Information explains in this episode.

The way our avatar looks and behaves in the virtual world can change the way we act in real-life. Seeing your avatar exercising, for instance, may make you want to go to the gym. Making your avatar taller could make you negotiate better - this is all known as the Proteus Effect.


  • How workplaces can boost creativity with ‘creative looking’ avatars

  • Tackling gender stereotypes and other biases in avatars

  • Swapping avatars with colleagues and empathy in the workplace

On how companies can achieve company goals by assigning avatars

Based on my understanding of how people are influenced by their avatar identity characteristics, you could increase productivity and creativity in the workplace by assigning them the right avatars. So it’s essential that these companies think very clearly.

On avatar characteristics and their influence

If you use an avatar that looks like an inventor, you are more likely to come up with creative ideas during a brainstorming task than if you just use a plain-clothed avatar. If you use a musician avatar, you will play instruments in a more creative way. If you use a healthy looking avatar, you will exercise more vigorously for longer periods. There are many ways the avatar appearance influences your perception of yourself and that changes your behaviour.

Recommended reads

If you missed part 1 of this avatar series, check it out here.

You can find more podcast episodes on Apple podcasts, Spotify, and other platforms. If you would like to facilitate a discussion or even send some feedback, you can email me at: