This week we ask about HR techniques for reducing smoking, and look at the engagement implications of the Priti Patel plane journey back to the UK. We also explore the values differences between Euroscepticism and opposition to migration. And of course, we bring you Charlie's Attic, the controversial return flight that accompanies the outgoing TCC Weekly each Friday.
It was reported this week that a Japanese company are rewarding non-smokers with an extra six days’ holiday, to compensate for all the time out of the office others have spent. It follows non-smokers working at Piala in Tokyo voicing disgruntlement, that while they worked solidly, their fag-puffing colleagues were benefitting from 15 minute smoking breaks throughout the day.
The new policy is an enthusiastic endorsement of the carrot over the stick in terms of corporate, and health-related, behaviour change, and seems to be bearing fruit – Piala reports that four employees have already given up smoking since the extra holiday was brought in.
It’s also a breath of fresh air, if you’ll excuse the pun, to see an organisation resist the temptation of the perhaps easier corporate nudge option of creating obstacles for those not following desired behaviour, and instead take the more creative option of devising rewards for those who are.
Also this week:
The way we interpret emoticons, such as :-) or (^_^), may depend on our experience or culture, as reported here, hinting that we shouldn’t assume everyone will react to communications in the same way
As has become commonly understood in community engagement circles, digital technology has widened the possibilities and simultaneously created new potential pitfalls for public engagement.
On the one hand – and as exemplified on Wednesday evening, when at one point more than 22,000 people were tracking Priti Patel’s flight back to the UK online – technology can bring people together so that power is displaced from the state and into the hands of citizens. When that happens, that newly found power might be used to, say, poke fun at politicians (see this Tweet for example) or, with more significant consequences, kick-start revolutions.
And yet it’s clear that technology also affords governments and local authorities the opportunity to engage and understand citizens in a more sophisticated way than ever before. One example is the way Staffordshire County Council used social media networks to strengthen community consultation on the issue of public sector reform (click through to p.164 on our New Conservations guide to read more).
Either way, what’s clear is that there’s no turning back – innovative, pioneering local councils and forward-looking government departments will embraces technology for the possibilities it affords, and only the most reactionary will pretend new technologies can be ignored.
Political scientist Matthew Goodwin shared the above wordle explaining Brexit this week, and elsewhere a psychology article described the link between fear of physical threats and social conservativism.
We’ve done a lot in this area over the years, and have often found that the Settler tribe are the most hostile on this front. However, there are interesting subtleties within this. The three heat maps below show anti-immigration sentiment, propensity to vote Leave, and anxieties about a world getting more confusing. What’s interesting is the way that opposition to immigration doesn’t overlay directly with the Leave vote. Prospectors who were hostile to immigrants didn’t vote Leave in the near-uniform way that Settlers did.
The north pole of the heat maps tends to be the anti-change pole, whereas the north-east is the pessimism corner. This may sound like semantics, but you can actually be personally optimistic, while wanting the world to stay roughly as it is. Immigration is clearly central to the Leave vote, but this still wasn’t quite a referendum on immigration. Rather, it was a concoction of concern about the changes brought by migrants, along with personal pessimism and fear of a complex future which really helped rack up the leave votes.
And finally this week, Charlie’s Attic, where the court of the Red Tsar mixes readily with the court of Judge Judy: