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Nudging our way to a healthier Britain

For the uninitiated, Nudge Theory is the harnessing of behavioural science to convince people to make the right decisions by gentle prodding rather than legal coercion. Even the Conservative party has been seduced by the concept, with David Cameron establishing a dedicated government ‘Nudge Unit’ to look at a range of issues from healthcare to finance — with the emphasis always being on persuasion rather than regulation.

In recent years, the nudge principal has been used to great effect in many public health campaigns, from reducing teenage pregnancy, to stopping smoking and encouraging organ donation.

In the workplace — where recent figures show £13 billion of working days are lost to sickness every year — employers are increasingly wising up to the benefits of providing employees with a ‘nudge’ in the right direction. Smart companies are using social media, roadshows and educational materials to encourage staff to take care of their health. In turn, this has had a positive impact on business with improved morale and reduced absenteeism. Staff also take their knowledge home with them and seek to influence their family and friends. A nudge with a knock-on effect you might say!

OSP has already helped many clients who are seeking to shape behaviour with tailored educational and awareness programmes. If you need a nudge to get your project started, just give us a call!

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