Nudge techniques have led to a revolution in the way organisations think about the hierarchy of choice. Small changes in the way choices are presented — nudges — can have a significant impact on behaviour. This article considers the application of nudge techniques to engineering offices, a working environment populated by a high proportion of skilled professional individuals.

The techniques presented are based on the Nudge methodology, first published in 2008. The authors draw on lessons from direct experience in engineering offices, and from results presented in the public domain. This includes techniques developed by government "nudge units", such as those instituted by the Cameron and Obama governments. The techniques presented are broadly based on the EAST (Easy, Attractive, Social, Timely) framework developed in the UK and intended for application by managers within private industry.

Engineering offices present a special challenge compared with government and other industries. Managers must maintain a functional and profitable environment within an intelligent, diverse, and wilful group of employees. Nudge techniques are particularly applicable to this environment as they offer a mechanism to implement change without prescriptive rules, and without organizational upheaval. In nudge parlance this is known as "libertarian paternalism". This article looks at several potential applications, specifically: embedment and reinforcement of an organization-wide commitment to safety culture; better adherence to document control procedures; improved efficiency and general job performance; improved commercial focus; reduction of anti-social or destructive behaviour; improved office-wide communication, and; increased job satisfaction.

The nudge techniques in this paper are presented in a practical way, designed for direct use by managers. They account for the unique features and requirements of an engineering office environment, and are based on the premise that a small change can lead to significant, measurable improvements.

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