Life After the Virus: Good Work in a Good Society

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Jericho curates a number of client programmes on major public policy issues and areas of significant societal concern. Subjects range from taxation to transport; investment to housing and infrastructure; and technology to nuclear power and adult social care.

At the heart of each programme is a Community of Influence – a representative, diverse and dissenting mix of business leaders, politicians and policy makers; experts & academics; campaigners and activists; media & commentators – and a commitment to a better society and the common good. The community helps shape and create new policy ideas, and initiatives, reflecting a 45-degree Theory of Change, where top-down meets bottom-up, and a determination to break beyond the usual echo chambers.

Since 2015, Jericho has built and curated a coalition around the Future of Work and Good Work in a Good Society. The programme, emphasising the need for human-centric thinking and actions, was initially funded and supported by CIPD.

Jericho is now looking to broaden the programme’s reach and bring new supporters into the fold. The COVID-19 crisis adds poignancy and urgency.

The Jericho Good Work community is 1300-strong.

Good Work in a Good Society: Programme Overview

  • Thought-leadership and influencer/public engagement programme on a topic of high relevance and resonance in current environment
  • Engages and extends existing Jericho Good Work Community (1300-strong): business leaders; politicians & policymakers; experts & academics; campaigners, activists, civil society players; media and commentators
    Strong, original content, authored by expert journalists; can be re-purposed across multiple formats and channels (see “delivery” below)
  • Option of further campaigning platforms, including potential for a National Conversation in H2 2020/ H1 2021
    An intensive, six-month project
  • Funding required (c. £75k, depending on content and research options)


The Jericho Good Work Community – At A Glance

Good Work in a Good Society: Programme Delivery

  • Three (virtual) roundtables – via Zoom – between early May and mid-July 2020. Up to 18 participants (intimate format)
  • Alternatively, three webinars, aligned to the core themes. Key speaker plus two panellists. Up to 100 participants for each event (extended format)
  • Both versions include editorial-led provocations based on themes plus summary write-ups
  • Themed around:
    • Good Work and Good Health (Coronavirus, wellbeing, mental health)
    • Good Work and The Political Agenda(Brexit and radical de-centralisation)
    • Good Work and Key Business Issues(climate emergency and tech disruption/ AI). More information below
  • Preview and wrap podcast, including key interviewees
  • All print and audio content produced and socialised across Good Work and client communities – including social media push and option of paid promotions
  • Amplification through PR (via client teams)

(Photo credit JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)

Content Options

  • Three additional podcasts or short films, aligned to the content themes
  • Ghosted content (800-word articles plus a couple of long-reads ) for placement in likes of FT, Standard, New Statesman, Guardian, Management Today etc.
  • Content Editor: Matthew Gwyther, former Editor, Management Today and presenter, BBC Radio 4 In Business
  • Content used as flags for key broadcast outlets (TV and radio) and research teams – e.g. Radio 4 Today; Newsnight; Sky News etc. Include these within community of influence.
  • News releases based on original research (see below)

Additional Research Options 

Option to add benchmark and/ or tracking data on key issues and sentiment, to the core programme. 

1 Benchmarking: Relative Productivity and Wellbeing

Quantitative polling of the Good Work Community to help understand employees’ productivity and wellbeing in this time of reset, change and re-build.


  • Benchmark of the relative productivity of people in different sectors
  • Understanding of the support they need from their employer in order to improve productivity
  • Understanding the scale and breadth of the challenges they face
  • Reaction to the changing needs of employees, taking into account the very different situation as working lives become more entwined with home and personal life
  • Key insights for business and political decision-makers
[A further option exists to extend this research to the programme sponsor’s own workforce, in order to assess levels of productivity and happiness and what additional support is needed. Assessed against the Good Work community benchmark] Assessed against the Good Work community benchmark

2 Tracking: Sentiment Barometer

Quantitative and qualitative insights from the Good Work Community – delivering a near-constant source of insight and data on topical issues related to Good Work in a Good Society. 

An engagement and information collection exercise (via the community) & publicity tool (via publicised content) the Barometer collects data and tracks progress against the programme’s ambition providing:

  • Rich source of diagnostics and media-worthy insight and verbatim commentary
  • Statistically robust data (benchmarks and tracking) on each of the three themed areas, supplemented by qualitative interviews in each
  • Understanding of how positive change can be achieved (and mechanisms/ activities/ behaviours to do so)

Three Initial Content & Discussion Themes

Theme One: 
Good Work and Good Health (COVID-19, wellbeing, mental health)

The UK, like countries elsewhere, is in the grip of the Coronavirus – with unprecedented levels of state engagement with employers and employees; mass, if temporary, unemployment; and enforcement of home and remote working and a greater reliance on technology for meeting and convening points. Whole sectors – from retail to leisure – now face an existential crisis.

What will emerge on the other side? What are the implications for  employment and mid- to long-term job security? And are we seeing the end of 20th century, office-based ways of working, that many have long predicted?

Meanwhile, “wellbeing” remains front-of-mind for many of those thinking through the future world of work, aligned to growing mental health concerns in both the workplace and beyond. Beyond COVID-19, itself a hiatus, what is to be done to make working lives happier, less stressful and more fulfilling for all?

CIPD’s 2018 UK Working Lives Survey showed that 15% of the UK workforce are under-employed and one in six is underdeveloped. The research still shows that one in ten people say that they often feel ‘miserable’ at work. The lack of access to training remains alarming.

The world of work is changing rapidly with technology being a major driver. The digital revolution has been upon us for more than a decade. What do quality jobs and good work really mean – and need – in this context? How does this link to the productivity agenda?

Alongside this, humans interacting face-to-face introduce a potentially fruitful serendipity. Things happen when people spend time together. Studies show that remote workers get lonely and sometimes miserable: we are social animals if only in that it gives us a chance for office discussions about the football. 

Theme Two:
Good Work and The Political Agenda (Brexit and radical de-centralisation)

The implications of Brexit may not be centre-stage in the media right now but they have not gone away.

The UK’s departure from the European Union – and the end of “free movement of labour” – will inevitably have a profound impact on future jobs and skills, heightened by the eventual fall-out from the COVID-19 tumult.

In addition, following the December 2019 General Election, the Conservative government is now committed to a programme of “radical de-centralisation”, shifting power and funding away from London and the South East and supporting major (infrastructure and likely employment) projects in the “red wall” constituencies, many of whom elected a Conservative MP for the first time last year. What impact will these seismic shifts have on the Good Work and Quality Jobs agenda?

The UK government is using the opportunity of Brexit to open Britain’s doors to the world’s top scientists and mathematicians, creating an uncapped “Global Talent” route into the UK while at the same time closing the door to many unskilled EU migrants. The Prime Minister claims that the new approach shows Britain will remain open to highly skilled migrants after Brexit; the new regime replaces the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent route, which had an annual cap of 2,000 people. PM Johnson says there will no longer be a cap on the number of top scientists, researchers and mathematicians who will be able to come to Britain; they will also be assisted if they wanted to put down roots in the country.

But what do we mean by “skilled” anyway? How do we rank care workers, hospital porters, food truck drivers, fruit pickers – after the crisis?

How is this proposed policy likely to impact on those behind the ‘Red Wall’, the so-called “left-behinds” who voted in December’s election? What new employment openings will be created for those on £26,000 a year or less after the new immigration rules come into being? Where is the Good Work for the poorly educated and poorly-qualified unskilled? How does this fit into The Industrial Policy? The agendas of the regional Mayors? The response to COVID-19? How can the Great Levelling Up lead to more Good Work?

Theme Three:
Good Work and Key Business Issues (climate emergency and tech disruption/ AI)

Recent research confirms that “trust in business” is best built by addressing the two most pressing business issues of our times – the Climate Emergency and the impact of AI and tech. disruption.

How can both be handled well, aligned to the Good Work and Quality Jobs agenda? Many have warned previously that the tech. revolution cannot/ should not lead to cohorts of human “bad robots”. Work needs to be meaningful and fulfilling and contribute to a better society for all.

Exponential improvements in new technologies – computing power, machine learning, artificial intelligence systems, automation, autonomous vehicles, health and resource technologies, and the Internet of Things, among others – are expected to radically transform social and economic life. These changes have the potential to create an era of widespread abundance, or a second machine age that radically concentrates economic power. Which path we take – a future between Star Trek and the Matrix – will depend on the type of politics and institutions we build. And the backdrop to this is an urgent necessity to respond to the demands of climate change and to de-carbonise our economy.

The structural problems of the UK economy go back decades but have become impossible to ignore since the financial crisis of 2008. COVID-19 adds a further dimension.

For the 100 years before the financial crisis, output per worker grew by about 2% a year on average but since 2010 it has slowed to 0.5% a year. Had it continued to grow at its former rate, the economy would be about 20% bigger than it currently is.

Europe has world-class companies but none of them were set up within the past 30 years. There is no equivalent of Facebook, Amazon or Google: the reason the UK has turned to Huawei to build its 5G mobile network is because the Chinese company is ahead of Europe’s rivals: Nokia and Ericsson. For example, the UK is one of the world leaders in artificial intelligence and could seize a competitive advantage once it can set its own regulations.

Robert Phillips, Matthew Gwyther, Neal Lawson, Becky Holloway
Jericho Chambers
April 2020

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