In March 2021, Biscoes Solicitors (one of Hampshire’s leading full-service law firms) became the first company to benefit from LawNet’s partnership with techtimeout.
After a year of unprecedented challenges due to the pandemic, and in particular the accelerated use of technology across the business; Biscoes explored new initiatives to support their staff to have healthier relationships with technology.
- To raise awareness of negative impacts of technology overuse
- To encourage staff to take time away from their technology
- To bolster Biscoes health and wellbeing programme
Yoga, baking, dogwalking, and reading
Hampshire, Isle of Wight
number of staff
- Weekly techtimeout mailer encouraging staff to take breaks
- Annual participation in national techtimeout Tuesday boosting commitment to digital wellbeing
- New staff given welcome packs and introduced to wellbeing programme
- Increased productivity through better technology relationship
- Awarding prizes for most creative tech-free activity
- Asking employees to share photos of their activities to create montages for internal marketing
- Regular reviews of techtimeout activities to keep staff engaged
- Making inspired company videos of staff participating in activities
leading the way
Traditionally, the UK legal sector has been slow to adopt new technologies, but the recent need to deliver client services (mainly remotely) means that technology has transformed many legal processes. However, this rapid technological adoption has come at a price for staff who are struggling to manage their work/life integration.
According to a recent survey into the health and wellbeing of legal professionals, there are alarming levels burnout amongst even experts. In the last twelve months, 69% of survey respondents had experienced ill mental health, with 65% reporting that they checked their emails outside of working hours to keep up with their workloads.
As an extension to other work/life balance initiatives, such as a self-managed time-off policy, Biscoes worked with us to raise awareness of technology overuse and to encourage time away from their screens.
Initially, one-hundred and fifty staff members were signed up to take part in our techtimeout10 challenge. Launched on March 1st, 2021, staff from all levels of the company were encouraged to put their phones away in challenge bags for a set time period; and instead enjoy some time away from their screens and notifications. As Debbie continues, they wanted the challenge to raise concerns about screen overuse in the company; and demonstrate that it is perfectly valid to have a break, and switch off your phone.
“We were seeing a substantial increase of work-related communication being made outside of working hours,” explains Debbie Brown, HR Manager.
“Solicitors would respond immediately to information requests – especially from clients – almost 24/7. This practise then cascaded down the teams. Smartphones and instant notifications were making it very difficult for everyone to switch off.”
At the time, at least 50% of staff were working in office, and roughly 35% were working from home. The remainder were furloughed, but the challenge was promoted to everyone.
We also provided a range of email templates to help them manage staff communications and promote the challenge. Eye-catching social media graphics enabled them to create tailored posts with minimum effort. Biscoes used these very effectively to share their employees’ activities through LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook to build enthusiasm.
“We didn’t specify how long they needed to spend on their activity, we just wanted to see them reflect on how often they sat at their screens and provided alternative activities.
It was a fun challenge with a powerful message: too much technology can have negative impacts on both mental health and productivity.”
The initial techtimeout10 challenge was so successful that they have continued to run a weekly techtimeout Tuesday. This aims to provide fresh activity ideas, often around seasonal events; and ultimately encourages staff to be mindful of their ongoing relationships, and receive a starter pack. Biscoes also participated in the national awareness day (held at the end of November) to encourage everyone to pledge time away from their screens.
“The techimeout10 challenge was easy to launch. All the logistics were managed by techtimeout; they posted out the challenge packs, with a phone sleeping bag, activity tracker, and our compliment slips. The whole process was extremely easy, and provided a kickstart for a digital wellbeing programme that we continue to run to this day.”
the bottom line
“It is vital companies recognise responsibility for digital health and wellbeing in the workplace and invest in robust programmes. We are extremely pleased with the service provided by techtimeout, and would not hesitate to recommend their programmes.”