Like all companies working in the PR and communications industry, J&PR staff face a daily challenge of supporting clients and responding quickly to information requests, posts and news. The work is demanding and time critical. If the media needs something a PR professional will want to get it to them straight away. A single unanswered request will likely fail to get a client or product featured and potentially jeopardise months of campaign planning. No PR agency can afford to ever disconnect completely anymore with 24-hour access to social media, emails and project management systems. But with industry burnout at an all time high, especially amongst younger staff, J&PR is committed to prioritising wellbeing and supporting staff have healthier relationships with technology.
- To help staff develop better relationships with technology
- To promote a balance between technology and life
- To incorporate digital wellbeing into the company’s existing Wellness Programme
Playing guitar, gardening, walking, watching the kids whizz around the BMX track
number of staff
- Happier and more productive staff
- A richer, more inclusive Wellness Programme that incorporates digital wellbeing
- Recognition as techtimeout ambassadors
- A whole office approach to digital wellbeing that extends to every worker, remote or otherwise
- Working with specialists who can expertly guide you to better digital working practices
- Creating a techtimeout programme that’s specific to your company’s culture and needs
- Asking staff to upload photos of their weekly techtimeouts, to see what everyone’s up to, get inspired about future techtimeouts and be held accountable!
the wellbeing journey...
J&PR’s journey with techtimeout began in November 2020 when the team signed up to techtimeout Tuesday, the company’s first annual awareness day. Along with hundreds of others, facing digital fatigue, the team pledged to spend time away from their technology for part of the day. Some enjoyed quiet time walking the dog whereas others chose guitar playing or baking. Getting involved in the first techtimeout event generated a lot of discussion around tech use.
Sophie Coombs, J&PR’s Digital Account Manager, explained “When lockdown happened and we moved to homeworking, there was a huge pressure to continue meeting our clients needs in spite of the challenges. Everyone noticed an enormous increase in the amount of screen time we had and there was a definite sense of digital fatigue across the company. Our social lives also became increasingly played out on screens so getting some time away from screens was really important. The techtimeout Tuesday challenge was the start of our journey towards a better balance between technology and life."
After the success of participating in techtimeout Tuesday, the team was committed to improving digital health and wellbeing and signed up to the techtimeout10 Challenge in March 2021. This challenge is a 10 day challenge that asks everyone to put down their technology for part of the day and participate in a tech-free activity. Provided with sleeping bag pouches for their smartphones and activity cards to provide tech-free ideas, staff responded extremely positively.
An overwhelming response to the techtimeout10 challenge, resulted in J&PR creating their own in-house techtimeout challenge where every member of the team is challenged to spend 30 minutes away from tech every week. This has to be logged and a photo has to be uploaded. At the end of six months, a mini prize ceremony is held to celebrate commitments to techtimeouts, including a special prize for the most unique activity. In December, the company then makes a donation to a charity of choice for staff who have logged a complete year of techtimeouts.
In addition to launching its own ongoing techtimeout challenge, J&PR signed up to its second annual techtimeout awareness day in November 2021. With greater freedom this year, the team were able to enjoy a tech-free lunch break together and reflect on how far they have come as a company in recognising and prioritising digital wellbeing.
Sophie is one of a growing number of techtimeout ambassadors in the UK and beyond. Ambassadors demonstrate an ongoing commitment to healthy technology use in their business, network and wider community. Currently, there are techtimeout advocates championing a tech and life balance from the IT, manufacturing and events sectors.
“J&PR has always been very passionate about health and wellbeing in the workplace”, commented Sophie. “Since 2016, we have had a Wellness programme in place and it is constantly evolving to meet new workplace demands. Our first involvement with techtimeout at the end of 2020 resulted in dramatic, positive change across the business. In July 2021 this was strengthened by our commitment to signing the Mental Health Charter and becoming techtimeout accredited. Personally, I also became a techtimeout ambassador because digital wellbeing is something I feel very passionate about.”
the bottom line
Commenting on the support and services that J&PR have received over several years, Sophie concluded “techtimeout is a fantastic initiative and our journey with the team has been outstanding. We would not hesitate to recommend techtimeout to any business looking to develop better digital working practices for their teams and maintain and happy and productive working environment.”