at a glance
- Company: Biscoes Solicitors
- Location: Hampshire
- Sector: Legal
- Number of staff: 150
their main aim
- To raise awareness of the negative impact of technology overuse
- To encourage staff to take time away from technology
- To bolster Biscoes health and well-being programme
key benefits to Biscoes
- Weekly techtimeout mailer encourages staff to take regular breaks from screens
- Annual participation in national techtimeout day boosts company wide commitment to better digital wellbeing and health
- New staff inducted into Biscoes techtimeout programme and given welcome packs on joining
- Increased productivity through better relationship with technology
Biscoes most popular techtimeout activities
- Walking the dog
- Awarding ‘timeout’ prizes for the most creative activity e.g. a recipe book
- Asking employees to share photos of their techtimeout to create montages for internal marketing
- Regular reviews of techtimeout activities to keep staff engaged
- Making inspiring company videos of staff participating in techtimeout activities
Biscoes Solicitors led the way...
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 began to explore new initiatives that would support staff to have healthier relationships with technology.
Traditionally, the UK legal sector has been slow to adopt new technologies but the recent need to deliver client services, many 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 of burnout among professionals. In the last 12 months, 69% of survey respondents had experienced mental ill-health, with 65% reporting that they checked emails outside of working hours to keep up with their workload.¹
at a company level, Biscoes made similar observations:
“We were seeing a substantial increase of work-related communication being made outside of working hours,” explained Debbie Brown, HR Manager at Biscoes. “Solicitors would respond immediately to information requests, especially from clients, almost 24/7. This practice then cascaded down the teams. Smartphones and instant notifications were making it very difficult for everyone to switch off.”
As an extension to other work-life balance initiatives, such as a self-managed time off policy, Biscoes worked with techtimeout to raise awareness of technology overuse and encourage time away from their screens. Initially, Biscoes signed up all of its staff members to participate in the techtimeout10 challenge.
Launched on 1st March 2021, staff from all levels, from the senior management team to trainee solicitors, admin staff and apprentices were encouraged to put their phone away in their challenge bag for a set period and enjoy some time away from screens and notifications. As Debbie explained they wanted the challenge to raise concerns about screen overuse in the company and demonstrate that it was perfectly fine to have a break and switch off your phone.
“We gave staff lots of ideas on how they could spend some time away from their screens - from doing a jigsaw to going for a walk - and we used the senior management team to lead by demonstrating good examples.”
“We didn’t specify how long they needed to spend on their activity; we just wanted them to reflect on how often they sat at their screens and provided alternative activities. It was a fun challenge with a powerful message, as too much technology can have a negative impact on mental health and productivity.”
At that time, Biscoes had at least 50% of staff back working in the office, approximately 35% working from home and the remainder on furlough and the challenge was promoted to everyone. Debbie explains:
“The techtimeout10 challenge was easy to launch. techtimeout managed all of the logistics; they posted out the challenge bags, which included a phone sleeping bag and activity tracker, with our compliment slips. The whole process was extremely easy and provided a springboard for a digital wellbeing programme that we continue to run to this day.”
techtimeout also provided a range of email templates to help Biscoes manage staff communications and promote the challenge. Eye-catching social media graphics also enabled the company to create tailored posts with minimum effort. Biscoes used these very effectively to share employee techtimeout activities via LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook and build enthusiasm.
The initial techtimeout10 challenge was so successful that Biscoes has 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 relationship with technology. New recruits to the company also receive information and support about Biscoes commitment to healthy digital relationships and receive a starter pack which includes a phone sleeping bag. The company also participated in the national awareness day which is held at the end of November to encourage everyone to pledge time away from their screens.
Alison Lee, Managing Director, Biscoes concluded:
“It is vital that 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.”
¹ LawCare’s ‘Life in the Law 2020/21’