the stats show screens are taking over our lives
In the UK, mentalhealth.org.uk reports that 38 million adults access the internet every day. That’s 76% of the adult population. Atomik Research claims the average UK adult spends more than 6 hours on a screen every day – that’s over 90 days per year!!!
On average, internet users aged 16 and over spend more than 20 hours online each week, and more than 70% have a social networking profile. Furthermore, The Telegraph reports that one in five of all adults spending as much as 40 hours a week on the web and a 2019 study by Ofcom found that nearly every adult in the UK uses a mobile phone (96%).
"it’s easy to see how our use of technology is impacting productivity"
what is tech doing to our wellbeing?
Technology and its effect on wellbeing and mental health has long been debated, with increasing evidence showing that overuse of technology can have a negative impact on wellbeing, productivity, and relationships.
In 2019, the all-party parliamentary group on social media and young people’s mental health and wellbeing released a report saying the social media addiction should be considered a disease. The World Health Organization also proposed adding ‘gaming disorder’ to the International Classification of Diseases manual.
Sleep deficit, anxiety, stress, and depression which are all associated with internet addiction, have been related to mobile phone usage too (De-Sola Gutiérrez et al., 2016)
There is no doubt that technology brings us together, but it also tears us apart. There are multiple research papers written about how relationships can be negatively impacted by smartphone use.
what about in the workplace?
Many employers are already taking action to ensure staff can disconnect out of hours. Volkswagen has configured its servers so emails can only be sent to employees phones from half an hour before the working day begins to half an hour after it ends and not at all during weekends. Other companies such as Tesco and the British Museum acknowledge the impact mobile phones can have on staff productivity and relationships, and have banned mobile phones from the workplace completely.
Being ‘switched on’ all of the time is also a subject of debate, with many employers taking action to ensure staff can disconnect out of hours. Volkswagen, has configured its servers so emails can be sent to employees phones from half an hour before the working day begins to half an hour after it ends only and not at all during weekends.
So, with all this considered, we think it might be time to have a techtimeout...
We've compiled a list of some of the most commonly asked questions about techtimeout.
Still got questions? Get in touch with us; we would love to chat with you about how tech impacts you, your family or your workplace and see if there are any ways that we can help.
With technology always by our side we don't always notice the signs of addiction. Remember you can be addicted to behaviours and it doesn't necessarily need to be destroying your life. We recommend taking some time to really take notice of your habits and take some time away from your phone, tablet and laptop and see if you experience any cravings.
Ask yourself, do you find yourself spending more time on technology than you would like to? Do you find checking your phone interrupts other activities and conversations? How do you feel when your phone runs out of battery?
We give you the knowledge and tools to make positive change at home and in the workplace. We do this with training, workshops and resources offering practical advice and actionable steps.
You can learn to stop and look up from your phone, tablet or laptop. You will be able to manage digital distractions, recognise when you're spending too long on your tech, and take control of your time to benefit productivity, wellbeing and focus.
It's hard to imagine a world without smartphones but really they're still a relatively new phenomenon. In 2019, it was estimated that 95% of households in the UK had a mobile phone - only 20 years before this figure was less than 50%. Because of this and the fact that technology is always evolving, there's not enough research to fully understand the long-term impact.
Research is still in its infancy but the findings and predictions so far are quite alarming. The links between overuse and addiction, mental health issues and declining productivity are becoming clearer. You can see more about the science here.
Yes, you can still take time out from tech without it impacting your ability to do your job. We love tech and the fact it allows us to work from anywhere at anytime. It's more a case of recognising any behaviours that are problematic such as mindless scrolling, compulsive checking and other addictive behaviours. By introducing boundaries and habits, you can thrive professionally and personally.
Don't worry, we're not encouraging people to throw away their phones completely. We're all for using technology in ways that helps you personally professionally. It's about finding a balance and reducing the amount of mindless and unconscious usage of technology. In fact, you will find employees are more productive and happier as a result.
what are people saying
We truly believe in the benefits of techtimeout, but don’t just take our word for it.
“So much of our time both at work and at home is spent on phones and computers, with notifications popping up here, there, and everywhere. Technology has so much power for good, but only if we also know how to step away from it and give our brain and body the chance to both enjoy the power of connection with people, nature, and rest.
At MHFA England®, we are proudly paving the way for positive mental health in the workplace, and as part of our approach to wellbeing we will be partnering with techtimeout to host this year's digital wellbeing day ‘techtimeout tuesday’ on 28 November to encourage improvements in our digital habits, and we'll be encouraging our network of Mental Health First Aiders to get involved too."
CEO, Mental Health First Aid England
"We’re in the PR & communications business. In today’s digital world that means we inevitably spend a lot of time on tech. The health and well-being of our team is paramount. They know they can take a break, go for a walk, take time out any time of the day but we know all companies aren’t like us. That’s why techtimeout is such a fantastic initiative – by encouraging leaders to engage with staff on the issue of mental health and wellness it has put the issue on the national business agenda."
Be Bold Media
"It's very easy for the act of making time away from the screen to slip down the priority list, so the techtimeout campaign came at a great time in a year where the divide between work and home life has got increasingly blurry. It was great to intentionally get out for a walk at lunchtime and leave my phone at home, and I noticed how much more recharged I felt for the rest of the day. This is definitely something that I would like to keep up!"
Birmingham St Marys Hospice
"In a world where a phone, tablet, computer, games consoles and all the other screens we see daily are prolific, it’s important to step back and appreciate that they're only machines. The initiative by techtimeout was an important idea to me to ensure I help my daughter grow up with a healthy relationship with technology, not just being glued to the thing like I find myself far too often."
"The majority of our employees are being forced to work remotely due to the Coronavirus Pandemic and are more reliant than ever on using technology to stay in touch. Their wellbeing is of great concern to us. We encouraged our staff to take 10 minutes away from their laptops, to go for a lunchtime walk, or a walk before or after work as part of techtimeout tuesday."
Cllr. Graham Breeze
Powys County Council
"The techtimeout10 challenge made a huge difference to the team. We all made the effort to turn off and go outside or do something we loved, and we shared what we were doing with each other - everyone had smiles on their faces and it was great for me as a manager to know that my staff were taking some time out for themselves and stepping away from their screens"
Managing Director, J&PR