Over 1.3 million people signed up to take part in Techtimeout Tuesday on November 28th to boost their mental health and productivity. Even Santa has pledged his support via a video on social media.
Some of the UK’s largest household businesses have signed up to the campaign to pledge some time away from their technology. Amongst the sign-ups are employees from Virgin Atlantic, Specsavers, The British Medical Association, Metropolitan Police Service, Ministry of Justice, Weightmans, Sotheby’s, and Bellway, as well as various local councils, professional services firms, NHS Trusts, charities, and universities. Mental Health First Aid England has partnered with the awareness day to encourage improvements in our digital habits.
Participants can pledge any amount of time off tech, from 10 minutes to an hour or longer. Businesses are thinking up novel activities to do as a team. Make It Wild will be planting trees, Bolton University will be holding a one hour board game session, J’adore Models will be doing laughing yoga, and Walker Pritchard will be playing Pictionary over pizza.
Simon Blake, Chief Executive at MHFA England, said, “So much of our time both at work and 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.”
A recent Specsavers survey of 2,000 hybrid workers found that people spend an average of 12 hours a day on their screens, with nearly five of those hours on a laptop, four and a half on phones and around three hours watching television. 83% of respondents admitted they start scrolling before they kiss their partner good morning.
The founder of Techtimeout Tuesday, Stephanie Henson, is surprisingly also a director of two technology companies. She said that becoming more aware of the effects of excessive screen time has helped her to boost productivity and digital wellbeing amongst her teams and the thousands of people who have taken part in Techtimeout Tuesday since it began in 2020.
“Techtimeout Tuesday works with businesses to inspire their employees to break the cycle of excessive screentime, to start creating healthier habits. We picked this particular Tuesday as it follows Black Friday and Cyber Monday when many of us are spending even more time online,” Stephanie said.
“We’re offering a simple way for business leaders to promote digital wellbeing. They just need to sign up on the website and share our resources with their teams. I believe they’ll see a huge boost in productivity and mental wellbeing in their employees. It’s a great way to start the conversation.”
Neuroscientist and co-founder of Neurify, TJ Power, said, “Time without your phone is transformational for your brain chemistry. You will feel a rise in dopamine, making you more motivated and excited and you will feel a rise in oxytocin, making you feel more connected to the people you love. If I had a magic wand and could change one thing in our society, it would be that we have more of these techtimeout moments to disconnect from the outside world and reconnect with the world around us”
Jonathan Garner, Founder of Mind over Tech, is taking part. He said, “Digital tools excite our minds and when we use them all the time with no break they can leave us feeling burnt out. Taking a digital sabbath gives us space to reconnect with ourselves and others. Sign your business up for Techtimeout Tuesday to increase wellbeing and connection in your people!”
Debbie Barber, community manager at walking app trundle, said “This is our second year of getting behind the Techtimeout campaign. Good mental health starts with small steps, downtime away from screens, fresh air and a Techtimeout pouch to pop your phone in!”