There has been progress towards a technological revolution/digital transformation in the manufacturing sector for years, and after decades of traditional working practices more and more of our clients are now beginning to automate routine processes and streamline communication across their supply chain. As a technical innovator, being able to steer my own firm, FBC Manby Bowdler Solicitors, towards greater efficiency and profitability is one of the reasons we’ve continued to be successful. Thanks to the pandemic and subsequent shift to home-working, we’re seeing the rate of progress become a seismic shift and a gentle, toe-dipping in technology has rapidly evolved into a full-body immersion.
As a business FBC’s digital transformation programme has accelerated far quicker than anyone thought possible. Automated documentation systems, advanced analytics, cloud-based software and digitalised case management systems now mesh with our existing workflow, and ultimately improve efficiency, productivity and even profitability.
But that is only half the story. All advantages gained by technical advancements need to run in tandem with our greatest asset – your staff. For many businesses it seemed impossible that they could operate effectively at home. However, video conferencing calls became the norm, the ping of phones replaced quiet and social media updates regularly interrupted focus. I frequently held online meetings where I could see 4 or 5 technical devices all vying for attention. My own phone began to feel like another limb, to be carried and cared for, in every waking hour.
Clearly, our increased use of technology raised concerns about health and well-being and ultimately productivity. Fortunately I was well-positioned to leverage a new role with techtimeout, an innovative new company that was raising awareness of the importance of taking time out from technology to address work/life balance.
Raise awareness, show understanding and make changes.
I feel very strongly that it is part of our duty of care to employees that we take a proactive approach to technology usage. It is vital that we enable staff to use technology in a way that doesn’t adversely affect their health, wellbeing and personal relationships.
So, where to start? First, we need to raise awareness about the dangers of too much screen time. Show your employees that you're committed to raising awareness of the issue and supporting them with their mental health and productivity. A great place to start is by having conversations and encouraging employees to reflect on their own working practices and screen time. This could begin with simple data collection in the form of an online questionnaire. It is important that you don’t second guess how your employees use technology. In the manufacturing sector the age range of staff is vast; millennials will probably have a very different approach to technology than that of a seasoned employee
Advice for team managers:
- Create open channels of communication
- Be conscious of your working hours and the impact particularly on more junior colleagues
- Schedule emails or consider leaving emails in drafts
- Block out time to do your own work
- Encourage team members to group together questions
- Ask about work/life balance and mental wellbeing during 1-2-1’s
techtimeout already works with a number of different firms, across varying sectors including manufacturing, legal, energy, business services and PR & marketing, helping them to develop healthier relationships with technology. Tantec, the surface treatment company based in Redditch, recently took part in one of the techtimeout challenges. Chris Howey, MD commented:
“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 they’re only machines. The idea of techtimeout was important 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”
If you are looking for solutions to help your teams develop a healthier relationship with technology or want to find out more about techtimeout’s workplace programmes, tools and resources please contact Neil Lloyd at firstname.lastname@example.org.