UnPlug EY Assurance keynote debrief 9th Jan 2023

Dear All,


Thank you again for attending UnPlug’s keynote on Digital Resilience in an Always on World at EY on 9th January. 


Below are follow up links on the background research and tools. 


If you are an Android user, Google has a good set of resource on Digital Wellbeing; https://wellbeing.google/.   It has lots of advice and practical tips for configuring Android devices so they’re most helpful to you.  Apple also has a similar resource for those of you using iPhone / iPad; https://support.apple.com/en-ie/HT208982.


As mentioned at the end of the talk I recommend challenging yourself to do the “iPhone effect” (see notes below).  For one day try video calls or family time with no other devices in line of sight and see how it makes you feel.  This will allow you to learn more about your relationship with technology.  Remember, it’s all about you being in control as opposed to tech being in control of you!


Remember that, although we often want to just look at the solutions, awareness is key.  Your behaviour of multitasking changed from 92-75%.  An improvement of nearly 20% in just 15 minutes based on your awareness of the behaviour – that’s pretty impressive!  Also, as we touched on The Right to Disconnect here’s a link to a recent article I published on the subject; https://bit.ly/3uHPdgz.  


Thanks again to Emily and Berniece for their technical assistance and for setting up the keynote.  If you have further questions or are interested in a specific area my contact details are below.


Kind Regards,


Chris Flack

Co-founder, UnPlug

E: chris@unplughq.com

T: +353 1 485 2923

L: https://ie.linkedin.com/in/chris-flack




Historically Digital Wellbeing has been a duty of care.  However, with the increase in digital demands in the last two years along with Right to Disconnect legislation, it is becoming a more strategic component.  When also considering work design, it introduces a real opportunity to help increase staff performance, reduce staff turnover, and improve their wellbeing.



Research has shown that overall working hours have gone up by 20% since March 2020 with average output reducing by 18%[1].  A key driver for this is increased task switching (multi-tasking), constant task switching is exhausting, hence why we feel like we’ve got a lot done when we haven’t necessarily worked effectively.  For example according to research[2];


  • On average we receive 100 emails / day
  • It takes a minimum of 70 seconds to get back to the task in hand
  • That means we spend a minimum of 82 minutes / day just checking emails.  20% of our working time, just checking (not writing) emails. 


Use the tools built into your phone to get an understanding of how you are using your devices.  Once we have an understanding of where we need to make changes we then need to use behavioural nudges (friction as described via BJ Fogg’s model[3]).





iPhone effect – Multiple studies showing the mere presence of a digital device in our line of sight reduces our focus and empathy[4].  Once you have an understanding of where this is impacting you, look to physically change your setup.   For example, if you recognise that you have devices in your bedroom look to change the environment yourself with an alarm clock you really like as it’s a big change.  We recommend voice assists (non-screen), sun rise alarm clocks (any brand) or a digital watch with a vibrating alarm (ideally with no apps / notifications from your phone).


To encourage the habit of focus, take time away from your devices. To assist with this use specific apps to prevent you picking up your smartphone – We recommended using gamified focus apps such as Forest on iPhone /Android (see below).


Digital Friction App limiters;

  • Apple: Settings > Screen Time menu, tap App Limits > Add Limit.
  •  Android: Settings > Digital Wellbeing & parental controls >Tap the chart > Choose app to limit and set how much time

 Digital Friction Email send delays;

  • Microsoft Viva Insight Settings – https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/viva/insights/personal/use/schedule-send


If you’d like to learn more about the area we recommend the following (there are many others – these are our top picks);

  1. Books; Adam Alter – Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked.  Johann Hari – Stolen Focus.
  2. Influencers; Worth following are Cal Newport, Nir Eyal, Sherry Turkle (MIT), Tyler Shores (Cambridge), The Digital Wellness Institute, Amy Blankson and UnPlug.



UnPlug also run the following;


  • Keynotes on “Meaningful Connection in a Hyperconnected World” and “Managing Family Screen Time at Home”


  • Masterclasses (small groups – design thinking, solution oriented) on;
  1. Digital Wellbeing – Individual digital habits with an introduction to frameworks that will sustain them through digital culture.
  2. Digital Culture – Working with organisational culture / work design to develop communication charters and digital working frameworks to encourage norms and values that will support new Digital Wellbeing habits


Please email hello@unplughq.com for more details.


Advice for parents

As there was a question about family screentime I’m including the following advice for parents.  Parents are the best Parent control app.  As children co-regulate it is important that parents lead by example.  If you are checking your email whilst watching TV, whilst that might feel fine, it’s likely also feeding a potential habit of task switching for others in the room.  If you have young families psychological detachment is very important.  Below are some specific resources for parents;

  1. Common Sense Media is the #1 resource for families and digital tech. It reviews all influencers/apps/movies https://www.commonsensemedia.org/
  2. If you have teenage children and are concerned about social media, this recent Jubilee debate with teenagers is an excellent resource. We mentor Emma Lembke – she’s a fantastic 18-year-old! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRkuf3usljM
  3. If you have younger children who are using a lot of tech, try to ensure you are doing the family activities. One excellent app to encourage this (and to get outside) is https://www.geocaching.com/play
  4. If you are looking for a guide to screens at home written by teenagers, curated by clinicians this is an excellent free resource; https://screentimenetwork.org/resource/dear-parents-digital-well-being-resource-teens-parents
  5. The best free documentary on this subject is Childhood 2.0 which focusses on leading by example https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=He3IJJhFy-I
  6. The Netflix documentary “Social Dilemma” is an excellent, if a little dystopian opinion piece on social media. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mqR_e2seeM
  7. If you have concerns about Online Safety we recommend local support from Barnardos (https://www.barnardos.ie/learning-development/training/online- safety-programme) and Cybersafe Ireland (https://www.cybersafekids.ie/)




UnPlug are committed to continually improving our programmes and your suggestions will be taken into account for future training needs. Your feedback is valuable and is much appreciated.  To complete our quick feedback survey either click on the following link;  https://forms.office.com/r/e3FDzApW50                                                           


[4] https://journalistsresource.org/studies/international/global-tech/smartphones-mobile-distracting-cognition-iphone/


[1] https://bfi.uchicago.edu/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/BFI_WP_2021-56.pdf

[2] Gloria Mark https://bit.ly/3dMPvdB

[3] BJ Fogg’s Behaviour Model (think the Domino’s button!);  https://www.behaviormodel.org/

[4] https://journalistsresource.org/studies/international/global-tech/smartphones-mobile-distracting-cognition-iphone/