Transforming one of your conference rooms into a designated wellness area can be an option to encourage well-being for attorneys. ~ Deepa Tailor, Owner and Founder, Tailor Law
What is one way to proactively encourage attorney well-being and avoid burnout?
To help you take proactive steps in encouraging your well-being as an attorney or that of your workforce of attorneys, we asked legal professionals and business leaders this question for their best insights. From having an efficient team of legal assistants to creating a wellness room in the workplace, there are several ways to proactively ensure your well-being and that of your colleague attorneys in the workplace to avoid burnout.
Here are eight ways these leaders proactively encourage attorney well-being:
- Have an Efficient Team of Legal Assistants
- Offer Training Around Mindfulness and Meditation
- Be Flexible With Time Offs
- Provide a Supportive and Healthy Environment
- Open Communication Lines With Managers
- Keep an Eye on Workload
- Grant a Special Day Off
- Create a Wellness Room in the Workplace
Have an Efficient Team of Legal Assistants
A reliable and efficient team of legal assistants goes a long way in taking mundane administrative tasks off the hands of attorneys. This enables attorneys to save time and energy and concentrate on more essential legal work that does justice to their expertise. In addition to handling the paperwork, legal assistants help attorneys conduct crucial yet time-consuming research. Delegation helps avoid burnout and leaves attorneys with extra time to pay attention to their mental and physical health.
Offer Training Around Mindfulness and Meditation
There are many ways to proactively encourage attorney well-being and avoid burnout. One way is to offer additional training to your attorneys around mindfulness and meditation. Many attorneys are already doing this on their own, but it is always beneficial to have training from a professional and to share the experience with colleagues. Offering time off to attend these trainings or allow time for your attorneys to meditate will help them feel supported and will encourage them to continue the practice.
Be Flexible With Time Off
Attorneys depending on where you are in your field can have some of the most mentally and emotionally taxing workloads amongst all forms of workers. With that in mind, it’s important to be flexible with how time off is allotted. If you’re at the head of your firm it may be a good idea to partake in active monitoring of what’s on the plate of each member of staff.
Rather than having a fixed period of time off, it may be better to give time off to those who have had particularly stressful workloads in recent history. Be ready to be flexible with this time off as no two people will be alike in what they can handle. By providing time off when it’s needed, and not just scheduled, you can help to protect your staff from mental fatigue that might otherwise affect their ability to do their jobs well.
Provide a Supportive and Healthy Environment
At our business, we handle cases on expungements and criminal records. We have a legal team who are responsible for quality control on reports that need extra diligence. To ensure that our legal team is operating at their best, we proactively encourage attorney well-being and avoid burnout. We do this by providing a supportive environment.
Aside from an open-door policy, we also encourage breaks and vacation time, support a healthy lifestyle by providing healthy snacks and gym reimbursements, and offer mental health support through several initiatives. We also provide them opportunities for growth. We offer stretch assignments, mentorship programs, and continuing education stipends to encourage our team members to continue developing professionally.
By investing in our legal team’s well-being, we create a sustainable and efficient workforce that can provide the best possible service to our clients.
Open Communication Lines With Managers
Burnout amongst lawyers is on the rise even as the pandemic is coming to an end. Lawyers experiencing burnout have higher rates of job dissatisfaction, anxiety and depression. According to a 2022 Bloomberg report, 52% of lawyers surveyed were experiencing burnout. Poor communication is one of the leading causes of burnout.
A law firm should have a set way for lawyers to speak to their managers about their workload, any issues they are facing at work, and any other personal issues they may be experiencing without fear of repercussions. When a lawyer knows that they can speak openly, they are more likely to seek help which could avoid burnout. Open communication lines build psychological safety and enhance the work culture of community.
Keep an Eye on Workload
Most of the time lawyers experience burnout due to work pressure. They have to do lots of things that are humanly not possible. It’s very important for the firm to always keep an eye on the workload of the lawyers. If the workload is greater than the number of lawyers then it’s necessary to hire more lawyers to balance the workload. While if the workload is not equally divided it’s important to manage the workload equally so that all the lawyers can easily fulfill their duties and chances of burnout will minimize.
Grant a Special Day Off
Every time your law firm reaches a significant milestone, like an increase in revenue or a successful court case, give your employees a special day to rest and destress. Lawyers also suffer from the law of diminishing returns, so make sure to preserve their energy and avoid exploiting their talents.
Proactively offer paid time off to let your employees know that you value their mental health and overall well-being. That way, they will feel even more motivated and passionate to do their tasks once they return to work. It also helps your firm defy the impact of diminishing returns, allowing you to consistently deliver good results to your clients in the long run.
Create a Wellness Room in the Workplace
Transforming one of your conference rooms into a designated wellness area can be an option to encourage well-being for attorneys. Even with just a few comfortable seats, it’s still a far more tranquil setting than the bustling legal work. A calm, secure environment where the attorney can go to have a quiet time can help reduce stress and avoid burnout. For added stress-relieving benefits, you can add some plants to the area. Video games, pool tables, and TVs also can be added to the space to provide more entertainment options for a fun break between the endless client meetings.