Looking after your people when they’re struggling with their mental health is all well and good, but isn’t it far better to support them before they get to that point?
It’s no secret that our collective wellbeing has plummeted over the past three years, and it’s not hard to see why. From a global pandemic to the unspeakable atrocities in Ukraine, people are facing a great deal of fear and uncertainty right now. On a more personal level, everyone’s dealing with their own concerns: be it health, finances, or simply having to adjust to a new way of working.
It’s a time of great change and upheaval, and unless employers tackle things head on, wellbeing is only set to worsen – particularly in high pressure industries like law.
It’s Time to Move from Reactive to Proactive Employee Wellbeing
Law firms have long held a reputation for low levels of workplace wellbeing, owing to heavy workloads, long hours, tight deadlines, and high expectations. In fact, a 2020 report from Law Care found that legal professionals are at high risk of burnout, with 69% experiencing mental ill-health. But things are slowly starting to change.
The law industry is doing more to support its people when things become too much and employee mental health starts to plummet – but is that enough? At BetterSpace, we strongly believe that when it comes to employee wellbeing and workplace mental health, prevention is far better, cheaper, and more effective than cure.
For those law firms committed to genuine change, there are a number of steps that you can take to move from reactionary standpoint, to preventative approach.
Read on to find out how.
5 Steps to Preventing Poor Mental Health in the Legal Industry
- Move employee mental health up the agenda:
This involves getting board-level buy-in, and committing to real, actionable change. The wellbeing of your employees should be as high on the agenda as billable hours, but people will need to see demonstrable evidence of employer endorsement – from the top down – before they feel confident committing to their own self-care.
- Educate your people on mental health and wellbeing:
It’s easy to assume that in this day and age, when people are talking about mental health more than ever before, that everyone knows how to spot the signs of declining mental health, and what to do about it. But that’s not the case. People managers and team leaders should be trained in what to look out for and how to signpost colleagues to support, while all of your employees should be educated on what steps they can take to safeguard their own wellbeing.
- Invest in a corporate wellness solution:
Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) have their place, but if you really want to be proactive about preventing poor mental health, equip your people with the very best tools and resources to boost their mental health and wellbeing on a daily basis. Not everyone is willing (or able) to invest their own time and money into finding and financing market-leading solutions – so do the leg-work for them.
- Bin the blanket wellbeing approach:
This is a timely reminder that one-size-fits-all solutions no longer cut the mustard. Fruit baskets and discounted gym memberships were good for a time, but mental health is about far more than getting your five a day and working out. People need help with better sleep, stress management, meaningful activity, and a sense of community – as well as nutrition and exercise. But they don’t all need the same things, at the same time. Wellness solutions should be nuanced, personalised, and preventative.
- Get to know what your people need from their work life:
On that note, one of the most effective ways to get proactive about wellbeing, and to prevent the decline of mental health in the workplace, is to understand what your people need in order to thrive at work. For some, the move to remote working will have been a welcome one (no commute led to a reduction in stress for many), while others may crave the camaraderie of being with their colleagues. Find out what your teams need, and accommodate them where you can.
As we transition to new ways of working, the legal industry has an unprecedented opportunity to smash its own stale and outdated stereotype. Law firms don’t have to be mired in tradition now that the world has had a shake-up of epic proportions. The legal industry is newly free to embrace all that a new era has to offer, and its likely to enjoy greater success because of it.
Legal professionals will still be ambitious, determined, and raring for success if you encourage them to prioritise their wellbeing and take into account their working preferences; they’re just likely to be all of those things, and happier with it.
Learn how BetterSpace’s science-backed employee wellbeing platform can help you to proactively support better workplace mental health. Book a free demo, or get in touch to ask us anything.
BetterSpace is the employee wellbeing platform putting control where it belongs: in the hands of the individual employee. Our groundbreaking solution has been developed with medical and domain expertise and is aligned to our Six Pillars of Wellbeing. BetterSpace empowers your workforce to understand and fulfill their mental health needs.
This approach has achieved engagement rates of 94%, compared to the average usage rate of 2-18% for Employee Assistance Programmes and 10-40% for points solutions.
Want to know more? Schedule a product demonstration with us today.
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