76% of law firm solicitors feel that stress/mental wellbeing is a major issue in the legal sector, according to a BellWether Report.
It’s not surprising to read that, when it comes to stress in the legal industry, the numbers are quite concerning. Lawyers were even recognised as the second most stressed professionals in the UK.
Although a work environment without any stress would be a dream, it is unrealistic to think we can erase the stress from such a profession. There will always be deadlines to meet, challenges to uptake and tough cases to work on. Law firms can, however, help their lawyers cope with stress, just like an elastic band that we stretch and where we put oil because we don’t want it to break.
During our Wellbeing Works Webinar in June, our guest Charlie Jacobs (former Chairman and Senior Partner of LinkLaters and new co-Head of JP Morgan) provided some brilliant insights on how to “put some oil on that elastic band”.
So, what did we learn from him?
1. Find your own “me time”
Charlie mentioned that he strongly encourages his team to find “me time” everyday to do something for their health and wellbeing, whether that is cycling to work, going for a walk or meditating. He said: “During the pandemic I got into yoga that I did every morning with my wife which was fantastic. Just find stuff to do that makes you feel good and where you’re not looking at your phone, you’re not switched on to all the devices. It’s an hour every day for me and I encourage people who join Linklaters to do the same.”
At BetterSpace, we have granted 4 hours of wellbeing time every week to employees. These are 4 hours during work time when employees can choose to do an activity to improve their physical and/or mental wellbeing. Some of our employees like to go for a run, spend time with their friends or family, others prefer to play music or just have a nap. We allow them to do whatever makes them feel good in order to prevent the elastic band from breaking. You can read more about our Wellbeing time here.
2. Help others find their “me time”
“You know, I have to say that health and wellbeing is not just about looking after yourself. We’ve all got a duty to look after our colleagues. If you see someone not looking great and you can sense they are not in a good place, you’ve got to reach out and see if you can help.” Charlie explained.
It is important to remember that everyone deals with their wellbeing differently. Some of us might struggle to recognise when to stop and put our mental health and wellbeing as a priority before work. Keeping an eye on each other and supporting colleagues when you feel someone is having a hard time helps build a better wellbeing culture in the company.
3. Nudge people into mentally resilient culture
Law firms can be proactive at supporting their lawyers in their quest for resilience.
Giving permission to talk openly about possible wellbeing issues without having a fear of repercussions, is key when building a resilient culture.
When it comes to wellbeing, it may seem overwhelming for the law firm to know where to start and how to satisfy everyone. One of the lawyers might enjoy a nice yoga class to tackle stress, while another would prefer to meditate and another have massages on a regular basis.
Charlie Jacobs explained that Linklaters has been implementing a holistic wellbeing solution to support their employees with stress: “The “me time” has been too stereotyped around the gym. People want a much broader choice than just the old-fashioned jog or gym membership, that’s why they like BetterSpace: you really do have the A-Z of things on the menu… BetterSpace is more inclusive than anything I’d seen.”
4. Be vulnerable
“In my time in leadership, and particularly during the pandemic when I was my most genuine, I said: “listen I’m going to be honest with you, this has been a poor week for me and I’ve been struggling a bit”. People loved that because I was honest with them, and the amount of people who kindly sent me messages saying, “Glad to hear you’ve also had a bad week because I’ve had a bad week and actually if you admit you’ve had a bad week, I can admit I’ve had a bad week”. So I think being genuine and not being scared as a leader to admit sometimes that you are struggling helps you come over as more genuine” Charlie explained.
When leaders show vulnerability they allow other employees to feel safe enough to show vulnerability and work on themselves. It creates a kinder and resilient culture, and it can only work if leadership is proactive at becoming wellbeing champions themselves.
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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